ANNOUNCEMENT
After a lot of thought, I've decided to take a break from blogging for the foreseeable future. With my little C creeping its way back into my life and possible long term treatment now, I need to take a couple of things off my plate for the time being, and the blog is going to be one of those things. As it is, it felt like it was becoming more of a chore than anything else. I need my reading time to be more enjoyable right now, more of the escape that I really need, and what I don't need is the little voice in the back of my head telling me how many reviews I'm behind and trying to come up with what I need to say about the book.

I simply want to read.

I'll more than likely occasionally post on here what I've been reading, and if there is something that really blows my mind, I'll probably have more to say about it and may write up a proper post, but for right now, things are going to be very quiet around here.

As always, happy reading!
2017 edit
I will continue to blog according to my health and ability, and connecting my posts thru Goodreads, so please be patient if things get quiet around here again this year.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 2015 Monthly Recap


Books Read
  1. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell
  2. Encounter in April by May Sarton
  3. Doctor Who: How to be a Time Lord Official Guide
  4. The Single Hound by May Sarton
  5. Inner Landscape by May Sarton
  6. Marvel 100th Anniversary by Jen Van Meter, Sean Ryan, Robin Furth, and James Stokoe, illustrated by In-Hyuk Lee, Jason Masters, Gustavo Duarte, and James Stokoe
  7. Death of Wolverine by Charles Soule, illustrated by Steve McNiven
  8. The Lion and the Rose by May Sarton
  9. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
  10. Avengers: Time Runs Out, Vol 1 by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Jim Cheung, Stefano Caselli, Mike Deodato Jr., Valerio Schiti, Kev Walker, Nick Bradshaw, Paco Medina, & Dustin Weaver

1388 pages total

Favorite Book of the Month
    The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Gender of author
5 male
5 female

Year of Publication
1937 - 1
1938 - 1
1939 - 1
1948 - 1
2014 - 4
2015 - 2

Books Acquired
37 Total
9 - books purchased from bookoutlet.com
17 - books purchased from Amazon - most for the author event at ConFusion 2015
2 - used books purchased thru Amazon
6 - books received for free at ConFusion 2015
2 - used books purchased at local Indie
1 - books purchased at author signing at local Indie

2015 Year to Date Totals
Books Read: 10
Pages Read: 1388
Books Acquired: 37
Books Acquired Read: 4

Friday, January 30, 2015

Avengers: Time Runs Out, Vol 1 by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Jim Cheung, Stefano Caselli, Mike Deodato Jr., Valerio Schiti, Kev Walker, Nick Bradshaw, Paco Medina, & Dustin Weaver

 photo 078519341301_SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zps7e902726.jpgAvengers: Time Runs Out, Vol 1
by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Jim Cheung, Stefano Caselli, Mike Deodato Jr., Valerio Schiti, Kev Walker, Nick Bradshaw, Paco Medina, & Dustin Weaver
Published by Marvel, January 27, 2015
144 Pages • ISBN 978-0785193418 • Hardcover

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Book description:
TIME RUNS OUT! For Earth's Mightiest Heroes and the Illuminati, it has all been building to this. Following the startling events of Original Sin and the revelations as to what the Illuminati have been up to all this time, this cataclysmic saga jumps forward to the day of the Final Incursion. See what awaits our heroes in the future as the table is set for the astonishing climax of Jonathan Hickman's acclaimed runs on Avengers and New Avengers.

COLLECTING: Avengers 35-37, New Avengers 24-25


So, this is where everything has been leading over the last couple of years in the two main Avengers titles. Jumping 8 months into the future to the day of the final incursion (I think? - there seems to be a lot going on in just that one last day...), the Avengers are scrambling to try to come up with a solution to the problem at hand with the multiple Earths destroying each other. Personally, I felt like this portion of the story jumped around way too much, but that may because both titles (Avengers and New Avengers) feel like maybe they'll be converging soon. Part of the problem is that there are plot points finally being drawn to a close that have been drawn out for 3 years over the two titles. Luckily, I just recently read thru all of these issues, so I'm a little more familiar with what's been going on, but I'm sure anybody falling into this story now would be completely lost. Of course, this is also all leading to the Secret Wars story running this summer thru all of the Marvel Universe, so it's probably important to know what's going on here if you want to know what's going to be going on later.

