Thursday, March 31, 2016

It Was a March to Be Mad About, and We Have the Books to Prove It

Cheers, friends and fellow book lovers, and welcome back to another edition of Booyah Books. We at The Novel Approach have compiled another great list of outstanding reads from the month of March, and we're so giddy to share the love with all of you.

There's also the chance to win a couple of the titles we've chosen via the Rafflecopter widget below, so click away to enter. 

Now, here they are, our fave books of March!

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JenniferLove Is for the Living by Nicholas Kinsley: “This book is phenomenal. I mean, honestly, I loved it so much I couldn’t put it down and at one point was shoveling popcorn into my mouth in a frenzy, along with the pace of the story, because I was just so hyped up. So to portray everything that’s right about it, I’m just going to make a list.

First, there are the characters. They’re so realistic. And by that, I don’t just mean the dialogue. I mean they are real people with real quirks and faults that make them human and not just stock characters in a romance novel. I adored Blaine and Andrew, and what makes them perfect is their imperfections. Neither one is drop dead gorgeous, which, let me tell you, was a breath of fresh air. While they find each other attractive, the descriptions are of realistic men.”

Inversion Point by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen: “This book is my favorite of the series. And I know I likely say that every time, but honestly, the books just keep getting better, and I cannot wait to see what these talented authors have in store for the final (NO!) book in the series, Phase Shift. This book is filled with even more character development, more heart-wrenching moments, and awesome new aliens who just immediately make you happy, as if they are also communicating with you.

This new species is fascinating, and I don’t want to give too much away, because the initial introduction to them is just fascinating. They are completely unlike the other species already at the Hub: humans, ashushk, and stin. And yet, because of the Guardians, Zed is able to communicate with them. They seem peaceful enough, so that must be good for the humans and ashushk, right? I wish I could talk more about them, but it would give away critical information, so instead I’ll talk about my love for Qek and how it continues to grow with every book.”

SammySleight of Heart by Aisling Mancy: “Anyone who is under the misconception that author Aisling Mancy does not create stories with engaging plot lines, fascinating characters who capture the imagination, and thoroughly researched ancient cultures that seem to step right out of history, obviously has not read his latest offering, Sleight of Heart. In this novel, you step into a fantasy world rich with different gifted magical creatures who instantly tug you back in time to a world where living by a strict set of standards ruled over every decision made. From gypsies to the fae, vampires to dragons, we are invited into a story that speaks of the harsh hate of bigoted minds juxtaposed with the gentle love and passion of creatures that have been mindlessly feared throughout time. What a stunning novel Sleight of Heart turned out to be.”

LisaThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: “The Song of Achilles is a glorious feat of storytelling, far too magnificent in scope and with a cast of characters too vast to easily encompass it all in a review. Even if you’re only vaguely familiar with “the face that launched a thousand ships” and know only the most basic details of the Trojan war (and the roles Hector and Paris played in Achilles’ fate), there is no mistaking the legend of heroes and the bonds of love forged between Patroclus and Achilles in this novel. And, the price they both paid when war and the Fates came to collect.

For ten years I watched the gods take sides in this war and lost myself in the romantic idea that those thousand ships sailed with the intent of mounting a rescue of the most beautiful woman in the world, but then ended on little more than pretense, an excuse for men to go to battle over a woman who seemingly didn’t want to be rescued. It was to be Achilles’ own launch into eternal glory, his swan song before his own demise, this war and the death of Hector, and though Achilles and Patroclus did their best to defy fate and thwart Achilles’ destiny for a time… in the end, the gods and a man’s destiny always win.”

Dirty Heart by Rhys Ford: “Told with a skill and precision we’ve become accustomed to from this author, and in this series, one that’s part mystery and part romance, Dirty Heart gathers together all the loose threads that have become the warp and weft of the series’ tapestry, and has lain them all out for us to see in the culmination of years of weaving these characters and their lives together into a family and, finally, reveals all its beauty—in the building of these relationships through trials and triumphs, through joy and sadness, through hilarity and heartache. We’re drawn into each scene, viscerally, emotionally, imaginatively, and, I might add, quite happily. And, in the end, Dirty Heart culminates in a place we’ve all been waiting for yet dreading because The End is never easy once a colorful palette of characters become so deeply ingrained in our lexicon of favorites.”

