Tag Archives: Romance

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

 Ensnared
by Rita Stradling

Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.

Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.

Rated: ★★★
Publisher: Kindle Press
Publication: May 23, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Sci-fi, Romance
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Even though I’ve been burned in the past by fairytale retellings, I had to give Ensnared by Rita Stradling a chance. I mean, look at that cover! Though now there are two covers, the delightful one I used for this post, but also a sleek blue one, both are fitting and intriguing. Beauty and the Beast with a twist and in the future. That’s what it was marketed as, and that’s what I got. Straight, simple, to the point.

Set in a future full of advanced AI, Alainn is forced to go undercover as a robot ordered by reclusive millionaire Lorccan to keep her father from prison. Though she doesn’t want to, and it definitely wasn’t her plan, she goes along with it. Things proceed exactly as you think it would considering it’s a retelling. What makes it really stand out is the use of AI. It’s truly unsettling and definitely makes you think twice about giving Siri or Alexa access to everything.

This was well-paced, the romance was soft and easy (there is sex so keep that in mind if you’re picking this up). Characters were developed just enough to make you want to continue the story, and the world building enough to sustain the plot. I’m sure if the book were longer, or made into a series, there would be some serious snags, but as is, Ensnared by Rita Stradling is a truly enjoyable sci-fi rendition of Beauty and the Beast that I thoroughly adored.

High TIde at Harvest Moon by Taryn Blackthorne

High Tide at Harvest Moon by Taryn Blackthorne

 High Tide at Harvest Moon
by Taryn Blackthorne

She’s haunted. He’s lethal. Trust issues, anyone?

Finally, Lexi Coolen has a home. Or so she thinks. Bouncing around for over 10 years, she’s discovered she’s safest on her own. Shaking off the shadow of being a teen amongst werewolves has been tough, but she’s always managed. Until she met Kerr.

Kerr MacDonald messed up. Letting a rival pack’s pet human move into town without permission is bad for business. Fixing things should be easy, except he’s torn. Force her out or claim her as his own?

sbook 1

Rated: ★★½
Publication: March 15, 2016
Genre: Urban Paranormal, Romance, Shifters
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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High Tide at Harvest Moon by Taryn Blackthorne

I’m a sucker for shifters and shifter romance. So when I was approached to review High Tide at Harvest Moon by Taryn Blackthorne, I was excited! Fictional romance between characters that seem to hate each other really is a favorite trope of mine, so to see Lexi fight her attraction to Kerr was fantastic!

The build-up to the inevitable romance was great! You see Kerr trying to do everything right and being so damn dreamy, while Lexi remains prickly. With good reason we find out, but even she can’t keep him out for long. The writing is hot and sexy. The major complaint I had, however, was how jarring the start was. It definitely doesn’t fit in with the rest of the story and immediately throws you off of Kerr, and a bit off of Lexi too.

Once you get past the start of the story, you really begin to feel for everyone involved. For Lexi and all she’s been through, for Kerr and what he’s been through (even though we don’t really know it all because a man with mysteries is always fairly sexy), and for pack policies. High Tide at Harvest Moon by Taryn Blackthorne is definitely a good start to a new werewolf romance series that I definitely want more of!

 

The Devil's Bride by Lucy Gordon

The Devil’s Bride by Lucy Gordon

 The Devil’s Bride
by Lucy Gordon

Can the Devil ever be reformed…?

Calvina Bracewell, an orphaned parson’s daughter, lives a wretched life, taken in by a family who abuse her and use her family connections to their own ends.
But Calvina’s world is changed overnight when she marries a man who is wealthy and incredibly attractive. But is he also the devil?
Lord Rupert Glennister is both admired and feared. His uncanny ability with cards and his notorious success with women seem to hint at mysterious forces helping him.
Known as ‘Devil Glennister’, society has threatened to exclude him unless he can redeem himself by marrying a woman of virtue.
In Calvina Bracewell, the face of moral fortitude and all that is godly, the ‘Devil’ sees the perfect bride to save his reputation, and bring him back into the society which is beginning to exclude him due to his over-indulgences.
But Calvina has another love – the innocent Toby, her first love.
Yet this secret attachment is now made impossible by circumstance, but can Calvina forget Toby in favour of Rupert?
Is this sudden marriage simply one of convenience or will it develop into a match of passion?
With Rupert’s former lovers and exploits confronting her at every turn, how can she contemplate life as a respectable wife?
And more importantly, will Rupert draw Calvina deeper into darkness?
In a discovery of love, passion and jealously, Lucy Gordon brings Calvina into the hearts of her readers in a romance filled with suspense and mystery.
As her life takes a sinister turn, Calvina may have the riches and position of a Lady, but who is it that keeps making repeated attempts on her life?

