Elemental Fae Academy

Elemental Fae Academy: Book Three
(Elemental Fae Academy #3)
by Lexi C. Foss & J.R. Thorn

A Brilliant action packed, scorching hot and very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.


This is a reverse harem series and all three books must be read in order. It builds on events and information from the previous two books and can not be read stand alone.

I loved how all the lose ends from the story were neatly tied up – even ones I hadn’t realised existed. Clever writing ensured that the bond between Claire and her guys, Exos, Vox, Cyrus, Titus and Sol, was convincingly portrayed, it was also great to see the guys forming bonds of their own, especially between those who had struggled to see eye-to-eye with each other in the past.

Whilst I really, really enjoyed the book as a whole and couldn’t have asked for a better plot, I did find the first quarter quite slow moving. The plot really didn’t feel like it moved forward in any significant way. For me there was too much unnecessary sex in this part of the book. I’d already been convinced of Claire’s bond with/attraction to/love for the guys in Book #2 and didn’t need more here.

Once the pace picked up, boy was I totally and utterly gripped by this book. Reading it at any opportunity, not wanting to put it down and loving every word of it. Whilst there weren’t too many ‘bad guy’ possibilities, I preferred that to suddenly finding out it was someone we had never even heard of previously. The build up to the final confrontation was brilliant, with both successes and failures along the way.

This is a fantastic reverse harem series that successfully develop 6 main characters, making them feel like individuals and giving them depth. The story is twisted, fast paced and packed with danger, frustration and struggles, as well as love, support and hope. The writing is excellent and it’s very much a set of books that I happily recommend.

Amazon US: https://geni.us/ZWaq
Bookbub: https://bit.ly/2R215K0
Goodreads: https://bit.ly/37Gz14y

How is a girl supposed to concentrate with five hot fae mentors? It’s not like I have a lot to do or anything.

Royal Coronations.Finals.A Solstice Ball.And a mother hellbent on ruining the fae world.
Just another ordinary day for me, Claire Summers, the halfling fae with access to all five elements.
Everyone is counting on me, even my esteemed mentor, Elana. Because I’m the only one with enough power to take my mother down.
But what if it’s all a lie? What if the bad guy I’ve been chasing all along is the one standing right by my side?
I’m in for the fight of my life with five fae protectors and an ally I never saw coming. It’s up to us to save the Fae Kingdom before it’s too late. And it’ll require giving my heart to all my mates, to guard and to hold, for eternity and beyond.

Note: This is book three of the Elemental Fae Academy trilogy. There’s a lot of heat in this one, and a scene you don’t want to miss between Cyrus, Exos, and Claire.

Hot SEAL alert

Protecting Lucianna
(Special Forces: Operation Alpha)
by Tiffani Lynn

Reading a Tiffani Lynn book is like coming home…

You’ve donned loose clothing, snuggled onto the couch, have a blanket to keep you cosy and a glass or cup of something warming. I always find myself lost within the pages of her books, falling in love with the characters as they fall in love with each other.

I absolutely adored Protecting Lucianna and could have happily stayed in their world forever. In fact the only thing that would have made this book better is if it had been longer. Don’t read that as a criticism though, rather it is a selfish wish because I was enjoying the story so very much. The story of two broken souls who helped each other find healing and the strength to move on from traumatic events.

Lucianna was a side character in Saving Simone, however this reads very easily as a stand alone story in it’s own right. The vast majority of the story takes place over a handful of days, but those are some of the most intense of days. This couple speak to each other, they bare their souls and communicate on a level that helps you believe in the bond forming between them, convinces you of their love. Both main characters are believable and incredibly likeable, neither is perfect, instead they feel like actual people. Whilst the story deals with some fairly tough issues, it retained a gentleness to it, a serenity born of strength, determination and love.

A couple of the reasons that I love Tiffani Lynn books are that she doesn’t do unnecessary angst because of a lack of communication and she doesn’t make every woman other than the heroine a bitch. There is never that secret that one person knows they need to share but never quite does, until everything blows up in their face. Problems are faced together or with a network of genuine, caring friends.

This is a perfect read to relax with, allowing you to de-stress and recharge ones batteries whilst enjoying a well written, delightful love story.


Entertainment lawyer Lucianna Ortiz is a survivor. After a horrific incident nearly took her life, she lives on the edge of being afraid of everything and not feeling anything at all. Pulling away from the people she loves most, she takes a trip. But when Lucianna finds herself stranded on a St. Augustine beach, she’s anything but alone. Devlin’s quiet blue eyes hold her captive and his capable hands make her feel… safe. 

Navy SEAL Devlin “Devil” Byrne went into the service after his little sister drowned. Just seventeen years old, a piece of him died that day too. Consumed by guilt, he keeps to himself, saving those he can and making amends the only way he knows how. When he meets beautiful and curvy Lucianna on the beach, he can’t help but be drawn to her brokenness, which mirrors his own. He learns that protecting someone is sometimes more about their heart than their body. 

With a new year on the horizon, and Christmas approaching, both are struggling to overcome the past before it takes them under. Devlin’s about to discover that protecting Lucianna could be the key to saving himself.

Pytes, Sentinels and things that go bump in the night…

Without Regret
(Pyte/Sentinel Series Book 2) 
by R.L. Mathewson

I loved this packed full of snark, action and emotion story

I read the first book in the series a couple of years ago and bought the rest soon after. Then foolishly never actually got around to reading them. Over the weekend I realised I have over 300 bought books that I haven’t yet read and I’m hoping this is the first step in remedying that oversight.