MaryannThe Danger in Bohemia by H.E. Kollef: “The Danger in Bohemia is a first time reading author H.E. Kollef for me, and the book was excellent. Ms. Kollef created an absolutely suspenseful, dangerous, adventurous and romantic tale that takes place in Prague. In her Author Bio it’s written, “Her favorite city is Prague and she recommends it to everyone she meets, especially if she thinks they’d enjoy romance, hearty beer and snowy walks along the winding Vltava river.” The Danger in Bohemia brings all this and more. Ms. Kollef’s architectural descriptions and a tour of the many sites in Prague really show the appreciation that she has for this city, and made me take time to look up many of the mentioned places just to see that architecture.”

House Hunt by Jackie Keswick: “House Hunt is another double thriller from Jackie Keswick. It’s suspenseful, fast paced and action packed, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. And, once again, Ms. Keswick brings us an amazing cast of characters that will peak your interest. We also get to learn a little more about Aidan Conrad’s life.

I liked that she gave that little flaw of jealousy to Gareth in this story, but she also brings love and warmth with Roz, Nico and Daniel. No matter what Jack’s endeavors are, there is a family for him. I’m hoping Ms. Keswick is going to add another book to the Power of Zero series because there are two major questions that haven’t really been resolved. One does concern Nico and Daniel, and the other involves Jack, Garth and the boys. This is an intriguing series and I highly recommend all three books: Job Hunt, Ghosts and House Hunt.”

JulesFinley by Ella Frank: “I adored both characters so much. Finn is cocky, mischievous, fun, adorable and sexy as hell. And, while Brantley is nervous at first that the seven years his love spent becoming a big city lawyer in Chicago have taken some of those qualities—qualities he loved—away from Finn, he couldn’t be further from the truth. Daniel is still the same fun, cocky, sexy man he was back then, only a thousand times hotter. And, the two together? Sparks for days and days. They are all about intense heat, yet aren’t afraid to do tender and soft. There is never a question about what they mean to each other. So good!

Finley was fun. Sooo romantic and lovely, but without being overdone. A great love story that I highly recommend. Can’t wait for the next one! I’m crossing my fingers that it’s Derek and Jordan’s story!”

Under a Sky of Ash by Brandon Witt: “Brandon Witt is so good at mixing in humor with the drama in his heavier themed works. This book is definitely on the heavy side. Extremely heavy at times. But, one gift he has given us here is the unbelievably fabulous ManDonna to help brighten up some of the darkness. ManDonna, who Ben calls “momma,” is unforgettable and hilarious. For more levity, there is also a wonderful wedding in the book. And, Isaiah’s relationship with his co-teacher and roommate, Charity, is so lovely and lighthearted as well.

Ok—I feel like I’ve given you all enough reason to go out and grab this book. Under a Sky of Ash is a fantastic, suspenseful, soulful read. I wanted to hug both MCs, as well as Aaron and Hershel and Daniel/ManDonna, throughout. I got goosebumps on more than one occasion.”

SadonnaHat Trick 3: Penalty Shot by Jeff Adams: “The truth is that life is unpredictable and sometimes things are great, sometimes you get slapped upside the head with crappy circumstances that are beyond your control. The true strength of character and of a relationship is forged during those times. Alex and Simon have faced many trials and tribulations, and each time they come back stronger. Ideally, this is what building a partnership and a truly lasting relationship should do. Are some of the situations they face wrapped up a little more neatly than many times happens in real life? Maybe. But this series has really shown these guys growing together and facing whatever comes their way, with courage and love and with the support of their friends and families. Penalty Shot is a thoroughly enjoyable book and a fitting end to this series.”

