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Many of the books I review were FREE in exchange for an honest review. I do not get paid to review them. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as ADs. They are promoting books but I do NOT get any money or goods for posting Spotlights. 
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to see the children's books which I have authored.

 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The End of Ordinary by Edward Ashton

This book is not about sentient corn of any kind.  No zombie corn, no ravaging corn cobs.   The book is about near future genetically manipulated people and the issues it creates. 

The plot resonates well with the almost daily breaking news of some other illness that can be alleviated or eliminated with genetic manipulation.  It isn’t too far fetched to imagine designer children or animals.  Jurassic Park doesn’t hold a monopoly on the frightening consequences of altered genes. 

A sub-plot is also clear that the have and have not situation may create a whole new discriminatory slate. 

In addition it is made clear that a parent desperate to live vicariously through a gene altered super child may not always find a child with the same goal as the one in which the parent hopes to revel.

This was well done with a wealth of thought provoking scientific and ethical postulates.

Web: http://www.edwardashton.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book Bonanza For Hurricane Relief


This book sale is an opportunity to put
your money where your mouth is!

A group of authors are providing 25 books at a ridiculously CHEAP price and 100% of the royalties will be donated to  
One America Appeal  for Hurricane Relief.

This is a Win-Win situation 
if there ever was one. 

You're getting hours of great reading
and doing good as a bonus!
Link

R.E. McDermott's books alone are worth far more than $10, 
I have read them all and loved them. 
Go to this link and revel in having gotten a terrific bargain and done some good for the poor folks struggling to recover from this years devastating hurricanes.
This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Exiled King by Sarah Remy

This book appears to wrap up the story.   Renault’s kingdom is under siege.  Mal,his Vocent,  has his own ideas on how to save the kingdom.  Avani  has drawn away and Liam has grown distrustful.  The sidhe are meddling with both the kingdom and the desert people.  War is inevitable.

Remy does an exemplary job of showing how love of country can lead to destruction of self.   Mal has an addiction but seeks to channel it to save the king he loves.  Everin is exposed in multiple ways for who he is and isn’t.  The characters have depth and color which underpins and excellent plot.  

Remy did a great job on this series.

I really enjoyed the book.

Web: http://www.sarahremy.com


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving 2017


Here's hoping you have many blessings 
to give thanks for today!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Last Gargoyle by Paul Durham

This is an upper elementary school book.  The plot does have some scary stuff that might not be good for the primary years.  However if you consider the Grimm fairy tales, this is pretty tame.  Goyle is not a gargoyle, he is a grotesque.   His task is to protect his wards. 
Goyle takes his job very seriously.

The Boneless King comes into play and threatens Goyle’s wards.  Goyle is befriended by Viola who can see and hear him even though most mortals can not do either.  Goyle’s wisp, his disembodied form, is of a young boy in a hoodie who looks moderately disreputable. Goyle’s stone form is a typical gargoyle looking form, wings, claws and fangs. 

Viola and Goyle work together to defeat the Boneless King and protect Goyle’s wards.

I liked the book and will be sharing it with my grandchildren.

Web: http://pauldurhambooks.com/thelastgargoyle/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Rift Frequency by Amy S. Foster



This book features a butt kicking female protagonist.   Ryn is seventeen and a Citadel team leader.  Citadels are enhanced humans who protect society from a trans-dimensional invasion.   

Rifts are breaks in reality allowing entry into this earth.  The multi-dimension theory is that there are infinite earths that may have developed in different ways from the current earth.  Citadels are enhanced teenagers who are tasked to guard the Rifts and prevent any cross over beings from running lose in our earth.

In this book Ryn and Levi are exploring the Rift trying to determine what ARC, the controlling entity of Rift guardianship is doing and why they are doing it.  Ryn has been deprogrammed and discovers some unpleasant truths about the lies she has been told since a child.

Ryn and Levi search for Ezra a Rift traveler and discover the Roones are also not what they seem.  They find some excellent but surprising allies and discover that an enemy may be an ally.    

I enjoyed the book.

Incidentally the author actually lets real teen behaviour and angst bleed through the persona of the enhanced warrior.

Web: http://amysfoster.com/the_rift_trilogy 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Gods of Sagittarius by Eric Flint, Mike Resnick


This book was a bit of a travelogue of weird places.   Two very different groups are looking for the weapons repository of the “old ones”.   The old ones may be mythological or not.   The two groups are searching for divergent reasons and yet they end up working together.

