A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell #bookreview #YA #contemporaryfantasy

When her siblings start to go missing, a girl must confront the dark thing that lives in the forest—and the growing darkness in herself—in this debut YA contemporary fantasy for fans of Wilder Girls.

Derry and her eight siblings live in an isolated house by the lake, separated from the rest of the world by an eerie and menacing forest. Frank, the man who raised them after their families abandoned them, says it’s for their own good. After all, the world isn’t safe for people with magic. And Derry feels safe—most of the time.

Until the night her eldest sister disappears. Jane and Derry swore to each other that they’d never go into the forest, not after their last trip ended in blood, but Derry is sure she saw Jane walk into the trees. When another sibling goes missing and Frank’s true colors start to show, feeling safe is no longer an option. Derry will risk anything to protect the family she has left. Even if that means returning to the forest that has started calling to Derry in her missing siblings’ voices.

As Derry spends more time amidst the trees, her magic grows more powerful . . . and so does the darkness inside her, the viciousness she wants to pretend doesn’t exist. But saving her siblings from the forest and from Frank might mean embracing the darkness. And that just might be the most dangerous thing of all. 

A dark thing living in a forest, siblings going missing, magic – who wouldn’t want to know about the nefarious goings on in those trees?

Derry and her siblings have lived in a secluded house with their guardian, Frank, since their parents abandoned them due to difficulties with their magic. They don’t share the same parents (except for two sets of twins), but have been raised together and formed very close bonds as a result of their circumstances. Although most of the siblings fear Frank a little and dislike him, he takes care of them and offers protection from the nearby townfolk (they call the siblings witches), but they never leave the grounds and have no connection with the outside world. Each of the siblings possess different types of magic, and Frank teaches them not only how to enhance their abilities, but also how to control them.

The author provides a wonderfully diverse and inclusive cast with representation of different sexualities, body types, and races. The relationships between these siblings are one of my favorite aspects of the novel – they’re ride or die for each other – although I have to admit the introduction of so many characters in the first few pages is a little overwhelming. Even so, you’ll settle in and find it easy to empathize with them. Something seems off with Frank and his methods, and you can’t help but root for them to find a better living situation.

Although the end is a whirlwind of action, pacing was a little uneven for me in the middle. Derry is forced to make some difficult choices and cross into morally gray areas, but it all seems justified and I had no trouble going along with her decisions. Once the whirlwind is over, I appreciated that the author gives the reader a glimpse of what’s in store for these characters in the future.

This standalone novel offers an exceptionally inclusive cast of characters and provides a nice blend of mystery, a touch of horror, and magic for an enjoyable read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune #bookreview #fantasy #contemporary #TuesdayBookBlog

Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with.

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

After reading The House in the Cerulean Sea, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this author’s newest release. Ecstatic doesn’t begin to describe how I felt when I received an ARC from NetGalley.

Once again, this author has left me awestruck. It’s hard to convey how much I loved this book and the feelings it evoked in me, but I’ll give it a shot.

Wallace is not a nice person. At all. He’s a workaholic who cares very little for the employees at his law office. After he dies of a sudden heart attack in his 40s, all he leaves behind is a failed marriage and his firm – no family or friends, not even a pet. At his sparsely-attended funeral not one person has a kind word to say about him. There, he meets a feisty reaper who escorts him to a peculiar tea shop to meet the ferryman. The tea shop is a kind of layover for the recently deceased until they’re ready to move on. Here, Wallace experiences the five stages of grief – anger is a big one for him – and eventually has some earth-shattering moments of self-realization. He may have been alive, but he never really lived.

Besides the ferryman and reaper, there are a couple other characters at the tea house, and I fell in love with all of them. They felt like family by the end of the story. As with The House in the Cerulean Sea, humor is still prevalent along with plenty of heartfelt moments. I’m not a person who cries easily over books or movies, but I’m batting a thousand with Klune.

This novel is about love, grief, friendship, family, a wide variety of teas, and truly living. It’s also about death and what might come after, but it’s dealt with in a light-hearted, thought-provoking, moving, and beautiful way. As with The House in the Cerulean Sea, it’s a book I’ll recommend to everyone I know, reader or not.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Battle of the Bands – an #Anthology of YA Authors #bookreview #music #contemporary #TuesdayBookBlog

Fifteen young adult authors and one real-life rock star band together for one epic—and interconnected—take on a memorable high school rite of passage.