I did really enjoy this. It's exciting seeing where all of these stories have been going, finally. I only wish that these stories weren't so Avengers/Illuminati/Cabal-centric. Something this big should be affecting all of the other Marvel titles now, instead of waiting to see how they affect the titles after the final incursion leading into Secret Wars. Alas, until the Marvel Cinematic Universe crashes, the Avengers titles are going to be where all the action takes place in the Marvel Comics Universe for quite some time I'm afraid. (Part of me misses the days when the X-Men were the focal point for almost all of the big crossover events happening in the Marvel Universe.)

If you've been following along with the Avengers titles and are curious as to how these plot threads are coming to a close, this volume is definitely for you. If you're just now deciding to jump in because of the upcoming Secret Wars event, I'd recommend starting back a couple years' worth of reading with both the current run of Avengers and New Avengers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison


 photo 076532699X01_SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zpsf2fa41f0.jpgThe Goblin Emperor
by Katherine Addison
Published by Tor Books, April 1, 2014
448 Pages • ISBN 978-0765326997 • Hardcover

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Book description:
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the na├»ve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend... and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.

Katherine Addison's
The Goblin Emperor is an exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.


The best review I could write for The Goblin Emperor is simply go and read it. I could go on and on ad nauseam about how much I love this book, but I don't think there is enough room in this post for that.

The book grabbed me from the very start, as we meet Maia at the moment he discovers that his father, the emperor, and three older brothers have just died in an accident, which makes him now the emperor of the elflands. The only problem is, he's been in exile for ten years as he is a hobgoblin, half elf and and half goblin (his father didn't want him in court), and as such he has had no training in even the most basic of court etiquette, let alone what it takes to be emperor. What follows is a story permeated with court intrigue as Maia learns very quickly how to navigate the courtiers surrounding him as well as a mystery, as the accident that killed his father and brothers may not have been an accident after all.

I had to read in small chunks; I didn't want to rush through the book too quickly. The story infiltrated my dreams, which doesn't always happen with books anymore, and I know it will stay with me for a long time to come. Maia is such a captivating character, as he quickly comes to terms with his place in life. If there was anything I found "wrong" with the book is I felt that maybe Maia picked up on how to navigate the court system and its customs maybe just a tad too quickly. For having never been to court or been schooled on court etiquette, he did seem to have a knack for what was needed of him in his role of emperor. If you can call that a drawback, that's the only one I can think of. Addison has created such a rich and believable world, which actually required very little world building in the beginning as the whole point of the story is discovering the world with Maia. The magic here is very sparse, and there's a little bit of steampunk dropped in for good measure.

Again, just go read it. It's such a marvelous story and I'm anxious to see what magical lands Addison will take us to next.

Happy reading!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sarton Sunday 25 I 2015 - The Lion and the Rose by May Sarton

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The Lion and the Rose
by May Sarton
Published by Rinehart & Company, 1948
104 Pages • Hardcover

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THE WORK OF HAPPINESS

I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.

So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone:
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room;
A shelf of books, a table, and the white-washed wall—
These are the dear familiar gods of home,
And here the work of faith can best be done,
The growing tree is green and musical.

For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life's span in a single place,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness.
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.

I have nothing profound to say about Sarton's third book of poetry. A good decade has progressed since her first book of poetry, so there is obvious growth in her writing. The poems are becoming, at least in my opinion, more what she was to become known for in her later years.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Death of Wolverine by Charles Soule, illustrated by Steve McNiven

 photo 078519351001_SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zps8814669d.jpgDeath of Wolverine
by Charles Soule, illustrated by Steve McNiven
Published by Marvel, January 20, 2015
144 Pages • ISBN 978-0785193517 • Hardcover

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Book description:
All roads must end somewhere, and every hero's story eventually comes to a close. For Logan, the century-old mutant known as Wolverine, that time is now. The loss of his healing factor and the traumatic events of "Three Months To Die" have all led to this, the single most important X-Men event of the decade. Over the years, Logan has been a warrior, a hero, a renegade, a savage, a samurai, a teacher - and so much more. Logan has spent decades being the best there is at what he does...but even the best fade away eventually. And now, the greatest X-Men hero will play a role he's never played before in this solemn special event brought to you by industry superstars Charles Soule and Steve McNiven.