My favorite character was the Warlock Variation drive.  The driving force on this book was “trekkie” type humor.   There was a lot of tongue in cheek and sarcasm.  It was convoluted, weird and somewhat humorous.  I would characterize it as Stainless Steel Rat type of humor.

It is worth reading but know you are not walking into a “normal” plot.




This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Darkness Falling, Andromedan Dark: Book Two by Ian Douglas

Altered Starscape is book one of this series.  Prior to it the  last book I read from Ian Douglas was Star Corpsman: Bloodstar back in 2012.  It was good, not great but good.  Altered Starscape was the first in a new series and it was excellent as was this one.  It has obviously been impacted by other good Sci-Fi but how do you divorce you mind from your reading experiences. Earth has met aliens and is going to their capital.  Their arrival is fraught with peril and they find themselves far from where they had anticipated.

 That was book one and book two the aliens get even more alien.  The plot gets thicker.

St.Clair is the military commander of the humans and Adler is the political leader.   Douglas illustrates a less than complimentary attitude regarding politicos and realistically with today’s political climate, how could he otherwise proceed.   The political machinations don’t stop even when the entire ship compliment is threatened.  It is a good example of self serving politicos.   Lisa, St.Clair’s emancipated self aware robot, adds a side bar of equal rights thinking to the book which is once again, thought provoking.  As much as we would like to think that Asimov’s 3 laws of robotics actually might exist, Douglas thinks otherwise and even more so in book two. 

In spite of the advanced technology of the current crew of aliens, humans offer a new and powerful prospective to civilizations that may have become far beyond hidebound.

Once again, I found the author provide some interesting concepts to contemplate.   Gasp!, he actually encourages you to think! 

I really enjoyed the book and I recommend it.

Body of work of <a type="amzn"> Ian Douglas </a>

Web site: www.whkeith.com
This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen


This is a delightful book of survival targeting the YA market.  Mark, finds himself somewhere else while hiking in the desert.  It is definitely not Kansas.  There are strange animals and people and he is in a savage, primitive time.

The story is about how Mark grows, learns and survives.  He makes allies, friends and enemies and discovers a great deal about himself.   There are some surprises in the book but the best feature is the depiction of the growth and maturity of a young man.

I enjoyed the book. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson

It has been years since I have read any of Donaldson’s books.  I remember Thomas Covenant fondly for his enormous self doubt.  That theme seems to be in this book as well.  Prince Bifalt shares a similar lack of self esteem or perhaps more accurately a doubt as to his abilities.   He sees himself as a soldier, doesn’t regard himself as terribly bright and cognizant of his diplomatic shortcomings. His kingdom, Belleger, is locked in a generational dispute to the death with Amika.   Both kingdoms are suffering and apparently suicidal.  The Prince is tasked by his father the king to find a solution to the perceived one sided stalemate.  

The Decimates are magical tenets or perhaps spells, I was not entirely sure which.  The evoking of the Decimates are the primary cause of the catastrophic loss of life when the two kingdoms battle. The Prince’s goal is to find the Seventh Decimate which supersedes the previous six by nullifying them.

I did not find the Prince as likeable as Thomas Covenant, not that he was eminently likeable either.  The book seemed more simplistic than I recall Donaldson.  There were not a ton of nuances or thought provoking scenarios.   My most frequent reaction to some of the Prince’s behavior was “what the heck is wrong with you.”   That feeling was tempered by the acceptance that generations of death and destruction would raise cynicism to a new high.   I felt this was more YA than A as far as the plot and flow were concerned.

I recommend it but I don’t think it is of the same caliber as the Covenant series.

Web: http://www.stephenrdonaldson.com/


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Sea People by S. M. Stirling


This book is set in a post Apocalyptic world where technology has been truncated by some unknown source.  I have no idea what number in the series this is.   It is entirely too long since I have read anything in this series.  This is sometime after the initial characters have kids and those kids are sending out their own children into a world fraught with peril.  The peril is a dark, evil force trying to twist mankind to evil purposes.  The good guys have their own forces for good providing their champions with magic swords. 

I must have missed too many books because this book only made vague sense.  It jumps all over which I referred to in my last review of this series.

Polytheism is a staple throughout the series and some explanation of such is provided in this book.   I said in my last review based on the way the story jumped from one time and location to another, it often felt like a book of short stories.

I really enjoyed the first few books in this series but the last few have left me feeling cold at best.