A daughter of rock ’n’ roll royalty has a secret crush. A lonely ticket taker worries about his sister. An almost-famous songwriter nurses old wounds. A stage manager tires of being behind the scenes. A singer-songwriter struggles to untangle her feelings for her best friend and his girlfriend. In this live-out-loud anthology, the disparate protagonists of sixteen stories are thrown together for one unforgettable event: their high school’s battle of the bands. Told in a harmonic blend of first- and third-person narrative voices, roughly chronological short stories offer a kaleidoscopic view of the same transformative night. Featuring an entry from Justin Courtney Pierre, lead vocalist of Motion City Soundtrack, Battle of the Bands is a celebration of youth, music, and meeting the challenges of life head-on. 

As a devoted music fan and someone who was briefly in a band in high school, there’s no way I could pass up requesting Battle of the Bands. It’s been on my radar for quite a while.

This book was so much fun. If there had been a Battle of the Bands when I was in high school, you can bet I would have been there. Fifteen amazing YA authors contributed to this anthology, but the overall feeling is one cohesive story. Some characters make brief appearances or are casually mentioned in other stories. I can’t imagine the level of coordination and organization that went into this. At the beginning of the book is a list of the participating bands and their members – something that was very helpful. Some of the creative and unusual band names and their songs sure put a smile on my face.

Most of the narratives are about finding love, but stories of revenge, self-realization, sibling disputes, finding your people, and a heartwarming coming out are also included. The character diversity is outstanding, and one of my favorite aspects of this anthology. Being high school students, a lot is going on with these teens, and not every disagreement or doubt is left behind once they take the stage. You can feel the vibe of excitement over the event from every musician and the enthusiastic audience and the determination of each band to win. I had my favorites and couldn’t wait to see who took the prize at the end. Not every story is about the musicians. Some feature the students who work behind the scenes at merch tables, on tech/lighting crews, and the stage manager. Even being short stories, it was so easy to get invested in these characters and their lives.

As with all anthologies, readers will enjoy some selections more than others, but this is a pretty quick read. I had a difficult time putting it down after finishing a story, and I’m thrilled someone finally put together a book like this.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland #bookreview #YA #contemporary #romanticcomedy #TuesdayBookBlog

Jenny Han meets The Bachelorette in this effervescent romantic comedy about a teen Korean American adoptee who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a competition for her heart, as orchestrated by her overbearing, loving family.

Jasmine Yap’s life is great. Well, it’s okay. She’s about to move in with her long-time boyfriend, Paul, before starting a nursing program at community college—all of which she mostly wants. But her stable world is turned upside down when she catches Paul cheating. To her giant, overprotective family, Paul’s loss is their golden ticket to showing Jasmine that she deserves much more. The only problem is, Jasmine refuses to meet anyone new.

But…what if the family set up a situation where she wouldn’t have to know? A secret Jasmine Project.

The plan is simple: use Jasmine’s graduation party as an opportunity for her to meet the most eligible teen bachelors in Orlando. There’s no pressure for Jasmine to choose anyone, of course, but the family hopes their meticulously curated choices will show Jasmine how she should be treated. And maybe one will win her heart.

But with the family fighting for their favorites, bachelors going rogue, and Paul wanting her back, the Jasmine Project may not end in love but total, heartbreaking disaster. 

Yes, you’re at the right blog. I read a romantic comedy. If you regularly read my reviews, you know this isn’t a typical genre for me. For whatever reason, when the publisher sent me a widget I decided to play outside my usual sandbox and give it a try. After finishing this delightful book, I would have kicked myself if I’d passed it up.

Recent high school graduate Jasmine has dated Paul the pig (my name for him – trust me, it’s well-deserved) for the past four years – they even have plans to move in together when college starts. While the early years might have been happier, Paul now points out skinny burritos on the menu at a restaurant they frequent (and she’s never enjoyed) and suggests she order diet sodas. And now you agree with my nickname for him. After a hurtful incident occured in middle school, Jasmine’s self-esteem plummeted so far that she considers herself lucky to have her pig boyfriend and plans to pursue a career in a profession that’s considered more stable instead of her dream of becoming a chef. Stability and safety have become her mantra.

Enter her ginormous (50+ strong – and that doesn’t count all the cousins), intrusive, well-intentioned family. They reminded me of the family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and I adored them all. They want Jasmine to learn her worth, to see herself as they do and realize that she deserves so much more. Naturally the way to do that is to screen teen bachelors until they come up with three worthy candidates to date her. It’s not difficult to figure out what happens when their well-meaning intentions spiral out of control. At least their hearts are in the right place.

From the first page, I adored Jasmine’s voice and laughed out loud so many times at her internal thoughts. Some chapters are first person in her POV, but several chapters are the text conversations between her family concerning the contest – utterly hilarious. This novel has so many important messages for teens and adults alike – pursuing your dreams, living life instead of watching from the sidelines, valuing yourself, and not conforming to someone else’s expectations just to name a few.