COLLECTING: Death of Wolverine 1-4


Not really sure what the big deal over this was. The story is ultimately a big meh. The only saving grace for the book is McNiven's art, and even that didn't seem to be up to his usual standards. To be honest, I wanted this book to be great. Wolverine is one of the most overused characters Marvel has, and I truly expected something way better for his death than what this series offered.

And to be fair, part of me expected there to be a "non-death" at the end of this story. You can't just kill off a character who appears in roughly half your books, right Marvel? See you after Secret Wars, Wolverine.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marvel 100th Anniversary by Jen Van Meter, Sean Ryan, Robin Furth, and James Stokoe, illustrated by In-Hyuk Lee, Jason Masters, Gustavo Duarte, and James Stokoe

 photo 078515413201_SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zps1bbad1b0.jpgMarvel 100th Anniversary
by Jen Van Meter, Sean Ryan, Robin Furth, and James Stokoe, illustrated by In-Hyuk Lee, Jason Masters, Gustavo Duarte, and James Stokoe
Published by Marvel, November 4, 2014
112 Pages • ISBN 978-0785154136 • Paperback

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Book description:
A remarkable artifact from the future of Marvel Comics! What happens when Marvel's favorite heroes hit the centennial mark? It's 2061, and the world of the Fantastic Four has turned upside-down, complete with the granddaughter of Doom... and the Richards-Banner twins! It's 100 years after Spider-Man's creation, and the Kingpin has stolen Spidey's ultra-powerful techno-symbiote suit! Have the X-Men of 2061 achieved Xavier's dream of mutants and humans living in harmony? How will the Avengers of 2061 cope following the failed Badoon invasion of Earth... and America's disappearance into the Negative Zone? And just in time for the release of their seventh epic motion picture, the Guardians of the Galaxy take on the Silver Galactus!


I don't even know what to say about this other than it's bad. If this is where the Marvel Universe stories are heading in 25 years, I'll be passing. Maybe if there was some sort of overall arc told throughout the five titles it would have been a little better, but we're basically dropped into the middle of "existing" story arcs, and not a single one of them read as something that I wish I could read the entire arc over.

Unless you are a really hardcore Marvel reader, I'd say that this could be easily ignored.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

In Search of Lost Dragons by Elian Black’Mor, Carine-M, and Jezequel Book Trailer


I just discovered this trailer, and I just had to share it. Isn't it fantastic?!

Here's the book description:
On the trail of dragons forgotten, an intrepid illustrator and reporter journeys from Europe through the Middle East and finally to Saigon in search of the dark caverns and mountaintop perches where the elusive winged serpents dwell. With the gift of seeing the invisible, our explorer friend records each encounter in a journal of gorgeous, fully painted artwork, capturing every majestic and fearsome visual detail of the scaly behemoths, and accompanies his findings with snippets of local lore as evidence that these hidden beasts continue to shape the world in ways we may never expect!

Yeah, I'll be picking this up sooner than later.

Happy reading!