Website          http://www.smstirling.com/


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley


This may offend the author but this was really a primer on the myriad meanings of love disguised as a fantasy novel.   It is not a romantic fantasy with heaving bosoms or sex starved virgins but a thought provoking look at what does love actually mean in the context of a medieval type of culture.

The skullsworn, a name they dislike, are pledged to he god of death.   They believe it is their duty to kill in the name of their god.  This isn’t religion by the sword but a more individual killing that seems to, in some cases, right some wrongs.  The main characters are Ela and Kossal, priestess and priest, and Pyrre their priestess to be.   Pyrre is on a quest to undergo her trial to be a priestess by killing seven people in fourteen days.  The victims are not just the first seven people she sees but chosen through the format of the trial.  

Ruc, who Pyrre decides will be one of her victims, is unaware of her religious leanings.  The interaction between the characters, the various gods and Pyrre’s drastic methods of achieving her goals provides the process of the story.

This was an interesting look at love and death.

I enjoyed it.

Web: http://brianstaveley.com/index/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Altered Starscape, Andromedan Dark: Book One by Ian Douglas

The  last book I read from Ian Douglas was Star Corpsman: Bloodstar back in 2012.  It was good, not great but good.  This book is the first in a new series and it is excellent.  It has obviously been impacted by other good Sci-Fi but how do you divorce you mind from your reading experiences. Earth has met aliens and is going to their capital.  Their arrival is fraught with peril and they find themselves far from where they had anticipated.

St.Clair is the military commander of the humans and Adler is the political leader.   Douglas illustrates a less than complimentary attitude regarding politicos and realistically with today’s political climate, how could he otherwise proceed.  The proliferation of AI adds a equal rights component to the book which is thought provoking.  As much as we would like to think that Asimov’s 3 laws of robotics actually might exist, Douglas thinks otherwise.

I found the author provide some interesting concepts to contemplate.   Gasp!, he actually encourages you to think! 

I really enjoyed the book and I recommend it.

Body of work of <a type="amzn"> Ian Douglas </a>

Web site: www.whkeith.com

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan


I’m prone to enjoying strong female protagonists.  Arian is a strong female protagonist facing implacable foes who feel women should be grossly subservient.  Arian is talented with a vocal power called the Claim.   The foes are doing their best to eliminate literacy and writing as that is how the power of the Claim is spread.   A copy of the Claim, the Bloodprint, is supposed to hold the key to defeating all the foes.   The gist of the book is the search for the Bloodprint.

Arian is a driven character who is nearly overwhelmed with guilt over the loss of her sister in a Talisman raid when they were children.  She has a love interest in the Silver Mage but denies herself love in her lust for her quest.  

The book was interesting but not captivating.  Some of the deprivations and behavior could have been pulled from headlines regarding religious zealots across the world.  That sadly provided some gritty reality to the story.

Treachery and duplicity seem to be the traits most valued by the bulk of the characters in the book.  The end sets up a second volume.

Web: http://www.ausmazehanatkhan.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Enchanter King by Dave Neuendorf

In book one, The Summoned King,  Jim Young is catapulted into a medieval style of world that is in need of a new king.   The idealism and enthusiasm of the teen age king from the first book is somewhat diminished.  Nevertheless the author holds to his vision by illustrating the impulsive and sometimes reckless side of a teenager. 

Jim faces his foes and demonstrates compassion and restraint, in spite of the occasional surges of anger and frustration.   This book introduces a dragon to the cast of characters.  There is mild violence and the author adds the addition of pregnancy and the ensuing responsibilities to leaven the plot.

I will mention again that Christianity is brought up as a factor in Jim's identity but there is no proselytization involved.


I recommend the book and look forward to the sequel.

Web Site: http://www.daveneuendorf.com/?author=1

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Strange Music by Alan Dean Foster

I really enjoy Alan Dean Foster and am shocked to realize I have not read one of his books since 2011.

This book does not have the same tongue in cheek aspect that was prevalent in the last Pip and Flinx book.   Flinx has become practically sedentary and was bored.   An old friend asked him to look into an illegal broach of a planet that is not yet a member of the Commonwealth.  The broach seems to be by a single profiteer using proscribed technology with the natives.  Flinx is asked to clandestinely look into the problem.

The natives are seal like and communicate via singspeech.   The singspeech becomes a bit tedious and is the most annoying factor of the book. 

