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Review: Looking for a Cowboy by Donna Grant

 

Looking for a Cowboy 

Donna Grant 

Heart of Texas Series, Book 5

Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Expected publication: October 27th 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

A cowboy finds love in the most unlikely place in New York Times bestseller Donna Grant’s newest Heart of Texas novel, Looking for a Cowboy

 

 

 

A beautiful stranger has come to Clearview, asking questions that are nobody’s business. Cooper Owens also wasn’t born yesterday. He knows that this out-of-towner is hiding a dark secret of her own. Much as he knows he should head in the other direction, he can’t make himself turn away. . .

P.I. Marlee Frampton always wanted to lead a nice quiet life, working as a cop in her local police department. But that dream came to an end when her sister was murdered―and her baby kidnapped. Now Marlee’s come to Texas to investigate the Harpers, who may be linked to shady adoption agencies. Cooper can’t believe that his friends could be involved in anything so sinister…and soon he makes it his mission to help Marlee discover the truth―and keep her safe in his arms.

 

 

 

 

4.5 Stars

 

Have you ever had a book hit you out of left field and hit you like a ton of bricks, in the best reading way of course? I went into reading Looking for a Cowboy with no expectations other than to get lost in a book for a few hours. Did I get lost, you ask? It was so much more. Looking for a Cowboy consumed me in every way that a reader loves to be consumed in a book.   

 

Marlee Frampton is smart, cunning and determined. This woman took the worst event of her life and made it a mission to help right these wrongs. She’s like a wall of glass and steel all in one. The amount of compassion within her is amazing yet what she does is a constant reminder of her own loss. She’s too brave for her own good. Yet that is one of her best qualities. There is not time or room for love in her life yet sometimes a girls got to be good to herself. That goodness just may have become a thing she needs most. 

 

Cooper Owens is a genuine good man. As loyal as they come. He may not be settled into a career but what he does for others more than makes up for it. A man who believes friends are family and would do anything for them. When a PI starts snooping in on his beloved friends, Cooper gets to the down, Only to find out the situation is much bigger than him. But that lovely PI, has got him twisted in a way or two. Cooper calls on the troops to do what they do best and tries to get the girl to believe in love at first sight. 

Looking for a Cowboy is an emotionally charged story with subject matter that some will find extremely delicate and dark. Within also lies a story of determination, hope and love. Ms. Grant has given readers a story that I was compelled to read and not stop until I was finished. The suspense and the twist of the story will get you one way and the emotions and romance will get you in another. The loyalty of friendship and family is something unbreakable and a force to be reckoned with. This story will take you from the most brutal of loss to a profound happiness. I haven’t had a book take me like this in quite some time and I have to say it was quite unexpected, and I couldn’t be more happy. Looking for a Cowboy is definitely a recommended read from me.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Guardian’s Grace by Rebecca Zanetti

Guardian’s Grace

Rebecca Zanetti

Dark Protector Series, Book 12 

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 13th 2020 by Lyrical Press

Duty—or desire?

Vampire soldier Adare O’Cearbhaill’s default setting is cranky. Or irritated. Or down-right hostile. Still, as a Highlander of honor and duty he stepped up to save an enhanced and special human female by mating her—with merely a bite and a brand. The last person he wants in his life is a fragile human, yet he can’t get her out of his mind as she regains her strength before taking off for parts unknown. And when he discovers she is in danger, nothing can stop him from hunting her down—whether she likes it or not.

There’s only one way to find out . . .

Photographer Grace Cooper has had it with vampires, demons, and the rest of an immortal world she was happier not knowing about. She also doesn’t believe she’s destined for some great battle because of an old birthmark. Forget the fact that her mate is the sexiest thing on two stubborn feet, or that her brand is fading along with her health. She’ll handle things on her own—until an old enemy reappears and she learns the only way to stay alive is to actually mate, wild sex and all, with that ripped and dangerous Adare—a powerful, captivating Highlander who demands nothing less than everything . .

4 Stars

Grace got thrown into the supernatural world to safe her life. Determined to have nothing to do with that world and way of life, Grace has kept her distance.  As iron willed and stubborn as she is, there are things she can’t control and with her life on the line again, steps back through a door that never really closed on her.