Rated: ★★★
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Publication: October 11, 2016
Genre: Romance, Historical
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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The Devil’s Bride by Lucy Gordon

I went into The Devil’s Bride by Lucy Gordon expecting something devilish, paranormal. What I got instead was an absolutely lovely and entertaining historical romance that was thoroughly engaging. The characters were fantastic and well defined. Rupert was drool-worthy and Calvina grew from the meek girl at the start to a force to be reckoned with by the end. The pacing is spot-on. Never slow, never fast, just right! We get to grow with the characters and with their relationship, which is great! I haven’t giggled and gushed as much as I did reading this in quite some time. Seeing these lovely beautiful idiots fall in love with one another and then try to deny it, fight it, each thinking the other despises them. It’s fantastic! Finally, throw in a bit of a twist at the end with a small little mystery and attempted murder, The Devil’s Bride by Lucy Gordon is an amazingly entertaining historical romance that hits the spot for a lovely light, delightful read!

 

Rise by Luis Almonte

Rise by Luis Almonte

 Rise
by Luis Almonte

Fifteen-year-old high school sophomore Alexia Wick is an ordinary girl, with extraordinary abilities. She attends the prestigious South Haven Academy for the Gifted and Talented, but unknown to the other students, she is an Alerium witch. The daughter of a High Priest and Priestess, Alexia must learn to navigate the pressures of high school, all while preparing for one of the biggest competitions of her life- the Annual Trials.

Skill, stamina, and loyalty will all be tested in Rise, the first installment of the Trifecta Series. In this debut contemporary fantasy novel, magic gets real as Alexia trains for the Annual Trials, which pits teen against teen, by focusing on her craft and pushing her magic and spell casting abilities to their absolute limit. When the handsome and confident Kaleb moves into town, he offers Alexia a welcome distraction from the Trials, but a dark secret could soon tear them apart.

In the trials arena, friendships will be put to the test, fears will be confronted head-on, and powerful spells will be unleashed. When Alexia is confronted with the ultimate game of chance, and is torn between her first real love and the allegiance that binds her to her coven, will she buckle under the weight of the pressure … or will she rise to the challenge?

Book 1 in the Trifecta series

Rated: ★★
Publisher: Theorem
Publication: August 27, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Paranormal, Witchy, Romance
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Rise by Luis Almonte

OMG WHAT A STORY! So, I was beyond confused at the start, not really caring for prologues that start at the end of the book. I was really worried that I had made a mistake picking up Rise by Luis Almonte. Then, the story switched to what happened before the prologue and just yessss! Read this in one sitting because it was that much fun!

Now, before you pick this up, do be aware that this is very much a young adult book. I don’t just mean it’s a book for young adults, I mean it reads like a book for teenagers, not like the other “young adult” books we might be used to that can sometimes pass for adult fiction (not the erotic kind). It’s cute and intense all at once.

Alexia is daughter to two of the most powerful witches in her coven and approaching her pre-trial, a time where young witches are given the chance to prove their prowess and finesse with the craft before moving onto Trials and then being recognized as an actual apprentice/student with potential. Of course, while this is all going on, she has school going on where her one-time bff no longer seems to be her friend, being from rival covens after all. Yet, there’s still the boy best friend from the rival coven, there for her. Almonte is great at side-stepping the potential one-sided romance here, shutting it down right after its implied to the reader. I loved that because we got the “angst” but without having it drawn out like it is in most YA books.

And the reason it gets shut down? Kaleb, yummm, the fantastic new student that’s also mysterious with his mysterious sister. I love him SO MUCH. Yes, the romance between him and Alexia is seemingly quick and sudden, but I didn’t care because I wanted it so badly. Then, we find out his secret (which I had already predicted woohoo) and it’s even better!

So, why three stars? I think mainly because it was fun, but it wasn’t the pinnacle of YA fiction. While it was fun, some parts were predictable and the writing was okay but not amazing. Still, Rise by Luis Almonte was extremely enjoyable and I would definitely pick up the second book in the series.

About the Author

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Author Luis Almonte is a writer and poet who resides in New York with his spouse, along with CJ, a Boston Bull Terrier, and Ralfy, a Siberian husky. Luis is an avid poker player, and enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Forget Me Not by Angela Parkhurst

Forget Me Not by Angela Parkhurst

Forget Me Not
by Angela Parkhurst

“I’ve never been to a ball or followed the yellow brick road, and I sure as hell never imagined myself living in a world of fairytale characters. Most of which want me dead. So when they come, because they will, I need to be ready.”

