Merry Christmas Y’all!

Book-Christmas-Tree

May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be “write”.

LMAO…..CHEE-ZY!

 

I hope you and your family have a safe and happy holiday. I’ll be on a short blogging break until January 4th when I’ll be back with a bang as I present my top reads of 2015. You’ll be in for a treat because I’m doing something a little different this year with my top picks. I also think I’ll give this blog a lil face lift in the process because all this pink is giving me a stomach ache. Look for something lighter, cleaner, and more streamlined.

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A big thanks to everyone who has engaged with and supported me this year. I’ve met a lot of new cool readers and authors, and I thank you for the friendship and camaraderie. 2016 promises to be exciting, and I can’t wait to see what all my author buds have on deck. Oh yeah, Happy New Year too!

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New Release: A Perfect Storm by LaShawn Vasser

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Brand new and on FIYAH! A Perfect Storm is the conclusion of the Storm series by LaShawn Vasser, and maaaaaaaaaann… She set if off in this one! I pretty much thought I had this lil story all figured out, but I was soooooooo incredibly wrong.

A Storm Is Coming should really be read first because this one picks right up where book 1 leaves off. Yes, I highly recommend both. This is some fine storytelling y’all. Scream at your Kindle, gasp-worthy, girl bye kinda storytelling.

Peep the trailer, then go click it up!

A Perfect Storm from LaShawn Vasser on Vimeo.

 

Monday Musings: My Interview With Twinja Book Reviews

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Last week, I had the honor of being interviewed by Twinja Book Reviews, not only about my take on the lack of diversity (There’s that word again…) in romance, but they also gave me a platform to talk about my new editing business (shameless plug). Thank you Twinjas for allowing me to speak freely and passionately about two of the things I love the most!

Fighting to bring Multiculturalism to YA, Fantasy and Science Fiction novels: Twinja Book Reviews 3rd Annual Diversity Month Day Sixteen: Interview with @musingsirj + month long book #giveaway

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Book Recommendation: Same Page by G.L. Tomas

This is the first book (and definitely not the last) that I’ve read from authors (yes, authors. Twins at that!) G.L. Tomas. I am feeling their flow! The dialogue, the language (A lot of it is AAVE or African American Vernacular English), the setting, the rocky, complicated relationship between Timothy and Naima…This is young love at its finest!
Fuck Yeah!
One thing I must say that sets this book apart from most of the new adult romances that I’ve read, is all of the things that I’ve mentioned above. The authors did not try to present a “respectable” (for lack of a better description) romance where the guy and the girl deal with some personal challenges that get in the way of their relationship. This story is on some real level shit that some of y’all just won’t like, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. The basis of this narrative is how do you separate what you feel in your heart from what you know is the right thing to do? And the answer is, you always can’t or don’t even want to. The heart is that funny organ ya know, that has a mind of its own. It doesn’t always make the right choices, but whatever it compels you to do, comes from a place of genuine emotion.

So what am I really saying here? Basically that love is complicated, and we can’t control how we feel, even when we’re committed to other people. I’m always of the belief that you cannot let an outsider penetrate your “bond” with someone if there weren’t already cracks in that relationship to begin with. Same Page is the story of how two people who have no damn business being together cannot deny the intense attraction and connection they feel for one another. It transcends the physical, and when it becomes more than sex, you are screwed (no pun intended).