CarrieJury of One by Charlie Cochrane: “So much subterfuge! So many lies! Jury of One is the second book in the Lindenshaw Mysteries series; it follows The Best Corpse for the Job. These books are about Inspector Robin Bright, of the Stanebridge Police Department. The cast of main characters is rounded out with Anderson, Robin’s partner on the force and Adam, Robin’s partner at home. Robin and Adam meet in the first book of the series, but their relationship really doesn’t get off the ground until the end of that book—this book is set a short year later. The two men are still very new with each other, and with what each expects from their relationship. Be warned, however, this is not a romance book. Adam and Robin’s relationship is touched on because it is part of the mystery and rounds out the characters, but it is not the focus of the book. The mystery is. We could not, however, have a clear picture of Robin if we did not have Adam. There is also a cast of secondary characters that totally hold their own in the story and are exceptionally well written.”

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And that does it for this month. The full reviews for these and many more books can be found at The Novel Approach. Until next time, happy reading!

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THE GIVEAWAY


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Weather May Be Frightful, But February Was Delightful for Reading

Cheers, everyone, I trust you all put that extra day in February to good use, reading! :) The Novel Approach is glad to be back at Mary's Place to share some of our fave Feb reads with all of you, and, as always, there's a chance to win a couple of the e-books we loved, so make sure to put that Rafflecopter widget at the bottom to good use.

Good luck!

And now, here are our Book of the Month selections for February

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Karen – Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell – “In this book you get kind of what you would expect from these authors: the sort of brash, grumpy, smartass grittiness I love from Santino Hassell, and then the sweetness and spunkiness from Megan Erickson. Both these authors can write some pretty hot and smoking scenes individually, but together, they pretty much set the pages on fire. Like, seriously smoking HOT!

The characters and situations felt very real to me. My husband suffers from extreme social anxiety and panic attacks, and me having had a couple panic attacks and being introverted, shy and kind of antisocial, especially if I don’t know you, it can become life consuming. I thought the way this book portrayed this issue was outstanding, and it made me love it even more.”

Kim – Good Bones by Kim Fielding – “Dylan and Chris both start off on the wrong foot, each stereotyping the other. Dylan thinks Chris Nock is an unsophisticated redneck, and Chris thinks Dylan is too “big city folk” to get his hands dirty. The fun part of Good Bones is that both men are proven wrong as they get to know each other, and eventually become lovers when Dylan hires Chris to help with the remodel of his new home.

What’s sweet is that you can tell that Chris is falling for Dylan when he opens up to him, but he’s frustrated that Dylan is keeping secrets from him. By secrets I mean that Dylan is terrified that Chris will run from him if he finds out Dylan’s a werewolf. And… It doesn’t help that Andy, the man who bit Dylan, keeps showing up to lure Dylan back into his pack.”

Carrie – The Law of Attraction by Jay Northcote – “The Law of Attraction just hit all my hot buttons. It begins with a scene from a bar where a guy—no, not a guy—a man leans against the wall with a drink in his hand, suit and tie slightly askew, eyeing all the possible distractions that could be had for the night… Yeah, you had me at hello. Remarkably like Alec has Ed at hello, also!

These two equally strong men are desperate for each other, caught in a working relationship and fighting personal demons in their own ways. The push and pull between these two men is delicious, and their rapport keeps the book flowing and the story easy to read. It is also a story of family and how our formative years have such an impact on how those people can shape our lives. Jay Northchote draws such a poignant picture here of the difference a loving supportive family can have on the people we become.”

Maryann – My Man Walter by JS Cook – “I can’t say enough about all of J.S. Cook’s stories, but My Man Walter was outstanding. There’s not one romance going on in this book but two! The author gives us an abundance of likable and not so likable characters, along with a tension filled plot, danger, suspense, drug and human trafficking. There’s also the moments of sadness with our MCs, Walter and Chase, and the tragedy of losing loved ones and knowing when it’s time for letting go. Most of the entertaining books that I have read by J.S. Cook have been set in historical eras, but this novel is set in 2014, though she mixes in music from the past and references the movie My Man Godfrey.”