From start to finish, The Jasmine Project is a charming, entertaining read – an outstanding debut by this author. I’d be shocked if someone doesn’t snatch this up for a movie. I’d recommend this to fans of romantic comedies and readers like myself who want to step outside their comfort zone. Easily a crossover.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner #bookreview #YA #comingofage #contemporary

From the award-winning author of The Serpent King comes a beautiful examination of grief, found family, and young love.

Life in a small Appalachian town is not easy. Cash lost his mother to an opioid addiction and his Papaw is dying slowly from emphysema. Dodging drug dealers and watching out for his best friend, Delaney, is second nature. He’s been spending his summer mowing lawns while she works at Dairy Queen.

But when Delaney manages to secure both of them full rides to an elite prep school in Connecticut, Cash will have to grapple with his need to protect and love Delaney, and his love for the grandparents who saved him and the town he would have to leave behind.

If you sneaked a peek at my reading genre pie chart, you’d find contemporary is a small slice. But when it’s this writer? I read The Serpent King by this author for book club a few years ago and found it to be mesmerizing, profound, and bittersweet. This book is no different.

In the Wild Light is set in a small eastern Tennessee town and, being familiar with that location, I felt the author nailed it with his descriptions of small town life and its challenges. But also the beauty to found there. After losing his mother to an opioid addiction, Cash is no stranger to tragedy, and his life has been far from easy. With his loving grandparents who took him in, his genius best friend Delaney, lawn business, and his peaceful river, he considers himself a lucky guy. There’s not much of a future for him in Sawyer, but when Delaney snags full rides to an elite prep school for both of them, he’s torn about leaving his ailing grandfather and everything that’s familiar. Wanting a better life for him than they can offer, his family encourages him to take advantage of this generous opportunity.

Cash is the proverbial fish out of water when he arrives at school in Connecticut, but he and Delaney have each other to lean on. It’s not long before he makes some wonderful friends (a big shoutout to scene stealer Alex), joins the crew team to get back on the water, and comes across a teacher who takes him under her wing. With her help, Cash discovers poetry, and she encourages him to put his feelings into words. Poetry isn’t something I know much about, but Cash’s words resonated with me, and I found myself rereading the passages. Something I got a kick out of was the trivia Delaney occasionally dropped – educational, fascinating, and sometimes humorous.

This is a beautifully written, character-driven, coming of age tale that’s meant to be savored. At over 400 pages, I enjoyed every word and was sorry when it came to an end. Be prepared for these characters to rise from the pages, sit beside you, and tell you their stories. I’ve missed a couple of this author’s other titles, but based on the two I’ve read, I can’t recommend him enough.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson #bookreview #YA #contemporary #humor #TuesdayBookBlog

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist in this romp through the city that never sleeps from the New York Times bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone, Morgan Matson.

Two girls. One night. Zero phones.

Kat and Stevie—best friends, theater kids, polar opposites—have snuck away from the suburbs to spend a night in New York City. They have it all planned out. They’ll see a play, eat at the city’s hottest restaurant, and have the best. Night. Ever. What could go wrong?

Well. Kind of a lot?

They’re barely off the train before they’re dealing with destroyed phones, family drama, and unexpected Pomeranians. Over the next few hours, they’ll have to grapple with old flames, terrible theater, and unhelpful cab drivers. But there are also cute boys to kiss, parties to crash, dry cleaning to deliver (don’t ask), and the world’s best museum to explore.

Over the course of a wild night in the city that never sleeps, both Kat and Stevie will get a wake-up call about their friendship, their choices…and finally discover what they really want for their future.

That is, assuming they can make it to Grand Central before the clock strikes midnight. 

I have to admit – it was the Ferris Bueller comp title that cinched the deal on requesting this book from NetGalley. There were no Save Ferris water towers, but this sure was a fun romp.

Kat and Stevie are ride or die besties, but polar opposites in interests, actions, and physical attributes. Despite a planning checklist for their trip into NYC, their adventure goes sideways from the moment they step off the train at Grand Central Station. The evening lands them in some unexpected, chaotic, and humorous situations, and they meet a Pomeranian named Brad who will steal your heart. Kat and Stevie are both very relatable and flawed, and each of them experience their own coming of age moments over the course of the story. Those more serious moments aren’t something I expected going into this book, but I like how they’re life-changing issues and the ways the girls deal with them.

Something I feel could have been left out was Teri’s subplot. After reading Kat’s and Stevie’s chapters, her sections felt like a speed bump that took me out of the story.