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The setting of this story takes place in the state of Rhode Island (which is fresh.) Naima is a Nigerian American from New York who pursues her college degree out of state. What I liked about Naima from the jump is she’s older, twenty-seven to be exact. Naima gets a part-time job at Synopsis which is a bookstore/café type of establishment, and there she meets Timothy, who is not only a cute down-ass white boy of Portuguese descent, but also her boss. They hit it off immediately. They’re attraction is immediate, but there’s a slight (or maybe not) problem: Timbaland (as he is nicknamed) is taken. His girlfriend of four years lives a thousand miles away in Texas, and for all intents and purposes, has no desire to uproot her life to be with him on a more permanent basis. This initially frustrates Tim until he meets Naima, then the game totally changes.
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The entire dynamic of Tim and Naima’s relationship frustrated me to an extent, not because of the triangle factor itself, because there really wasn’t one, but because Naima allowed herself to become the side chick. She knew what she was getting into and as hard as tried to deny it (or did she?), her heart (that pesky organ…) told her Girl bye, you know you and I want this boy, and I always get what I want…The story was a page turner (or Kindle swiper) to the very end, and yeah, this is Book 1, so the story ain’t over yet. That ending was some aww hell nah. Why y’all do this to us? I’m call out the Twinjas: Don’t be taking five lifetimes to bring us book 2! Very much worth the read. Click it up!

Season’s Readings: Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas!

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No, that’s really the name of the book, and I’m so late with spotlighting this season’s holiday reads. Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas is a joint effort by veteran (IR) authors Roslyn Hardy Holcomb and Lisa G. Riley.

This is actually book 1 of in a series that centers around the Meadowlark, an upscale restaurant in Atlanta. The owners, Lady G and Uncle Popsicle (you know they some OG’s with these names lol) are the owners who are also foster parents who have raised dozens of children over the past few decades. This story focuses on Casey Brooks.

Casey is crushing on Carter, the rich boy next door, but they don’t exactly get along. To Carter, Casey is just the sister of his homeboy-that is until puberty strikes, and you know the game completely changes. These young lovers attempt to make a go at it until some ish goes down, and they break up over lies and betrayal.

Flash forward ten years later. Casey and Carter meet again at the Meadowlark where Casey’s parents are hosting their annual holiday shindig. They try fighting the feelings, but you know when you’ve never resolved the drama that broke you up, the feelings never got resolved either, and BAM! Here’s your holiday romance.

This sounds like a really good one, that I’m gonna add to the ol TBR. Y’all know I love teen angst that transitions into adult angst. Gee Whiz It’s Christmas is available now. Check it out!

 

Monday Musings: Guest Post by Monlatable Book Reviews

Guest Blogger

This week’s musings is brought to you by someone I have a great respect for. She’s a multi-genre blogger with a no-nonsense attitude. Monica Reeds inspired me to get in the game because I used to stalk her blog all the time (Betcha didn’t know that).

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We’ve since struck up a friendship built on camaraderie and mutual respect. And yes, we talk about this hustle called romance writing. Monalatable (as I affectionately call her) wanted to speak on something that’s been not only been on our minds, but a few others as well. Diversity has become the latest buzzword in the romance community, and at first I was all gung-ho and excited because I thought Yes, we’re about to see some IR and AA authors get some mainstream recognition. Let’s just say that I was more than disappointed (That’s another musing for another day.) Enough with the intro. I present Monica Reeds and:

BROWN LIKE ME

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There is a lot of debate lately surrounding diversity in romance. The discussions about what constitutes diversity and how it can be positively promoted has become lively, to say the least. I will be the first to admit that I was oblivious for a long time when it came to the women who were blazing a path of their own into what I consider true romance writing. You know what I mean! The stories that make your pulse race and wonder when the hell your husband will get home!

When I first started my blog in August of 2013, I had just discovered IR romance, and I couldn’t believe what all was out there that I had been missing! It was like a whole new world had opened up to me. A world were AA women were admired, lusted after, and most of all loved and cherished by the men who were pursuing them. I remember thinking to myself “When the heck did this happen?” Well, it happened while I was stubbornly refusing to buy an eReader. While I was still clinging to my physical books, there were courageous, audacious, and fabulous African American women who had decided that they were tired of not seeing themselves reflected in romance novels. These amazing women had decided that since they weren’t getting the romances that they wanted for themselves from main stream publishers, they would write, publish, and promote their own damn stories! WOW! I was like a kid in a candy store and couldn’t find and read these books fast enough.