Adare is warrior alpha, one of the seven and a protector to the core.  Adare saves Grace’s life yet lost a mate.  As typical of most men it takes them a long time to be able to express their feelings and he allowed her to walk away years ago. He may have expressed what he did as a sense of duty, but deep down, in my mind, he knew she was for him.

We have a fiercely strong and protective alpha warrior and a highly independent woman who can stand her ground.  A duty may have brought them together, yet they have kept themselves apart. Five years pass and Grace finds herself in  a predicament and Adare is more than willing to do what it takes to protect her and to convince her give into the bond of matting this time.

Guardians Grace is an action packed, sizzling hot read. Ms. Zanetti gave readers a different kind of story with Adare and Grace.  These two Razzle each other up like no other. Their banter was on point. The chemistry was beyond the boiling point yet as stubborn kept them away.  Which made me want to slap them both upside the head at different point through out their story. What I can say is this- the battles are intense, the lovin’ is hot and two very strong and hardheaded people were able to find their way back to each other.

Review: Christmas Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

 

Christmas Cupcake Murder

Joanne Fluke 

Hannah Swensen Series, book 26

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

A Festive & Delicious Christmas Cozy Mystery

While Hannah speeds through a lengthy holiday checklist, drama in town grows like Santa’s waistline on Christmas Eve. Her sister Andrea wants to stave off the blues by helping out at The Cookie Jar, Michele’s love life is becoming complicated, Lisa needs Hannah’s advice, and Delores has a Christmas secret she’s not willing to share. But nothing dampens the holiday mood more than the chilling mystery surrounding the man found near death in an abandoned storefront two doors down from Hannah’s bakery . . .

The befuddled John Doe can’t recall a thing about himself—except for his unusual knowledge of restoring antique furniture. With a smattering of clues and barely enough time to frost Christmas cookies, Hannah must solve a deadly puzzle that could leave her dashing through the snow for her life!

 

 

 

 

4 Stars 

 

It has been a long time since I have dipped into a Hannah Swensen novel.  I enjoyed the Christmas Cupcake Murder was a bit of a step back into time and allowed me to see these wonderful characters beginning to come into their own and getting to know them all over again. 

 

Lake Eden, Minnesota is all in gear for the festivities that come along with the Christmas season.  The baking is a foot at The Cookie Jar while a homeless man, suffering from memory loss stumbles upon Hannah’s bakery step willing to work in exchange for food. Hannah does what she does best, Offers a cozy environment, a sweet treat, something warm to drink and a bit of conversation and companionship.  Days later while inspecting a building that could possibly become an antique shop, Hannah and her mother stumble upon the same homeless man in dire straits. They spring into action getting  “John Doe” The help he needs and begin to unravel the mystery of who he is and where he’s from. 

 

Christmas Cupcake Murder was a fun and entertaining read allowing me to get reacquainted with these characters. The story shows the beginnings of the good characteristics and qualities that readers have come to love within these characters. When it came to finding John Doe’s past , It was like a needle in the haystack yet they never gave up, persisted and slowly were able to put the pieces in place. Honestly the mystery was an OK part of the story, I really loved the family drama between Hannah, her mother and her sisters, all the delectable recipes that I am trying to figure out a way to make gluten-free and Revisiting a small cozy town that I haven’t been to in a while. revisiting a small Coseytown that I haven’t been to in a while. If you’re looking for something pretty high on mystery this unfortunately is not going to be the right for you but if you’re a long time fan of this author and series It was one of those little treats the authors like to drop us every once in a while.

 

 

 

Review: Checked Out for Murder by Allison Brook

Checked Out for Murder

Allison Brook

Haunted Library Mysteries, Book 4

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: September 8th 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

 

Carrie Singleton and Evelyn the ghost sleuth the slayings of a starlet and a star-crossed psychic in Agatha Award nominee Allison Brook’s fourth Haunted Library mystery.