Lisa – The Seer by Jordan Reece – “The investigation of this crime is nothing less than superb, the action at times intense, the danger significant as more clues are revealed, and the man-child Jibb is revealed to have been, along with the fact that no one mourns his loss, makes him a touching and sympathetic character even in death, which was an unexpected bonus. The evidence piles up and leads to so many suspects which leads to twists and turns and, in the end, a motive for murder that is not only entirely plausible but is so well detailed that it almost overshadows every other aspect of this story. Jordan Reece gets the historical feel of the novel down well, but it’s the steampunk that makes The Seer fun.

Dovetailing with all of this is the third person omniscient narrative—a mode that’s not easy to write and not be accused of head-hopping, but in this case is finessed well. The dialogue is outstanding, serving to move the story forward and completing the exposition of not only the characters but the plot as well.”

(Note: This book is available only via Amazon.com)

Jennifer – Some Assembly Required by Lex Chase and Bru Baker – “Quite a few moments of the book, especially at the end, left me aching for Benji and Patrick. When Benji makes a few startling discoveries, which I cannot reveal without giving too much away, I teared up and, in one case, cried for him. Patrick’s revelation was a little more difficult for me to understand, but no less heartbreaking.

And the passion! This book contains one of the most, if not the most intense love scene I have ever read in romance. Lex Chase and Bru Baker truly did a remarkable job of describing what Benji and Patrick were experiencing, and it quite literally took my breath away. I read through it once quickly, in the moment with the boys nearly as frenzied as they were, and then went back to reread it for the brilliant details the authors included. I may have even had to fan myself after one of the readings, but I plead the fifth on that one.”

Sadonna – Unbreak Broken by J.K. Hogan – “I really loved how the relationship between these two developed. Neither is very adept at adult relationships. Bennett isn’t exactly out at work, and he really hasn’t had a serious relationship—but he’s never met anyone like Rory.

Rory has been so busy doing what he thinks he’s supposed to that he’s never figured out what he really wants. His therapist helps him immeasurably, whether it’s getting to the root of his issue or dealing with his new-found desires. She is a wonderful character in this story as well. I feel like each of the books in this series have just gotten stronger. I hope we get more in this world, whether it’s Bennett’s partner, or Rich’s brother, or Alex, I’d love to see more from this author in this nice little community she’s built. Highly recommended.”

Jules – Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North – “When I saw the cover for this novel back in the fall, I had an immediate Gimme! reaction. And, the title just has such a nice ring to it, ya know? I had high expectations for Blueberry Boys—both built up in my own mind, and then as early praise started to roll in—and I’m happy to say that it completely lived up to the hype.

I started a list—a pros and cons of sorts—with things I loved on one side, and then a list of things that maybe didn’t work so well, or I would have liked to see done differently, on the other. Well, the ‘things I loved’ side kept growing and growing, and, well, you get the idea. This book worked for me on a multitude of levels: as a family drama; as a peek into small town Americana; and absolutely 100% as a romance.”

Sammy – Foxes by Suki Fleet – “I so wish I had the words to describe this incredible story. Such gritty reality poured off every page of this novel. I could not put this book down. The fate of both Danny and Micky, alongside a secondary cast of characters that ranged from other homeless youth to the compassionate souls who occasionally fed them, watched out for them and helped them as best as they could, all mixed together to create a gut-wrenching tale that held me in its grip from beginning to end. I must repeat that word—honesty. There is no fairytale ending to the incredible journey Micky and Danny take together. At the end of this story, each boy still grapples with their demons, but this time with a sense of hope—a hint at a future that will see them stronger and happier. And, sincerely, this is the strength of this author. Rather than lead us into some unbelievable conclusion, Suki Fleet shows us that some can make it beyond the horrible life one endures in a barely survivable existence.”