My first IR read was Dmitry’s Closet by Latrivia S. Nelson. I LOVED it! Even with the obvious editing issues, I ate that sucker up and couldn’t read through the series fast enough and was anxiously awaiting each new book that came out. A strong dominant man with a Russian accent? Sign me up, baby cakes! I soon discovered Sienna Mynx, Tiffany Ashley, Theodora Taylor, Stormie Kent, and Mercedes Keys. These women were not only writing romances featuring AA women, but they were giving us sexy as hell leading men, hot and erotic love scenes, and stories that I wanted to read over and over again. Each of these women gave me something that I loved in the mainstream romances, but featured women who were brown like me. Mynx gave me a mafia series that I am to this day still addicted to. Ashley gave me a contemporary romance that proved that love can be found in the most unexpected circumstances. Taylor gave me a bad ass shape-shifting Viking who traveled through time (YES-TIME TRAVEL!) to find his fated mate-Can you say ‘nerd girl fantasy come true”? Kent gave me a dose of fantasy with an alien race that rivaled any Viking AND space travel. Be still my heart! And finally, Keys-she gave me a long running family saga that made me break almost every rule that I set down for myself when it came to eBooks.

The bottom line for me was that I just wanted to see a wide range of AA women as the main focus of romances. I wanted the women to run the gamut. Short, tall, thin, and thick with every shade of brown that we come in. I don’t care if she wears a weave, rocks an afro, or has kinky curly hair that defies gravity. I know women who fit all of these descriptions and with IR romances I was getting that. I had found a treasure trove of stories highlighting women who are brown like me. I wanted to share my finds with as many people as possible.

So why am I now frustrated and getting cranky when there are more romances featuring AA women than ever now? Well, it’s because it seems as though things don’t feel enjoyable and supportive right now. If you claim to support diversity in romance but do not go far enough for some, then you are not diverse enough. There is a niche for just about everything but not every niche will fit everywhere. There’s no need for anyone to say that someone’s support in promoting diversity isn’t sufficient. For me, the whole point of diversity is to have choices. Authors writing and presenting their truths and readers having the opportunity to experience them or not according to their own proclivities is my most basic definition of diversity.

I am a woman of a certain age, and I remember when we didn’t have this bounty of diversity to enjoy. I remember when there weren’t a large number of books that featured AA women in erotica, paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary romances. Yes, we still have a long way to go for our AA writers to reach the level of success that many of their counterparts are experiencing. I’m trying to do my part through my blog and trying to leave reviews as often as possible. However, the negativity that is floating through this diverse community that I so enjoy is disheartening. There are writers who have or are considering giving up, there are fans who are disheartened, and bloggers who are thinking of shutting down.

I love a bargain, but I am more than willing to pay a fair price for a well written and professionally edited story. But now independent authors are faced with mass theft of their intellectual property by corrupt people who steal their work and put them on sites for people to download for free. Not cool at all. Fans attacking other readers and authors. General ugliness surrounding reviews. What the what?! Come on now, we are better than that. If I enjoyed your product you better believe I’ll leave you a positive review so that others will know the joy you brought me. With that being said, I also say if I didn’t enjoy the read. I try never to be disrespectful so I don’t appreciate being called on the carpet because of that either. I am proud to say that in my experience it has NEVER been from an author but other readers who can be not so nice. Kindness, consideration, and respecting the fact that everyone’s opinion is valid may go a long way in keeping our community going.

Shaming for not being diverse enough isn’t helpful either and doesn’t promote productive dialogue. It motivates defensiveness at being accused of not being open enough to differences. Anyone who even remotely follows my reading habits knows that I read very eclectically. I consider myself lucky to enjoy a wide range of reading, but I am old enough and have read enough to know what I won’t enjoy. I venture outside of my comfort zone every once in a while and find new likes, and dislikes, that way. I have my own personal baseline and I know what it is. If that’s too rigid for some-well, that’s okay too. Just because I choose not to read something doesn’t mean that I won’t support and celebrate the fact that it is available for others to enjoy. Preference does not, in my opinion, equal prejudice.