Flinx is forced to use his brain rather than his empathic talents to succeed in his goal.  

I recommend the book.  

Body of work of <a type="amzn"> Alan Dean Foster </a>


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Chasing Embers by James Bennett

Red Ben is a remnant of lost magic.   He finds his life threatened by the breaking of the Pact, an agreement to have magical creatures sleep until the Fae return with one member of each group staying awake.   When the Pact is broken, Ben finds his life and his love threatened.

The author did a nice job depicting Ben’s frustration of a long life with a desire to love and be loved and being thwarted by his own longevity.  The characters were interesting and the plot was sufficiently complicated to keep your interest.  

You will find witches, grudge holding wild men, ancient Egyptians, dragons and other highly colorful characters. 

It seems to be the initial book of a series.

I look forward to reading more.

Web: I could not find a web site for Bennett

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Call of Fire by Beth Cato


Repeating my self from my previous review. An alternative world setting in 1906 provides the scene.   Women are treated in a despicable fashion that sadly was pretty much true in that time period's reality.  One of the things I liked about this book was that Cato based her story on actual events and actual mores.   That certainly doesn't detract for the fantastical elements imbued in both the setting and the characters.

Cato did her homework.   The basis of her discrimination was sadly accurate.  History frequently ignores events that are either embarrassing or politically sensitive. Genocide has plagued reality on all together too many historical occasions. 

If you haven't noticed by particular bias in past reviews, I will draw note to the fact that I enjoy fictional butt kicking females as well as surrounding myself in day to day life by accomplished strong women.  I have a section on my blog in an homage to strong women. 

Ingrid  and Cy have recognized their mutual attraction and there is more sexual tension in this book than previous books.   Blum, the vile villainess is hunting Ingrid while Ingrid hunts her friends, two polarized hunts though, one good and one evil.  Fenris continues to fuss over Bug, their airship.  Teddy Roosevelt has a larger role in this book and his goals are not quite the same as Ingrid’s.   Ingrid discovers new things about her power and suffers from it’s use.

War, violence and prejudice are all addressed in this volume even more so than the previous book.

Fenris, Jennings and Lee accompany and support her adventures, all of whom have deep dark secrets of their own.  

Cato has crafted a world that I like even better than the Clockwork world.  My reviews of several her books are below.  

I highly recommend.  

Site:  http://www.bethcato.com/




This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Playing to the Gods by Melanie Rawn

This is the conclusion to the Glass Thorn series.  I really enjoyed Touchstone, the first book.   The second, Elsewhens  and the third, Thornlost  did not grab me as strongly but the conclusion in this book was excellent.   The theatre group, Touchstone, finally addresses all the issues of the first three books.  It ties everything up and provides a suitable ending for the myriad characters

Ms. Rawn has done a masterful job in presenting an eclectic cast of characters.  The characters often seem to be wallowing in personal revulsion.  Introspection is carried to extremes often leading to depression.  Ms. Rawn shows that people can deal with their personal ghosts and addictions and over come them.    Practically all  the allusions to societal ills such as discrimination, poverty, perversion that were made without being done with a heavy hand are addressed.

I found this book far more captivating than the previous four but sometimes things need to be seen to the end to appreciate the whole.

I recommend the book.


Web Site: http://www.melanierawn.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Punisher-Black and White by Edmondson and Gerads


I haven’t reviewed a graphic novel in quite awhile.  I enjoyed this one.  The Punisher is an old testament vigilante.  Often reading and watching the news, one can understand the motivation of a vigilante.  This is the first volume in a new series.

Story line and graphics combine to provide a different experience than a straight novel.  The art work was very good, dark but that is the nature of the Punisher.  The text and art meld nicely to provide a dark, nihilistic view of the world.  Futility and anger fuel the work of the Punisher. 

There are many references to previous stories and characters and not having read and Punisher comics (prehistoric graphic novels) in a long time, I was left scratching my head on occasion.

Overall impression was positive.  Graphic novels appear to have greater depth than the comics I grew up with. 

I liked it.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Uncle Brucker the Rat Killer by Leslie Peter Wulff

This is a strange book.  I’ve read a lot of books and I’ve read a lot of strange books but this ranks up their with the strangest.  Walt, a teenager from a dysfunctional home, spends a lot of time with a very strange Uncle Brucker who is the Rat Killer.  Not a rat killer but the premier rat killer.
 