“And you think you could kill someone?”

“I know I could.”

When the academy in Nottingham burns down, sending in a new slew of fairytale classmates, Norah Hart comes face to face with new challenges, enemies and friendships. But the longer she is in this world, the more she realizes there is no getting out, leaving her with only one option–be prepared.

Book 2 in the Forgotten Fairytales series

Rated: ★★★½
Publisher: CreativeSpace Publishing
Publication: June 2016
Genre: YA, Fairytale, Retelling, Romance
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Forget Me Not by Angela Parkhurst

WOW! Did this book take me on a roller coaster of emotions or what! Forget Me Not by Angela Parkhurst is absolutely amazing and just continues to build on the amazing world she’s created in the first book, Forgotten Fairytales.

Norah is still reeling from the fall out over the events from the first book. Her sister still hates her, more now than ever. She has ptsd from dealing with Finn, who escaped any form of punishment for trying to kill her last year. To top all of that off, Cinderella’s on trial but likely to be acquitted for drugging Prince Charming and trying to kill her.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Norah now has to deal with failing classes and secrets that creep in between herself and Wolf, while a sexy newcomer arrives crushing on her. What I especially love about Forget Me Not is that, while there are many times it reminds you of just how much a teenager Norah is, Parkhurst never falls into that typical YA one love to rule them all trope, and that is amazing. Yes, Norah is in love with Wolf, but she also learns that she needs to love herself and put herself first.

Definitely want to say more about this (OMG THAT ENDING WHAAAAAAAAAAAT) but it’ll wait until the spoiler vlog this weekend!

This is actually a really great YA series that I wish would get more traction and popularity because the characters are so fantastic and the empowerment in them is great, especially in Forget Me Not by Angela Parkhurst.

 

Cedric the Demonic Knight by Valerie Willis

Cedric the Demonic Knight by Valerie Willis

 Cedric the Demonic Knight
by
 Valerie Willis

Lord Cedric du Romulus may be a powerful knight, but he’s no human nor does he like masquerading as one. He is a mixed blood demon made by Sorceress Morrighan in her quest to create an army of powerful underlings. Seeking out ever-stronger enemies, he devours them for their power; nothing is safe from his fangs whether they are beasts, demons, or magic wielders. When he finds himself staring at Morrighan’s castle, will he be able to follow through with his life’s ambition and leave behind his lover and wife, Lady Angeline who herself is an heir to a legacy of unknown magic.

Book 1 of the Cedric Series

Rated: ★★★
Publisher: Battle Goddess Productions
Publication: February 9, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Cedric the Demonic Knight by Valerie Willis

The Morrigan, demons, magic, and knights, Cedric the Demonic Knight by Valerie Willis had me sold with the synopsis. Then, I saw the cover and thought oh no, did I make a mistake? The cover didn’t grab me or sell me as much as the synopsis did. I put off reading it, thinking oh no, I have made a mistake. But finally, I picked it up and boy oh boy, is this another case of not judging a book by its cover. The writing is actually really great, as is the story!

The writing is incredibly solid and very reminiscent of typical high fantasy novels. It is structured and descriptive, but not overly so to the point where readers become bogged down or bored. The dialogue feels natural, but is a bit nasty for my taste. I know why the character speaks the way he does, but it doesn’t help keep me from cringing when he does and gets misogynistic.

The plot is also typical of fantasy. There is the overarching goal — destroy Morrighan. The distractions — beasts, discovery of self. The improbability of survival. Cedric, after accidentally acquiring a witchy blooded wife, is on a quest to destroy his makers. A father and a literal maker who designed his birth almost as though he were a lab experiment.

THE ROMANCE! Boy oh boy! I had read another book which I had to DNF and will not receive a review, but it was just sex that made no sense with no story just 10% in. This, on the other hand, was all teasing and no act. When the romantic interests finally give in to their passion, fade to black. Talk about sexual frustration!

This is a fantasy series, despite its drab cover, that really lives up to the genre and is a great read. I wholeheartedly recommend Cedric the Demonic Knight by Valerie Willis to readers that like a mix of Arthurian fantasy mixed with demons and witchcraft with a sprinkle of sex and romance.

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Quotes & Excerpts

There could be no more crying. There was no more room for the naïve Angeline in this new world of darkness
-Chapter Fifteen

About the Author

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Valerie WillisValerie Willis, a sixth generation Floridian, launched her first book, Cedric the Demonic Knight, at the start of 2014 on Amazon.com. Since then, she has launched the second book to The Cedric Series, Romasanta: Father of Werewolves (2015), with several installments to come in this high rated Fantasy Romance Series. She pulls in a melting pot of mythology, folklores, history and more into her work with a remarkable amount of foreshadowing that makes reading her books a second time exciting. Also she recently published Rebirth the first book in her Teen Urban Fantasy, the Tattooed Angels Trilogy. Currently on the table to be completed is book two for the Tattooed Angels Trilogy, Judgment and book three in The Cedric Series, The Oracle.