Daphne Marriott strolls into Clover Ridge and informs librarian Carrie Singleton that she’s a psychic. But had she foreseen what fate awaited her, Daphne would have steered clear of the quaint Connecticut town. Evelyn, the library ghost, tells Carrie that there’s more to Daphne than she lets on.

The mysterious woman grew up in Clover Ridge with her no-good dad, who apparently met his end at the hands of Daphne’s brother, Billy. Still, Daphne proves a welcome distraction when Carrie’s overbearing mother hits town. Mom’s much younger husband, Tom, is in a movie that’s lensing locally, and she’s there to keep an eye on him: Tom’s costar, sultry Ilana Reingold, is also his ex-fianc�e, and there’s no denying the chemistry is still there. Soon after mingling with the moviemakers at a meet-and-greet, Daphne is found dead.

Carrie and Evelyn investigate, assisted by bushy-tailed library cat Smoky Joe. But the suspect list could overflow the library shelves. Has Billy killed another relative? Is their long-missing mother involved? Or Daphne’s mean ex-husband? Carrie’s sure she knows who committed the crime, but can she bind together the clues before the culprit Dewey-decimates the town?

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

A psychic, a ghost and a movie cast walk into a library……. Well not really walk into a library but all three are the makings of a good mystery

 

Carrie is the programs and events director for the Clover Ridge library. Her little town has a lot going on and is filled with excitement and anticipation for the movie about to be filmed.  Along with the excitement of the movie, Carrie is approached by a patron who is wanting to give a program on psychic abilities and her mother is in town as her husband is an actor in the movie. If things were already all over the place add in not one but two murders to place the icing on the cake. So to speak. Carrie can’t help but want to help find out who’s wreaking havoc in their small cozy town.

 

 

Checked Out for Murder is an engaging and fast paced read with a lot of fun characters. Carrie is a fun lead. She goes out of her way to those she cares for and admits her faults. With a little bit of luck and some ghostly help, Carrie seems to get to the bottom of what is going on. I loved Smokey Joe the cat and Evelyn the Ghost. Both played an important role to Carrie and they just add that extra to the story.  The story is well written and entertaining. The plot had layers that unfolded complexities well weaves within the story. I also love that there was a romance within the story. 

All in all I enjoy Checked Out for Murder. The Haunted Library Mysteries series is one I can see myself going back and reading previous titles.

 

 

 

 

Review: Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

Ellen Byron

A Cajun Country Mystery, Book 6

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: September 8th 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

Maggie Crozat has the Halloween heebie-jeebies in USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author Ellen Byron’s howlingly funny sixth Cajun Country mystery.

Maggie Crozat, proprietor of a historic Cajun Country B&B, prefers to let the good times roll. But hard times rock her hostelry when a new cell phone app makes it easy for locals to rent their spare rooms to tourists. With October–and Halloween–approaching, she conjures up a witch-crafty marketing scheme to draw visitors to Pelican, Louisiana.

Five local plantation B&Bs host “Pelican’s Spooky Past” packages, featuring regional crafts, unique menus, and a pet costume parade. Topping it off, the derelict Dupois cemetery is the suitably sepulchral setting for the spine-chilling play Resurrection of a Spirit. But all the witchcraft has inevitably conjured something: her B&B guests are being terrified out of town by sightings of the legendary rougarou, a cross between a werewolf and vampire.

When, in the Dupois cemetery, someone costumed as a rougarou stumbles onstage during the play–and promptly gives up the ghost, the rougarou mask having been poisoned with strychnine, Maggie is on the case. But as more murders stack up, Maggie fears that Pelican’s spooky past has nothing on its bloodcurdling present.

 

 

 

 

4 Stars 

A delightful and fun cozy mystery with a Halloween theme great for kicking off the fall season. Murder in the Bayou Boneyard was a Great distraction for a lazy day of reading.

 

Maggie is not a fan of Halloween, yet goes along with her family along with other B&B owners hosting Halloween theme weekend to help bring more business to their businesses. What should be fun and pleasant weekends turn into mayham and murder. Not to mention some appearances made by fabled, bayou creatures just to spice up the mix a little bit more. If that wasn’t enough Maggie has out of town distant relatives that are just not quite The kind of people she was expecting.  Pelican, Louisiana maybe a small town but it sure got a lot going on.