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And that does it for this month. These and other reviews as well as guest posts and giveaways can be found at The Novel Approach. Until next time, happy reading!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway


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The Fine Print
*Must be 18 years old or older to qualify
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*Books will be delivered in the e-format of winner's choice (if available), or gifted via Amazon as applicable
*Void where prohibited by law

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Coming Soon!


http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7540
So excited! My new novella, Lay It Down, is on the coming soon page at DSP and will be out on March 16th! I hope you all enjoy reading about Hudson as much as I enjoyed writing about him.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

...sigh...it's Valentine's Day. Everyone have a lovely, loving, restful, peaceful, day. ((hugs))

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Faves

http://www.amazon.com/What-Love-Means-You-People-ebook/dp/B003KVKR90/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1454291231&sr=1-1&keywords=what+love+means+to+you+people
Fave oldie
It's Sunday and so I'm again talking about some of my favorite things which are random and run the gambit in terms of category.

First off is What Love Means To You People by Nancy Kay Shapiro. I read this back in 2007 when it first came out and my hardback book has been well loved but the dust jacket is still in pristine condition. It's a very real book and though I would say still a gay romance at heart, it also has those huge life and death moments that make it a hard won happy at the end. Poor Seth, the main character, is put through hell and back, and the story is told in equal parts between the two main characters. I love it because you really live with the characters but it's so not for the faint of heart.

http://www.amazon.com/My-One-And-Only-Thrill/dp/B001NESPHC/ref=pd_sim_15_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51czCy04hwL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=01CS3G0VGHQDTYTAWEZD
Fave writing music
Melody Gardot is one of my favorite singers. Nina Simone would have to be my "most" favorite but I love Melody Gardot too as does Jory. My favorite album of hers is My One And Only Thrill though my favorite song, Worrisome Heart, which I listened to on a continual loop when I wrote Sinnerman, (along with Sinnerman by Nina Simone--the Felix da Housecat Heavenly House Mix), isn't on that one but is on it's own album of the same title. When my nerves are frayed, I turn to quiet jazz to clear my head and her voice, with it's smoky sound, soothes me. All the songs are about lost loves and retrospection and I love them. Being in a quiet place, with the heater going, keeping me toasty warm, with a candle on is heavenly. And speaking of candles...

http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/home-candle/093512.jsp#/
Fave candle
The Capri Blue Mercury Glass Jar Candle is carried by Anthropologie and it comes in several scents. The one I love though is Volcano. And though the word "volcano" doesn't immediately conjure soothing, relaxing thoughts, when you smell the candle, you'll understand. It's amazing. I've gifted this candle a million times and no one has ever said I can't stand it or its giving me a headache. The smells in it, per the website are "tropical fruits, sugared oranges, lemons and limes, redolent with lightly exotic mountain greens". I want this job, writing what candles and lotion smell like because reading those words tell you nothing unless you're extremely familiar with exotic mountain greens. And what are those exactly? But what does help to know is that while it is a bit flowery, its more fresh but not heavy and you just want to suck the smell into your lungs.  the mercury glass is awesome too because once it burns down a bit, the flickering is visible and makes the whole thing look like a twinkling orb. You can't go wrong.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1718
Fave happy read
Take my Picture was written by Giselle Ellis back in 2010 and after I read it I looked for everything of hers and only found the one. Immediately when I finished, I decided to stop writing because I could never write anything as good. At this point, I have several books in our genre that I could say that about but none of that changes the fact that this novella is practically perfect in every way. Banter? Yep, it's in there. Friends to lovers? Check that box too. Almost too late and the fix isn't easy but real and human? Yep, yep, no doubt, that's there as well. Two characters that you love completely? Again, that's a go. It's like a jar of Prego, it's in there. I've read it about a billion times and I wish she'd write more but even if she never does, it's okay. This one is a winner.