Is it likely most of this storyline could happen? No. But if you suspend your disbelief and just go with the flow, you’ll soon find yourself caught up in an unlikely, but whimsical adventure.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris #bookreview #contemporary #supernatural

Dear Martin meets They Both Die at the End in this gripping, evocative novel about a Black teen who has the power to see into the future, whose life turns upside down when he foresees his younger brother’s imminent death, from the acclaimed author of SLAY.

Sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus is trying his best. He tries to be the best employee he can be at the local ice cream shop; the best boyfriend he can be to his amazing girlfriend, Talia; the best protector he can be over his little brother, Isaiah. But as much as Alex tries, he often comes up short.

It’s hard to for him to be present when every time he touches an object or person, Alex sees into its future. When he touches a scoop, he has a vision of him using it to scoop ice cream. When he touches his car, he sees it years from now, totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the precipice of breaking up, and that terrifies him. Alex feels these visions are a curse, distracting him, making him anxious and unable to live an ordinary life.

And when Alex touches a photo that gives him a vision of his brother’s imminent death, everything changes.

With Alex now in a race against time, death, and circumstances, he and Isaiah must grapple with their past, their future, and what it means to be a young Black man in America in the present. 

This is the second book I’ve read by this author, and she can count me as a confirmed fan.

Alex and his younger brother, Isaiah, were orphaned four year ago after the family was involved in a car accident. Since then, they’ve been raised by their aunt. Sixteen-year-old Alex is trying to be all things for everyone he knows – his employer, his girlfriend, his brother, and even his deceased parents. He also suffers from panic attacks. Since the car accident, every time he touches someone or something, he sees the future of that person or object. After seeing Isaiah’s death, he’s determined to repair their relationship and close the distance between them that developed after their parents’ passing.

Much of this book is spent in Alex’s head with his swirling thoughts, fears, and visions. The author does an incredible job at making the reader feel the grief, anxieties, and pressures Alex experiences nearly every minute of every day. It’s far too much for someone his age to have to carry. And then there are the racial issues. The brothers live in a predominantly white, upper class, gated community. Neighbors who claim not to be racists very clearly are, but fail to see it.

This book is heartbreaking in so many ways and will absolutely wreck you. But it’s also a powerful story that includes joyous bonding moments between Alex and Isaiah. The vivid supporting characters seem to rise from the pages. Talia, Alex’s girlfriend, is a delight, and Aunt Mackie is a strong, successful woman who loves her nephews unconditionally. Although I dreaded what was coming, you couldn’t have pried this book from my hands over the last thirty percent. It’s bittersweet, but also hopeful and so very timely and important. I can’t wait to see what this author does next.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

It Came From the Sky by Chelsea Sedoti #bookreview #YA #contemporary #aliens #TuesdayBookBlog

From the author of The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett and As You Wish comes the unforgettable story of the one small town’s biggest hoax and the two brothers who started it all.

This is the absolutely true account of how Lansburg, Pennsylvania was invaded by aliens and the weeks of chaos that followed. There were sightings of UFOs, close encounters, and even abductions. There were believers, Truth Seekers, and, above all, people who looked to the sky and hoped for more.

Only…there were no aliens.

Gideon Hofstadt knows what really happened. When one of his science experiments went wrong, he and his older brother blamed the resulting explosion on extraterrestrial activity. And their lie was not only believed by their town―it was embraced. As the brothers go to increasingly greater lengths to keep up the ruse and avoid getting caught, the hoax flourishes. But Gideon’s obsession with their tale threatened his whole world. Can he find a way to banish the aliens before Lansburg, and his life, are changed forever?

Told in a report format and comprised of interviews, blog posts, text conversations, found documents, and so much more, It Came from the Sky is a hysterical and resonant novel about what it means to be human in the face of the unknown.

I enjoyed every minute of this crazy, bizarre, hilarious book and the brothers who engineered this quirky town’s biggest hoax.

Science genius Gideon and Ishmael, his Hawaiian shirt-wearing brother who prefers to coast through life, are polar opposites in almost every way and go into this hoax with different objectives.  Ishmael is looking to top his record for practical jokes at their high school.  Gideon, with a lifelong goal of working for NASA, visualizes it as a way to distinguish him from thousands of other MIT applicants and ensure his acceptance.  Obviously, everything about this is a bad idea, but watching the story unfold and spiral out of control makes for such a pleasurable read.

In the midst of all this, Gideon is also learning to navigate a relationship with his first boyfriend.  Being science-oriented, he prefers to deal in facts and rules, so personal relationships and the emotions and nuances that come with them are difficult for him to understand.  His character arc is strong, heartfelt, and one of my favorite things about this novel.