Monday, January 19, 2015

ConFusion 2015 - Back to the ConFusion (or in my case, First Time to the ConFusion)

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Some friends and I went to ConFusion 2015 this past weekend and got to hang out with a great group of authors, including Karen Lord (Guest of Honor), Cherie Priest, Mary Robinette Kowal, John Scalzi, Myke Cole, Jim Hines, Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Ted Chiang, Kameron Hurley, Robert Jackson Bennett, and Ron Collins, just to name a few. I attended several panels on various aspects of SFF and there was also a signing event, and all the books in the pic above are signed! It was a really great time, and I plan on attending future events.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sarton Sunday 18 I 2015 - Inner Landscape by May Sarton

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Photobucket
Inner Landscape
by May Sarton
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1939
94 Pages • Hardcover

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ADDRESS TO THE HEART

You cannot go back now to that innocence—
the pure pain that enters like a sword
making the bright blood flow
and the slow perfect healing, leaving you whole.
This is a deeper illness,
a poison that has entered every tissue:
Cut off your hand, you will not find it there.
This must be met and conquered in each separate atom,
must be lived out like a slow fever.
No part is mortally afflicted.
Each part will have its convalescence surely,
and yet you will arise from this infection
changed,
as one returns from death.

Sarton's second book of poetry seems to suggest her later need of solitude and the sanctuary that can bring for some people. The poems are still strong, though, but they speak to me of a need to center in on one's self and find the peace you are seeking in life there.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Taking a short break from #audiobooks

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I'm taking a short break from audiobooks for a while. I need some time away from Westeros, I think, so I'm going to be catching up on one of my favorite podcasts, Welcome to Night Vale. If you've never listened to Night Vale and you like something just a little bit on the odd side, then this podcast is for you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jim Hines promotes his new book, Unbound


I totally stole this picture from my friend, Whitney Spotts, the events coordinator for Schuler Books.

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Jim Hines stopped by Schuler Books earlier this evening to promote the release of the new book in his Magic ex Libris series, Unbound.



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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sarton Sunday 11 I 2015 - The Single Hound by May Sarton

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 photo 039330785901_SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zpse6bfeb9a.jpgThe Single Hound
by May Sarton
Published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1938 (reprint 1991)
256 Pages • ISBN 978-0393307856 • Paperback

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Book description:
“Only a poet and, perhaps, only a young poet could have written this beautiful and distinguished first novel.” —New York Times

This is the story of two poets, one an elderly Belgian woman known to the world as Jean Latour, the other a young Englishman. When Mark Taylor finds his life and art broken up by his love for an older, married woman, he turns for help to the poems of Jean Latour and finds the help he craves in the poet herself. In this early work we see the first flowering of May Sarton’s special ability to depict sensitive people who find they must travel new pathways if they are to discover their true selves.

This first novel, published in 1938, shows the importance that poetry plays in the life and writing of a young Sarton; the story is brimming with poetic imagery and turns of phrase.

The story centers around the friendship of three elderly teachers, the "Little Owls": Doro, the teacher and poet; Annette, who likes to be in charge; and finally Claire, the beauty. In one phrase that describes the characters interactions within their combined lives perfectly, Sarton writes, "the truth is that they had adapted themselves to each other so completely that when one was absent it was just like a trio without a violin. Nothing quite came off." The story also revolves the meeting of two poets, Mark Taylor, and the poet he turns to for help when his life starts to unravel, Jean Latour.

Largely autobiographical, Sarton describes her own writing habits through the writing habits of Doro. I'm sure that each of the "Little Owls" is in some way inspired by Sarton herself. The writing can become very dense at times, and a little flowery in the use of poetical phrases, but it is her first novel, and such techniques diminish as she becomes more sure of herself as a novelist in her later years. You can definitely see the spark here that will grow as she develops as a writer.

Friday, January 9, 2015

What I'm listening to now #audiobook




EDIT 1-14-2015
So, I had to give up on this, not because the book is bad or because Bill Nye is a bad narrator (because the book is great and Bill Nye narrates his own book brilliantly), but because there are too many details, dates, explanations, people, etc. in the book for me to follow as an audio. I'll be picking up a physical copy of the book to read later, as I'm pretty sure I'll be able to retain quite a bit more of the information better that way.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Doctor Who: How to be a Time Lord Official Guide

 photo 072329436401_SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zps48e2b667.jpgDoctor Who: How to be a Time Lord Official Guide
Published by Penguin Group UK, January 6, 2015
176 Pages • ISBN 978-0723294368 • Hardcover

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Book description:
This is the definitive guide on how to be a Time Lord written by the ancient Time Lords but hilariously improved/sabotaged by the Eleventh Doctor as a gift for his successor, the Twelfth Doctor. Throughout the factual Time Lord sections, the Doctor has crossed things out, added funny scribbles, silly doodles and post-it notes. The central section has been ripped out by an impatient Doctor and replaced with far more important/interesting stuff such as how to correctly wear a fez or dip a fish finger into custard, and other crucial things about how to be a time-traveling hero just like him.