 

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard was my first visit with the characters of the Cajun Country Mysteries and will not  not be my last. Not only was the story entering, the mystery kept you guessing and the plot was solid. The characters are well developed and fun. The setting is like being transported to a different place.  With everything that’s going on in the world right now I feel it’s important for myself to be able to get lost in a book. Author Ellen Byron does just that. I felt like I was right in the bayou with Crozets. The only thing missing was the delectable food that we read about through the pages of this entertaining book.

 

 

Review: Bayou Baby by Lexi Blake

Bayou Baby 

Lexi Blake 

Butterfly Bayou Series, Book 2 

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: August 25th 2020 by Berkley

A heartwarming contemporary romance set in Louisiana’s Butterfly Bayou from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.

Seraphina Guidry loves Butterfly Bayou. A young, single mom, she’s trying to find a place for herself in the town she cherishes, but past mistakes have made her wary. She adores her son but has sworn off men. She’s dedicated herself to restoring an historic house and building her own business. A quiet life is all she wants.

Harrison Jefferys never expected to find himself in small-town Louisiana, but he has a job to do and a family to reconnect with. After years in the Army, he’s happy to spend time with his Aunt Celeste and his cousins in such an idyllic spot. When he meets Seraphina, he starts to think Papillion might be a great place to call home. But a secret from Sera’s past rears its head and threatens to tear the community apart.

Caught between the woman he’s coming to love and the only family he has left, Harry knows he has to follow his heart and with the help of the crazy, loving, meddling locals find a way to keep them both.

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Once again Lexi Blake gives a story readers can’t help but to enjoy and get lost in. The Butterfly Bayou series continues with the emotional and charming Bayou Baby!

Seraphina is a single mom and the focal point of one of the biggest pieces of gossip in town. Who is her son’s father? Sera is a strong woman with a determination like no other. She always puts her little one first and as willing to sacrifice anything of herself for him. She doesn’t allow the town gossip to stand in the way of her life.

Harry is a man of strength, patience and determination. He served for his country and even gave a part of himself while doing it. Reconnecting with family he’s truly still getting to know is a blessing and a curse all in one. Harry is full of determination as well yet he is focused in a different way. His mind is as open as his heart. A rare thing! He’s a wounded warrior who will melt your heart.

Bayou Baby is an emotional, family drama, small town romance with those few crazy people you can’t help but to love. Sera is a Perfect example to not judge a book by its cover. This girl had her stuff together even if it didn’t look like that at times. Harry knew she was the one. He set his goal and proved in so many ways what a good man is and should be to a woman. Sera and Harry had some ups and downs but in the end they showed each other that family is what matters. I love their getting to know you squabbles and how Sera fought against their attraction. I enjoyed Harry slowing breaking her walls down. The two were a good match. Some family you’re born to and some family you choose but family makes it all better. Bayou Baby is Lexi Blake at her best.

 

 

Review: Death at High Tide by Hannah Dennison

Death at High Tide 

Hannah Dennison

Island Sisters Mystery, Book 1 

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: August 18th 2020 by Minotaur Books

In the first installment in the delightful Island Sisters series, two sisters inherit an old hotel in the remote Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall and find it full of intrigue, danger, and romance.

When Evie Mead’s husband, Robert, suddenly drops dead of a heart attack, a mysterious note is found among his possessions. It indicates that Evie may own the rights to an old hotel on Tregarrick Rock, one of the Isles of Scilly.

Still grieving, Evie is inclined to leave the matter to the accountant to sort out. Her sister Margot, however, flown in from her glamorous career in LA, has other plans. Envisioning a luxurious weekend getaway, she goes right ahead and buys two tickets–one way–to Tregarrick.

Once at the hotel–used in its heyday to house detective novelists, and more fixer-upper than spa resort, after all–Evie and Margot attempt to get to the bottom of things. But the foul-tempered hotel owner claims he’s never met the late Robert, even after Evie finds framed photos of them–alongside Robert’s first wife–in his office. The rest of the island inhabitants, ranging from an ex-con receptionist to a vicar who communicates with cats, aren’t any easier to read.