A Bond of Venom and Magic by Karen Tomlinson

A Bond of Venom and Magic by Karen Tomlinson

 A Bond of Venom and Magic
by Karen Tomlinson

The Wraith Lord is hunting; his prize, the key to unleashing darkness and Chaos upon the eight Kingdoms.

For Diamond Gillon the war raging in the south seems a remote danger until her home is brutally attacked. Having lost everything she holds dear, Diamond is catapulted into a terrifying new world in which legendary beasts arise, magic is condemned and half blood fae, like her, have no rights. Despite her growing feelings for her saviour, Commander Hugo Casimir, he remains a paradox – not only is he a heartless killer, he is owned by the cruel immortal fae queen; a queen who will murder her own people for magic.

As Diamond’s circumstances become ever more perilous she is drawn deeper into Hugo’s world and discovers the lengths to which he will go to save what he holds dear. Will Hugo become her friend, her protector, or – an enemy not worthy of her trust?

A Bond of Venom and Magic is a tale of two people bound by magic and secrets, but trapped in the complexities of love and betrayal. It is the beginning of an epic journey, one that will test Diamond’s resolve and determination to battle an evil that threatens not only her world but that of Eternity, the land of The Guardians and The Goddess.

Book 1 of The Goddess and the Guardians series

Rated: ★★★
Publication: October 14, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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A Bond of Venom and Magic by Karen Tomlinson

Full of action and romance, A Bond of Venom and Magic by Karen Tomlinson is fast paced and exciting. Characters are great and so is the story and lore. I absolutely loved this book and devoured it quickly because I needed to know what would happen next. I mean, heck, I even went and tweeted author Tomlinson because of what was going on in the story.

Protagonist Diamond will not be everyone’s cup of tea. I’ll start off by saying that. She isn’t reminiscent of other recent female YA fantasy protagonists who fight, sneak, or play games. Diamond, instead, is innocent and guileless. Overprotected by her father, living in a small town, she never learned how to fight or fend for herself. So, when she’s forced to fight, she can’t. It’s aggravating but also humanizing. I loved that she had anxiety and panic attacks, simply because it made her relatable as someone who also experiences anxiety and has had panic attacks. I mean, if you’re suddenly forced into battle after being coddled your entire life, panic attacks make sense!

Opposite Diamond is Hugo. Now, Hugo, Hugo, Hugo. I don’t know what to make of him. Part of me loves him. Part of me doesn’t. Most of me is reminded of Edward Cullen. He’s broody, overprotective, aggressive, possessive, etc. It makes sense in the context of the story, but still, it’s written so over-the-top that I was left wondering how anyone could ignore his feelings or be oblivious to them. It does get resolved towards the end, but it was still distracting.

So, you might be thinking, given the problems with Diamond and Hugo, how is this a four star book? Easy. It works. Diamond needs protecting and Hugo is over-protective. It just clicks and makes your heart flutter, which is surprising for me to say since I actually want to pair Diamond with human Prince Jack, who, given his limited page time, has me completely smitten. He’s the best and I love him and want to see more of him. I know end game will be Diamond/Hugo, but it doesn’t detract me from wishing for Diamond/Jack.

There is something that happens in the ending that did leave me disappointing. A character takes a turn, and it doesn’t really gel with everything that has happened up until that point. Usually, an author would leave tiny hints that could click into place when the turn happens, but I didn’t feel it with this book. It felt completely undeserved and really knocked a star off the rating.

A Bond of Venom and Magic by Karen Tomlinson has solid characters, but tentative lore. It feels like Tomlinson does know what she’s writing about, but hasn’t wanted to put anything in stone yet. That said, this was a fun read that I would recommend to fans of the Twilight series or the Sookie Stackhouse series, but looking for abstinent YA.

Still not convinced? Sign up for her mailing list and you’ll get the first five chapters free!

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About the Author

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Karen Tomlinson is the author of The Goddess and the Guardians series of Young Adult fantasy books. Book one A Bond of Venom and Magic will be released October 14th 2016.