I’m hearing a lot of “we need people to celebrate diversity”. What I and some other bloggers are thinking is “what do you think we are doing over here?” What I am really hearing is that they are wanting to be recognized on bigger platforms. I understand that. Get your product out there and hope for as much exposure as you can get. But we are out here beating the drums for authors who write for us. I’m small potatoes in the blogging world but I hope that my support of diversity, whether it is seen as enough or not, helps to showcase the kind of romance that I enjoy and was so grateful to find.

Happy Reading!
Monica Reeds

•(♥).•*Monlatable Book Reviews*•.(♥)•
http://www.monlatablereviews.com/

Preach

Whew! Thank you Monica! Ya girl is verklempt after this. What y’all think?

 

Release Day Blitz: After The Hearbreak by Isabelle Connors

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✯ ☆҉‿➹⁀☆҉☆RELEASE DAY BLITZ✯ ☆҉‿➹⁀☆҉☆

After the Heartbreak (Undying Love #2.5) by Isabelle Connors

Blurb:

It’s the anniversary of our first time. I can never forget it because it’s the only time that I’ve ever felt whole. I am nothing with you and I can never forget the day when you gave yourself to me … so I wanted you to remember too.

Excerpt:

I look up to find the most intense dark brown eyes I’ve ever looked into on the most ruggedly handsome guy I’ve ever seen. His dark wavy hair compliments his dark eyes and tan skin. Usually, I like men clean shaved, but the scruff that he’s rocking only adds to his raw and carnal sex appeal. He oozes confidence in a way that doesn’t come across as arrogant. He is perfection on two legs.

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After the Heartbreak buy links:

Amazon
Amazon UK

The Before buy links:

Amazon Amazon UK

The Introduction & The Heartbreak buy links:

Amazon: amzn.to/1iLZCmI Amazon UK: amzn.to/1L5UF4u
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About the Author:

My name is Isabelle Connors. I am an only child who has grown from an avid reader into an avid writer! I have been married now for six wonderful years. I have no kids as yet. I just recently published the first two books in the “Undying Love” series called the “The Introduction” and “The Heartbreak”. I am so excited about this journey that I am on (nervous more so) because it gives me a chance to bare my soul to the world. These characters have lived in my head for a long time and I think it’s time you guys got a chance to meet them. I hope you fall in love with these individuals. I hope you cry and laugh with them, and I hope you get the life lessons with them.

Connect With Izzy:

Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter
Book Gorilla Profile
Instagram: izzyconnors1
YouTube 

 

 

 

 

On The Radar: His Number One Fan by Danyell A. Wallace!

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I don’t think I can comment enough about how much I love YA/NA stories. I just love, love, love them, and when I discover a new author who writes entertaining romance about young lovers that feature carefree black girls finding their way in the world, I get especially giddy and fangirly. Danyell A.Wallace is a new IR author on the scene, and she’s such a genuinely sweet person to interact with. Her debut novel, Wanting You, is out now, so add it to your TBR, but I wanna talk about this upcoming story His Number One Fan. It’s dropping December 17th, and when Danyell revealed the cover on her Facebook page, I begged kindly asked for a lil sneak peek or sum’n.  She was happy enough to oblige, so check it out:

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Nyla Freeman hasn’t seen her long time childhood friend Caleb Walker in over four years. She’s a pre-med student who’s looking forward to a well-deserved break from the common stress of being a college student so she decides that, instead of going to Italy with her family during her two-week spring break, she will spend it with Caleb instead.

Caleb happens to be a member of an up and coming band called Wildfire who are well-known in the Sacramento area. Nyla’s plan is to fly out to California to catch up and reminisce with her best friend, but that all changes her first night there when she meets the rest of the band members, and becomes really curious about their lead singer, Mason Scott. Their first encounter is brief, but when his gray eyes land on her brown ones, she knew she wanted to know more about him…in every imaginable way.

Everything about Mason oozed sex appeal, from his tousled black hair, to his hot bod covered in ink, and finally, to the way he worked the crowd. He flirted with every concert goer-man or woman. He did not discriminate.