As the description indicates, the narrative is broken up by interviews, blog posts, footnotes, etc., and while some readers felt them a distraction, I thought they worked well with the tone of the story.  Some of them also caused me to burst out laughing.

Along with the hijinx, supposed alien abductions, a giant lava lamp, and a runaway cow named Muffin are incredibly supportive friendships, strong family bonds, and powerful life lessons on acceptance and self-worth.  If you’re looking for a light-hearted, entertaining read, grab a copy of It Came From the Sky.  This book is scheduled for publication August 1st, 2020.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Prelude for Lost Souls by Helene Dunbar #bookreview #YA #paranormal

In the town of St. Hilaire, most make their living by talking to the dead. In the summer, the town gates open to tourists seeking answers while all activity is controlled by The Guild, a sinister ruling body that sees everything.

Dec Hampton has lived there his entire life, but ever since his parents died, he’s been done with it. He knows he has to leave before anyone has a chance to stop him.

His best friend Russ won’t be surprised when Dec leaves—but he will be heartbroken. Russ is a good medium, maybe even a great one. He’s made sacrifices for his gift and will do whatever he can to gain entry to The Guild, even embracing dark forces and contacting the most elusive ghost in town.

But when the train of Annie Krylova, the piano prodigy whose music has been Dec’s main source of solace, breaks down outside of town, it sets off an unexpected chain of events. And in St. Hilaire, there are no such things as coincidences.

Honestly, after I read the first line about most people in St. Hilaire making their living by talking to the dead, I didn’t need to read any further.  Attention secured.

One of my favorite things about this book is the friendship between Dec and Russ.  Both have suffered tragic losses in their lives, but know they can count on each other no matter what.  Everyone needs a friendship like that in their life, although at some points it seems as if the balance shifts with Dec taking more than he gives.  Each is at a crossroads where the decisions they make will significantly impact not only their lives, but also their loved ones – especially Dec.  Russ is struggling with some personal demons (not literal ones – but he does struggle with literal ghosts) that may prevent him from achieving his goals.

While Dec and Russ had to maneuver through hurdles and obstacles, Anna didn’t seem to have as much agency.  She shares POVs with Dec and Russ, but primarily exists to support other story lines.  I’d love to see her play a bigger role in the second book.

Something I never had a firm grasp on was The Guild.  Their presence looms like a dark cloud over the story, and they control many activities of citizens in the town, but exactly how they obtained that power and how they used the money brought in from tourists and other sources was never clear to me.

I’d describe this book as a quiet paranormal that reads like a contemporary.  It may lack heartstopping reveals or shocking twists, but the story takes you by the hand and leads you on a pleasant supernatural journey.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales #bookreview #YA #LGBT #TuesdayBookBlog

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets CLUELESS in this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease

Summer love…gone so fast.

Ollie and Will were meant to be a summer fling—casual, fun, and done. But when Ollie’s aunt’s health takes a turn for the worse and his family decides to stay in North Carolina to take care of her, Ollie lets himself hope this fling can grow to something more. Dreams that are crushed when he sees Will at a school party and finds that the sweet and affectionate (and comfortably queer) guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High.

Will is more than a little shocked to see Ollie the evening of that first day of school. While his summer was spent being very much himself, back at school he’s simply known as one of the varsity basketball guys. Now Will is faced with the biggest challenge of his life: follow his heart and risk his friendships, or stay firmly in the closet and lose what he loves most.

Being a fan of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I couldn’t pass on requesting this novel.  I can see how it’s very loosely based on Grease in that there was a summer romance, but things are different in the fall after they meet again at school.  No matter – it was a sweet, melancholy read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Ollie is a perfect narrator, and I loved his voice from the first page.  Equal parts awkward, adorable, funny, loyal, and just plain entertaining.  He makes an astute observation about Ronald McDonald that made me glad I wasn’t drinking anything – totally would have snorted it out.  Was he obsessed with Will?  Yeah, kind of.  Did he let that obsession rule his life?  Mostly, no.  Ollie also spends his time working on his music, hanging out with friends, and helping take care of his young cousins while their mother battles cancer.  His genuine and delightful scenes with the kids are among my favorites, and Ollie has the patience of a saint.  His parents and aunt and uncle aren’t strong presences in the story, but you definitely get the sense family is very important to them.

Heavy topics are dealt with – cancer of a family member, homophobia, fat shaming, biphobia – which I felt were handled well.  More differentiation between some of the  supporting characters would have helped – I kept getting a few of them mixed up – but it really didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.

If you’re a Simon fan, I definitely recommend adding this book to your list.  A fun way to spend an afternoon.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.