Karen has always been an avid reader. Her taste in books is eclectic but she likes nothing better than an exciting fantasy, set in a new and magical world. She lives in Derbyshire, England, with her husband, twin girls and her dalmatian, Poppy. Karen trained as a nurse and currently works as a resuscitation and clinical skills trainer, this involves training a wide variety of health care professionals and medical students in acute patient care. In addition to writing, and reading whenever she can, Karen likes to keep active. She has been training at Shotokan karate since being thirteen, likes walking, mountain biking and (for something completely different) cake decorating. She is currently working on book two in The Goddess and the Guardians series.

About me!

As soon as I could read I spent hours getting lost in the new worlds books could give me. Spending my pocket money had to be done (obviously) but not on sweets, well, not many…I spent my money on books. Back then it was Enid Blyton’s Famous Five which sparked my young mind. I didn’t rest until I had the whole set, then I migrated to the secret seven…(there was no Harry Potter then) As a teenager I would trawl through all my mum and dad’s discarded books. It was probably highly inappropriate for a thirteen year old to be reading swoony Mills and Boon romances followed by Ian Flemming, Alistair Maclean and Wilbur Smith!
Because I read anything and everything I could get my hands on back then, I now have an eclectic taste in books. I will read anything that catches my eye and absolutely love illustrated book covers! In my late teens I discovered fantasy and that genre has stayed my firm favourite. I am and will always remain a complete sucker for a fantasy with kick ass characters and worlds steeped in magic and romance!

The Forgotten Fairytales by Angela Parkhurst

The Forgotten Fairytales by Angela Parkhurst

The Forgotten Fairytales
by Angela Parkhurst

What if every fairy tale ever written was true?
What if their happily ever after’s replayed over and over again but the journey wasn’t anything like the storybooks?

When Norah Hart walked into boarding school, she never imagined she’d be walking down the hall with Cinderella and her deranged posse of princesses. Let alone be drawn to a dark and mysterious Big Bad Wolf. In a world where the lines between good and evil blur, Norah struggles to find her place and come to accept a new reality. But when her actions throw off the balance of the fairytale world and happily ever afters, enemies surface, ready to destroy her at any cost.

Forgotten Fairytales Book #1

Rated: ★★★½
Publisher: CreativeSpace Publishing
Publication: February 2014
Genre: YA, Fairytale, Retelling, Romance
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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The Forgotten Fairytales by Angela Parkhurst

The summary hooked me, and even after being hooked by the summary, I still wasn’t sold on The Forgotten Fairytales by Angela Parkhurst. Why? That cover! Sad to say, but readers really do judge books by their covers. This is tragic considering I absolutely fell head over heels with this book! Norah was such an amazing character and I kept hoping she would choose the guy I loved and kick butt. The pacing was great; never once did I grow bored, think it was too slow, or think it was too fast and that I was getting lost. Yes, there are cringey bits in there, but honestly, I laughed them off and kept on reading because it was that good.

I have no idea how Ms. Parkhurst came up with the story idea, but it’s absolutely brilliant. Written in a time when we have Once on tv promoting fairytales and happily ever afters, we get this subverted version where fairy tale world is cruel and ruled almost like a dictatorship. Where you have to have your Happily Ever After whether you want it or not. Don’t love your prince? Tough because that’s how it’s written and that’s how it will be. It’s such a fantastic idea! Then, Parkhurst brings in the idea of hybrids that don’t have stories, that are brand new and I’m dead.

Speaking of being dead, narrator Norah killed me. She had cringey lines at times, but even still, I loved her. Sure, she’s a special snowflake, but what’s wrong with that every now and again? She was fun and kick ass and never steered away from what she thought was right. Norah really reminded me of Rose from the Vampire Academy series. And just like Rose, we have the wildly different love interests.

Norah starts the book crushing hard on both a prince, Finn, and a villain, Wolf (appropriately named, no?) I have to admit, I didn’t care a bit about Finn. My mind was all about Wolf because woof! Strong, angsty, and self loathing? Let’s go! Norah does choose a guy at the end, and I won’t say who it is because I don’t want to spoil it, but read it and read your fairytales!

Worldbuilding was a bit weak, but honestly, the story and characters themselves were worth it enough for me.

The Forgotten Fairytales by Angela Parkhurst was a fantastic book that I absolutely loved and could not gushing about it to friends as I read. A great main character that is strong, yet caring, a juicy love triangle between polar opposites, and intrigue all make this a super fun read! ((Also, please if you write a third book, let someone redesign these covers. Hell, I’ll redesign them for you!))

Quotes & Excerpts

“Maybe I want to be the kind of guy a girl like you believes in.”

Doing this for Kate wasn’t about revenge, it was about righting a wrong. Keeping it in wasn’t an option. Staying silent was worse than telling a lie. Staying silent meant forgetting and I could never forget.

I might as well run in screaming, “You tried to kill me, but here I am. Come at me, bro.”