As Mason makes his way to the mic, he closes his eyes briefly and begins rocking back and forth, allowing the music to overtake him. But before he sings the next verse, he opens his eyes and they lock with Nyla’s. In that single moment, she becomes His Number One Fan, not realizing that this night was the beginning of both of their lives changing forever…

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Okay…That was a nice lil plot twist cause who else thought Nyla had the hots for Caleb? I totally thought that Nyla was going to hook up with Caleb, but here comes Mason! She got me, and I’m ready! His Number One Fan is scheduled for a 12/17 release. Be sure to like Danyell’s FB page for updated release info. I’m personally looking forward to this one. I love a good rock star romance!

 

Monday Musings: Guest Post by Harper Miller!

Guest Blogger

One of my biggest author supporters from Day 1 of starting this blog has been Harper Miller. We rattle each other at times with our strong convictions, but it’s all love, and these are the kinds of people that I like to surround myself with. She challenges me in ways I don’t always want to consider, but in the end, I’m a better person for it.

That being said, Harper hit me up a few weeks ago with an idea that I hope will take off on this blog, and that is having a guest blogger. I was so on board with this, because I know she had some things on her mind that she wanted to speak on, and boy, does she bring it! So without further ado, I give you Harper Miller’s Monday Musing:

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Is it homophobia, is it preference, it something else? Let’s discuss!

First, I’d like to thank Patrice for giving me a platform to open up dialogue and get a hearty discussion going. I’m all for open discourse and I hope you guys are too!
In November, I released the third story in my Kinky Connect Chronicles series, Entwined. Entwined was a story I was scared to write. Why? Hmm, well, in the IR genre, we do not see many stories with ménage aspects and readers can be very fickle. We see threesomes in Interracial Erotica sure, but that is a category where we do not expect a bevy of well-developed tales, just orifices gone wild! People are always surprised when I say that I write Interracial Erotica. Don’t be! The genre is changing.

“OMG, isn’t that the genre with all the sex? No plots, just nothing but sex?”

I’ve been a reader of Interracial Erotica/Romance for over three years now, and in that time, I’ve joined many reader forums. I can recall many comments made by some in regards to threesomes not being their cup of tea. The comments were usually split amongst three types of readers:

1. Readers who would not even consider the stories because they weren’t fans of a couple having a third person in the mix.
2. Readers who had never come across any good ménage stories but were open to expanding their reading horizons.
3. Readers who would only read ménage stories if they highlighted a specific couple dynamic.

Now you are probably wondering, “Harper, why would you write something so contentious if you know the audience in the genre is all over the place?”

My answer: Why not?

Readers say they want the IR genre to be full of originality and diverse storytelling. They want to lose themselves in the characters. From the feedback I’ve received from readers, I think most people enjoy my writing, but with Entwined, I have to say that I got a very rude awakening. People who were waving the equal representation and “diversity” flag were not interested reading a story that featured an F/F/M dynamic.

Now, I understand we all have our preferences. Everybody’s got their something.
Readers say they want mainstream Contemporary Romance to showcase more women of color however, when we have different types of stories about women of color being told, the judgment rolls in. Readers become upset when someone says they cannot identify with a black woman as a heroine, but when a story is written where a black bisexual woman is featured, then it is too much. TEW MUCH. Readers can’t identify.

But we can identify with having sex with aliens or shifters?

That’s okay because LOVERS OF ALL THINGS ménage will come through! Surely, those people would be supportive of such a story? Oh no, not so. You see my dynamic didn’t fit their interest. It’s ménage, but not the right kind. They’re more comfortable with an M/M/F read. Hmmm.

Preference right?