But when a murder occurs at the hotel, and then another soon follows, frustration turns to desperation. There’s no getting off the island at high tide. And Evie and Margot, the only current visitors to Tregarrick, are suspects one and two. It falls to them to unravel secrets spanning generations–and several of their own–if they want to make it back alive.

 

4 Stars

 

The Island Sisters Series is off to an entertaining and enjoyable start with Death at High Tide. 

 

Evie Mead is in quite a spot. Her husband suddenly dies, she finds out they’re broke, a mysterious letter from her late husband finds its way into her hands and her sister, Margot, has a crazy idea to figure things out. These two sisters are very different yet extremely hilarious together. You can tell they have a bond even though they’ve been away from each other for years.

 

The seaside town of Tregarrick is a unique setting. I loved the hotel, once used as a mystery writer’s getaway. Even with its outdated decor it had a whimsical charm. Like most small towns, everyone knows everyone and the inhabitants of this town make up a colorful cast of unique, strange yet entertaining individuals. There are many secrets floating around and when several murders occur within a short time, checking out a simple hotel becomes something much more complicated.

 

This is my first read by Author Hannah Dennison and I will admit I am pleasantly surprised.  The characters had a lot of personality, layers and a bit of mystery to the. The setting is amazing with just a touch of a gothic feel. Winter seas can do that. Lol. The story was well paced and entertaining. The mystery was well plotted and I honestly hadn’t figured out who had actually done it. This is one of those stories that will suck you in and before you know it you have finished the book in one sitting. Evie and Margot are an interesting pair and I look forward to seeing what interesting situations these two will find themselves in.

 

 

 

 

Review: The Love Scam by MaryJanice Davidson

The Love Scam 

MaryJanice Davidson

Danger Series, Book 2

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: August 4th 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin

A sweet and sassy contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson.

Rake Tarbell is in trouble. When the fabulously wealthy and carefree bachelor wakes up horribly hungover in Venice, it’s not something that would normally be a problem…except he has no idea how he got there from California. Or who stole his wallet. Or who emptied his bank account of millions. Or who in the world is Lillith, the charming little girl claiming to be his long lost daughter. For the first time in his life, Rake is on his own and throwing Benjamins around aren’t going to solve his problem. Now if only the gorgeous, fun, and free-spirited woman who brought Lillith into his life was willing to help the situation…

Claire Delaney finds Rake’s problems hilarious and is not in the least bit sorry of adding to them by bringing Lillith into the mix. A pretty Midwestern girl with a streak for mischief, Rake is not the kind of man Claire hangs around with. Even if he is drop-dead handsome and charming as all get-out. Even if he needs help and she has all the answers. But if this helps Lillith, she will go out of her way. And with a guy like Rake, she’s willing to bend her rules a bit for some fun. But when adventure-filled days turn to romantic nights as they search for answers, and someone starts following them through the streets of Venice, Claire realizes she’s playing more than just a game. And maybe, just maybe, she isn’t willing to let go of Rake or Lillith just yet.

 

 

 

 

3 Stars

The Love Scam is a light hearted romantic comedy that is heavy on the tropes. A millionaire bachelor waking up with the worst hangover of his life only to soon find out he has a daughter that he never had even known and all his money is gone. While the story has a great concept and some absolutely lovely characters I felt like I was missing some along the way. As I realize this is the second book in the series that could be the reason for my feeling of missing something. I did find several enjoyable moments throughout the read. There is some Seriously funny dialogue amongst the characters that will have you laughing out loud. Well this may not have been my favorite book of the year, I do have to say I found enjoyable moments within The Love Scam.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Knit of the Living Dead by Peggy Ehrhart

Knit of the Living Dead

Peggy Ehrhart

A Knit and Nibble Mystery, Book 6

Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: August 25th 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

When a spooky celebration in Arborville, New Jersey conjures real scares, can Pamela and the Knit and Nibble Club sink their teeth into a bone-chilling mystery that just won’t rest in peace?