The author has Uncle Brucker provide a lot of information on rat types, rat language and rat behavior.  A war between rats and humans involves both Walt and his Uncle.

This was way to nonsensical for me.  I like fantasy but this was like a bad fairy tale. 

I really didn’t care for the book.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Conflict by Walt Socha


Alternate reality or time traveling, neither the protagonists or I are sure what happen.   A group of young adults end up leaving a dude ranch and ending up nearly 1000 years in the past.   The group discovers that the past much as the future is fraught with danger and potential.  

Joe has a good heart and is suffering from nightmares when he suddenly finds himself as a leader of a band of mismatched adventurers.   Thrust into Pennsylvania Indian history, the group finds themselves unknowingly tasked to change the future.

The struggle Joe has with age and adulthood smacked of realism.   The incursion of Mississippi river culture into Pennsylvania is theoretically accurate.  Socha did a nice job setting up a culture and how it handled different types of invasion.

This appears to be the first in a series, I look forward to reading more.

Web: http://www.waltsocha.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Rift Uprising by Amy S. Foster


This book features a butt kicking female protagonist.   Ryn is seventeen and a Citadel team leader.  Citadels are enhanced humans who protect society from a trans-dimensional invasion.

Rifts are breaks in reality allowing entry into this earth.  The multi-dimension theory is that there are infinite earths that may have developed in different ways from the current earth.  Citadels are enhanced teenagers who are tasked to guard the Rifts and prevent any cross over beings from running lose in our earth.

Ryn discovers that ARC, the controlling entity of Rift guardianship, may not be truly forthcoming with what is actually happening.   The enhancement process appears to have some seriously negative side effects.

Ryn, her team and a Rift traveler are faced with the daunting task of discovering the truth about the Rifts and the Citadels.

I enjoyed the book.

Web: http://amysfoster.com/the_rift_trilogy 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mongrel Mage by L.E. Modesitt, jr



I am aware it is not a steampunk novel but
I love this rating graphic. 
Once again Modesitt provides an entertaining story with philosophic undertones that provoke thoughtful ponderings.   It may be a stretch to compare the plot to the very current brouhaha over Transgenders but in Modesitt’s world  if you are a mage, identification as to white or black can be a life or death decision.  Similar unthinking prejudice provides thoughts about the plot.

Beltur, a weak white mage, discovers things about himself that dramatically change his life.   The plot centers on his journey of self discovery and it is leavened with a tyrant’s attack on his new home.

Another thought that struck me was the title and use of mongrel is indicative of the strength of our nation.  The good old USA is made up of a wealth of ethnicities that meld together to a dynamic and vibrant population.   It is imperative that we do not let our politicians polarize us into reds and blues, we are all red white and blue.  This is the problem with Modesitt’s books, they make me think. (gasp!)

Modesitt suggests that a truly ordered mind would have difficulty dissembling.   Beltur discovers that hatred can be unthinking and have no basis besides erroneous perceptions.  In spite of the consistent pattern of Modesitt’s protagonists, I enjoy how each discovers their strengths and weaknesses and grows into a laudable character. 

I am a FAN!

I highly recommend.  



This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Twelve Days by Steven Barnes

Barnes work is very thought provoking.  This story focuses on the untapped potential of the human brain.  It is touted as a paranormal thriller but frankly I believe there are many factors of the human brain that we have yet to identify, quantify or explore.  Consequently I would label this as a thriller and skip the paranormal.  What is normal anyway?

A charismatic cult leader has plans to change the world.  A small boy who is on the autistic spectrum may be the key to her success.  Standing in the way of her exploiting the child is a former military man with a martial arts background and a mother who adores her special needs child.

There is lots of action and questionable decisions in this book.  It was an enjoyable read.
I recommend it.

Web:https://stevenbarneslife.wordpress.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Bones of the Earth by Rachel Dunne


This novel is based on the mythology of parent gods disavowing their twin children the same as the last Dunne novel (In the Shadow of the Gods) as both are Bound Gods novels. 

There is a dichotomy in some of the characterizations.  The book has multiple main characters, each of whom has their own story.   The methodology of some character lines is so different from others that it is almost like multiple authors.   That isn't a problem but the diverse character lines led to some confusion.

Many of the same characters are in this book,  Scal and  Rora were still the characters that successfully grabbed my interest.  Joros continues to be the most despicable of the characters.  

The book has an interesting premise but I had some difficulty in maintaining my interest.

web site: http://racheldunne.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.