My point is, in this genre, we have too many double standards. There are preferences and then there are blatant double standards. And then there’s the homophobia aspect. We say we want diversity in our romance reads, but how many of us are sharing buy links of authors who write IR gay romance? How many of us are giving a fair shot to authors who write these types of stories? I get that romance has an escapism aspect and some readers prefer to put themselves in the shoes of the heroine, but if you’re a fan of love and IR romance, why not support the authors who write these tales as well? There’s a bunch out there! Romance is about a connection, two people finding each another regardless of obstacles and finding a way to make their relationship work. We want to be so engrossed in a tale, that we’re pissed off when it ends!

Avril Ashton, Shae Connor, Santino Hassell, Meg Amor, and Michael Mandrake, are just a few authors who are writing some engaging stories with IR gay couples. You should definitely spice up your e-reader and give them a chance!

Maybe I’m crazy for wanting to be inclusive and get everyone in the mix, but I’ve always said that I would write the types of stories I wish to see. I’m happy to say, Entwined has been my most successful book in the Kinky Connect Chronicles, so, a little controversy never hurt. Thanks to everyone who purchased a copy! Much appreciated.

You’ve read my thoughts, what are yours? Is it homophobia, is it preference, it something else? What do you consider to be a “diverse” read?

***

Chile…

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Ms. Miller definitely gave me some perspective with this post. Are my preferences actually prejudice? Or is it simply just a matter of I don’t roll that way? Personally, I haven’t featured any gay romance on this blog, not because I’m homophobic, which for the record, I most certainly AM NOT, but because this blog specializes in black woman romance. I haven’t found very many, if any, romances that feature black lesbians in a loving relationship. I know they’re out there, I just never took the time to really explore.

Now please. Let’s not turn this into a homophobic, religious debate because you cannot spit bible verses when you read and/or write about hetero couples doing the same shit and justify it because they are hetero.

Thank you Harper for the musing and the insight. You’ve definitely given me some food for thought and some new authors to discover. The Kink Connect Chronicles series is available now on Amazon. Check it out because there’s definitely something for everyone!

And if you’d like to become a guest blogger (and you don’t have to be an author), hit me up at phatgirlreads@gmail.com. Til next Monday…

 

Book Recommendation: Sink by Xavier Watson

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I don’t think I’ve read a story with this much of a plot twist since…well, in a long damn time! Sink is my favorite kind of narrative: A whole lotta WTF did I just read?

Real talk: This was my face:

Surprised
So our story starts in the year 1965 then goes back and forth even way back and forth. We’re introduced to Walton, a young redneck, racist shit of a police officer who’s married to a young white thot named Rosselyn who is filthy rich. Their relationship has been screwed up since Rosselyn’s miscarriage. Walton blames himself and questions his manhood while Rosselyn feels less of a woman because she couldn’t carry a child to term. The loss of their child causes an irreparable rift in their marriage to the point where Rosselyn seeks comfort, sexual comfort that is, in the form of one of her black workers named Ewing. Ewing hits all the right spots, and these two actually fall in love, but of course, they can never be a couple. One, because she’s married, and two, well, it is the 50’s (at this point. I did say the story goes back and forth…) Little did these two lovebirds know, Walton discovers his wife’s traitorous secret, and he’s so distraught that he decides to end his life. This is only the beginning…

intrigued
Walton meets a beautiful, black woman named Vivian, and despite his racist views and overall hatred of black people, he is smitten and fiercely attracted to her. She’s his equal in so many ways because she gives as good as she gets and does not hesitate to call him and the other racists out on their BS. What started as a one-night stand soon blossoms into something deeper, but to be together would mean to choose sides (or would it), and this is where the drama intensifies.

oh really
This was such an entertaining read because once you begin the story, you truly think ok, I’m reading a lil back-in-the-day love story about this interracial couple, and they’ll just have to overcome the odds to be together. NOOOOOOOPE! They did in a sense, but not in the way you may expect. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but man…I was so impressed. Along with the romance was plenty of action and some very spot-on social commentary. Heads up: This story is gritty and written in the context of life in the 50’s and 60’s. There are racial slurs and southern vernacular used throughout. Sink, is really good. Truly unlike anything I’ve ever read. At least that I can recall…