Among the countless revelers at the town’s much-anticipated Halloween parade, a woman dressed as Little Bo Peep is the only one making people scream bloody murder. In a scene straight out of a horror movie, the Knit and Nibblers find the nursery rhyme character dead with thick strands of yarn looped around her neck. Pamela and her best friend, Bettina, are set on pinning down who wanted the woman gone forever, but it’ll take every trick they can muster to catch the culprit without becoming the next poor souls to join Little Bo Peep’s dark, endless sleep . . .

Knitting tips and delicious recipes included!

 

 

 

 

3.5 Stars

 

A fun Halloween themed cozy with the Knit and Nibble gang in Knit of the Living Dead.

Arborville, New Jersey is all in the spirit of Halloween with the anticipation of its local parade. When scarry fun turns into screams of murder the festivities come to an end and the sleuthing begins. Pamela along with bestie Bettina are on the case using the powers of the press and the love of yarn to finding out who murdered Lil Bo Peep.

Knit of the Living Dead has me as a newcomer to this well established series. I will admit it was easy to jump six books in. I didn’t feel like I was lost or missing out on something. Readers can totally feel the bonds of friendship that Pamela and Bettina share. They are a riot together. I loved the knitting group and that there was a male among them. I love the love of fiber throughout the story. As a yarn crafter is a touch that hits home. The town of Arborville was truly cozy. A serene setting with the colorful array of town folks that you expect within a cozy mystery. The mystery has more layers than I anticipated and was unable to figure out who had done it.

Author Peggy Ehrhart gives a fun read with many twists and gets readers ready for Halloween.

 

 

 

Review: A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee

A Sweet Mess 

Jayci Lee

Paperback, 320 pages

Expected publication: July 14th 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Korean-American author Jayci Lee delights with this delicious and light-hearted romantic comedy that readers will devour and ask for more.

Bake a chance on love.

Aubrey Choi loves living in her small town nestled in the foothills of California, running her highly successful bakery away from the watch of her strict Korean parents. When a cake mix-up and a harsh review threaten all of her hard work and her livelihood, she never thought the jaded food critic would turn out to be her one-night stand. And she sure as hell never thought she’d see her gorgeous Korean unicorn again. But when Landon Kim waltzes into her bakery trying to clean up the mess he had a huge hand in making, Aubrey is torn between throwing and hearing him out.

When she hears his plan to help save her business, Aubrey knows that spending three weeks in California wine country working with Landon is a sure recipe for disaster. Her head is telling her to take the chance to save her bakery while her heart—and her hormones—are at war on whether to give him a second chance. And it just so happens that Landon’s meddling friends want them to spend those three weeks as close as possible…by sharing a villa.

When things start heating up, both in and out of the kitchen, Aubrey will have to make a choice—to stick it out or risk her heart.

 

 

 

 

3.5 Stars

A story as sweet as the desserts listed among the pages.

A Sweet Mess by, new to me author, Jayci Lee is a sweet romantic comedy with wonderful characters and a good dose of juicy drama. From beginning to end there is something weaved within the story that will make you want to keep the pages turning.

Aubrey is making her dream come true. Owning her own bakery and doing it on her own. Her talent is outstanding and her imagination for sweets is endless. She’s a strong woman who holds her head high and her determination is endless.

Landon has made a huge name for himself as a food critic. Having trained for his education at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), his reviews are highly respected and influence his many readers culinary destinations. His critique could make or break a business. He’s a man that stands by his word, will do anything for his family and will admit when he’s wrong.

Who knew an accidental cake mix up would lead to the biggest roller coaster ride of your life. Aubrey and Landon knew from the moment they met their chemistry with something intense. Acting on their attraction and chemistry gave them both at night they will never forget. Yet when they find out who each other really is, a passionate memory gets tainted with anger and loathing. Aubrey just wants her dream to thrive. Landon can’t take back his words but he does try to help. Along the way that loathing fades and that attraction puts itself right at centerstage. Aubrey and Landon complement each other wonderfully. Their ride is bumpy but there are laughs and good wine along the way. From the Beautiful settings, the delectable eats and wines to the likable characters Jayci Lee pulls the reader in and gives them a laugh out loud, enjoyable story.