What starts off as a "serious" guide to what it takes to be a Time Lord slowly turns into Eleven's own personal guide for Twelve on what it takes for him to be the Doctor. Filled with pages of Eleven's own thoughts, notes, and doodles on everything that he thinks Twelve will need to know to be the Doctor, we're given a little insight into how Eleven looks at his life. I thought it was a nice touch that the previous incarnations of the Doctor are discussed, as well as all of his companions going right back to Susan. A really great addition to any Whovians library.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sarton Sunday 4 I 2015 - Encounter in April by May Sarton

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PhotobucketEncounter in April
by May Sarton
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1937
85 Pages • Hardcover

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REQUEST

Silence
is infinitely more precious to me
than any word.
For silence reveals
and words envelop
in a pattern difficult to flavor
with eternity.
Silence alone
lets one understand,
therefore be still
though beautiful is the language
that you speak.

Truth be told, I always have a hard time reviewing poetry. Poetry can be so ethereal; each reading can give me something different to think about, so I never know quite what to write.

With Encounter in April, both May Sarton's first book of poetry and her first published work, you can clearly see the beginnings of the life-long poet that she would become; the works are structured and clean, but don't quite have the polished emotion and raw confidence of her later poetry. These aren't poems to be taken lightly, however, as they are still powerful in their own right.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

 photo 140885964501_SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zpsd56efcc8.jpgThe Sleeper and the Spindle
by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens, October 23, 2014
72 Pages • ISBN 978-1408859643 • Hardcover

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Book description:
A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell - weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future - and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

Lavishly produced, packed with glorious Chris Riddell illustrations enhanced with metallic ink, this is a spectacular and magical gift.

Who doesn't love a new, delicious Neil Gaiman fairy tale retelling? Add to that story new and equally delicious Chris Riddell illustrations and you have the recipe for an almost instant classic, and neither disappoint in this fairy tale remix. Leave it to Gaiman to take one fairy tale that we're familiar with (in this case, a Snow White a few steps away from any version we've seen before) and mix it with another (a Sleeping Beauty we only think we know), to come up with something that we couldn't have seen coming.

On the eve of her wedding, a trio of dwarfs tell their young queen tales they've heard in their travels of an enchanted princess who has slept for seventy or more years in a neighboring kingdom. What alarms the dwarfs is that the sleeping enchantment seems to be growing, reaching farther and farther out from the enchanted kingdom each day. Taking it upon herself to rescue not only her kingdom from the potential sleeping enchantment but to also free the young princess herself, the queen postpones her wedding, dons her armor and sword, and sets forth with her dwarfs in search of the sleeping princess.

While we the reader think we know where the story is going, Gaiman takes our hand and leads us down an entirely different road, creating such a magical twist in the story that he creates his own unique and powerful fairy tale. Riddell's illustrations are fantastic, accenting the story perfectly, while being perfectly accented in golden metallic ink. In fact, this is probably one of the more beautifully presented volumes that I've picked up in some time, from the velum, transparent cover right down to the font choice. Clearly, there was significant effort put into giving Gaiman's story and Riddell's art the appropriate packaging.

While not available yet in the US, I'd recommend picking up this volume if you're a fan of Gaiman, Riddell, fairy tales, or any combination of the above. Quite frankly, I don't know that any US edition will match the beauty of this UK edition. I know that generally Riddell's illustrations only accompany Gaiman's UK editions, and while I'm sure the US illustrator would do just as admirable a job (I would imagine Skottie Young, as has been the case lately), I'd hate for anyone to miss out on this particular edition, just in case. Do yourself a favor; it's completely worth the money to track down a copy for yourself.