Fave picture
This painting is called Carnavale Venezia  and it was painted by Jane Whiting Chrzanoska, born in Germantown, Philadelphia in 1948. I first saw this print in the window of a mall when I was 22. I bought it and I've had it now--not telling how long I already feel old--forever. My husband is not a fan of the bird mask on the woman, it freaks him out, but something about it has always appealed to me. I used to be afraid of heights so perhaps that she's up high, sitting alone in the dark is something I admire. It's also Venice, somewhere I'm dying to go, and at the time I'd just finished Cry To Heaven by Anne Rice which was set there. All those things, I'm sure, conspired to get me to buy the print but it's like a living history in my house of who I was and who I still am.

http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Rock-Vol-Kazusa-Takashima/dp/1598161016/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1454878375&sr=1-1&keywords=Wild+Rock
Fave Yaoi
My favorite manga has got to be Wild Rock by Kazusa Takashima. I've read it a gazillion times and I love the story, even the sad one after the main one, and the artwork and the fact that everyone in it, men and women, are beautiful beyond words. Also, a lot of Yaoi has non-con in it and this one does not at all. I also love Love Control (Volumes 1 &2) by Ai Hasukawa which also has no non-con in it but that one is modern and this one, Wild Rock, is set in prehistoric times. It's oodles of fun and again, the art is stunning. I love how romantic it is and everything gets addressed with nothing left up to chance. A lot of Yaoi ends funny or cutesy and you're supposed to assume the HEA. With this one, there's no guessing, it's there all spelled out. It's why I love it so.

Okay, that's it, everyone have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you next Sunday. :)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

More of my favorite things

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-bemyboy-600071-145.html
Fave Freebie
It's Sunday again, hope you all had a fabulous week, and today is the day I share more of my favorite things. And it's everything I can think of so I apologize in advance if there's no rhyme or reason to it.

Okay so back in 2011 Casey Cox wrote one of my favorite stories about an older "boy" and his younger master. It's called Be My Boy and it's free, still, on ARE, and if you get a chance you should give it a read. I've re-read it more than once and always pick up something I missed from this nugget.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6663
Fave new read
 So I along with everyone else has fallen under the spell of The Lightning-Struck Heart. It's funny and romantic and sweet and there's a great moral and seriously, if you haven't read it, you're missing out. Go scoop it up now. You can never go wrong with TJ Klune, but this one is special.

http://www.cbs.com/shows/hawaii_five_0/
Fave guilty pleasure

One of my favorite things in the world is Hawaii Five-0. And no, I don't watch it for the plots because some of them, especially having been raised in Hawai'i, are the epitome of implausible. But if you can get over the plot-holes that you can drive logging trucks through, you will begin to enjoy the awesome chemistry between Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan. You have to start with season one and eat food that's terrible for you as you watch. There's also a drinking game that goes along with it. :)

http://www.amazon.com/Pride-Prejudice-Keira-Knightley/dp/B000E1ZBGS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1454280970&sr=8-3&keywords=pride+and+prejudice
Fave Movie for Vegging

If I am having the worst day imaginable, I turn to Pride & Prejudice, the movie with Kiera Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen to make everything better. I have never not sighed, deeply, at the end. It's my happy place and I own it on DVD (for when I travel) and on Amazon so I can access it at home whenever I want. It should be in one of those boxes, in case of emergency, break glass.

Fave thing to browse

Not gonna lie, I'm totally addicted to Joss & Main and all the sister sites. I went to Arhaus, another place I totally love, (but hello, can you say out of my budget, I think you can), but I found similar things at Joss & Main that are doable. It's a lot of fun to browse too. It's like ETSY. I am ADDICTED to ETSY, got all my Christmas presents there this past year. And every time I get the Sundance catalog, I find stuff I like and then go look it up on ETSY. I use the key-words and find things I love. We all need some retail-therapy once in a while.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/elliewoodward/times-tom-hardy-was-goddamn-human-perfection-in-2015?bffbmain&utm_term=.hkEwQdNV4#.nyeoy8DPd
Fave actor

And finally, Tom Hardy. He's one of my favorite things because well, he's both pretty and smart, he loves dogs, he's crazy talented and I modeled one of my favorite characters after him and he's just epic. I love reading whatever lists they do on Buzzfeed with him too.

That's it, see you all next time, have a great week. Remember let's be careful out there.