Pretty much from the first pages I was absolutely addicted to this book. I read it into the early hours even though it was a work day. I read it during any quick breaks I got during work. I read it the moment I got home and didn’t put it down until I’d finished the book.

Chris and Izzy are mates, there will never be another for them, it’s part of the Sentinel way. However Izzy isn’t quite what Chris wanted or hoped for, and Izzy had absolutely no idea what was going on most of the time. So many times I wanted to shake Chris or slap him around the back of the head. A lot of reviewers hated him, he really is a total bum-wipe a lot of the time. However I can understand why he acted as he did and the only reason I forgave him was because in the end he suffered more than Izzy did. Izzy was just so perfectly imperfect, a little bat *ahem* crazy, totally sweet and very quirky. The pair had a love-hate relationship that sizzled with one heck of a lot of chemistry.

The story is a fast paced, action packed, thrilling and exciting ride. I couldn’t read it quickly enough and absolutely loved every minute of it. In fact the only reason it didn’t get all 5 stars was that the book had a LOT of missing words, and other errors that should have been caught during beta reading an editing. Normally I can ignore it but at some points of the story their were errors on every page and it did become a little distracting. Despite that I really would still recommend this book.

Chris Williams is used to making sacrifices. For years he’s done his duty by his family and his calling as he awaited the one person that was meant for him. When she finally came into his life she was nothing like the woman he’d expected. Instead of being the warrior ready to help him protect his family and the humans under his care he got…..

A computer geek named Isabella, who somehow managed to get her name on every Master’s hit list. One minute she admits that she’d made a foolish mistake and the next she’s kidnapped, held hostage by a crazy cult who steals her chocolate and she’s sure is after her program, a program she has no plans on giving up anytime soon. As she tries to keep her wits about her the sexiest man she’s ever seen claims her, only he doesn’t seem to happy about it. It’s clear that he doesn’t want her, but the stubborn man just won’t let her go even when it’s clear that he may not have a choice.

A Step Back In Time

CELT (Den Of Mercenaries #2)
by London Miller

Despite feeling like I have a mountain of arc books to read (a situation I really need to resolve by perhaps stepping down from several teams) I’ve recently been struggling with having enough reviews to share. So I’ve gone into the Goodreads vaults and dug out some from several years ago. My eye was caught by the Den of Mercenaries series, particularly since I know there is another book in the linked Kingmaker series due out soon. If you haven’t read her yet I highly recommend London Miller’s work to you. She is an amazing author who writes romantic suspense/organised crime/mercenary plots that are deep, multi-layered and very complex. The strands weave together into the richest of tapestries sporting the most stunning of patterns.

Sadly whilst I have read the first book, coincidentally named Red, it was in the days before I religiously recorded every review on Goodreads. So I’m starting with the second book of the series, which features an Irish art thief and the innocent girl who gets caught up in his world.

I loved Amber and I loved Celt. I do need to ask though, why does no-one ever warn the hero that keeping secrets will only lead to trouble?

Celt is just such a well written, captivating and incredibly twisty romantic suspense. The main characters have genuine depth, felt like real people you could meet tomorrow (even despite one being a mercenary!) and had amazing chemistry. Celt is just such a swoon-worthy hero, completely stealing my heart. His intention was to use Amber, but very quickly she came to mean the whole world to him.

The intrigue feels totally plausible and is combined with little breadcrumb hints of mystery, enough to send your brain into a frenzy. Celt is packed with action, adventure and peril that has you turning pages as fast as you possible can. There is also a wonderful love story that totally draws you in. Finally there is the ever mysterious, slightly sinister Kingmaker, pulling so many strings behind the scenes.

I really enjoyed this, although it is part of a series it can easily be read as a standalone. However I will warn you that once you enter the world of the Den of Mercenaries you will not be happy until you know just what Uilleam is up to and exactly how he has manipulated all the characters into their current positions. London Miller’s writing will enthral you and leave you needing more.

I definitely recommend not just the book, but the whole series.

Amazon US –> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IFSE56S

Amazon UK–> https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01IFSE56S

Amazon CA–> https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01IFSE56S

Amazon AU–> https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01IFSE56S

Welcome to the Den …

Six minutes is all he needs to get a job done …

Kyrnon “Celt” Murphy is one of the best thieves in the world. After all, his childhood was spent with a caravan of Irish Travelers that taught him everything he knows.

He got in …

He got out …

No witnesses …

When his latest assignment, one that even the best of thieves couldn’t pull off, brings him into contact with a girl that awakens a part of him he long thought dead, Kyrnon is reluctant to walk away.

But in his trade, witnesses meant consequences …

And sometimes those consequences meant death …

A Tale Of Dragons and Elves

THE BLACK PRINCE
by Ariana Nash

Even now, his dragon prince didn’t realise how special he was.

Zane, The Black Prince

GHARRRR!

description

Ariana Nash stomped me into the ground with the story of Akiem “You think you’re not worth loving” and Zane “The bright star in Akiem’s darkness”. She tore into me, giving me false hope before cruelly snatching it all away again.

description

This tale of of love against the odds, of lies, betrayal and secrecy, of two broken souls finding light in the darkness and of a dragon and an elf is, quite simply, one of my favourite reads of the year. Maybe of forever.

In many ways, it had been easier when he had cared about nothing, but he wouldn’t change it. Caring made him feel alive and true and strong.

Akiem, The Black Prince

Every line dripped with feeling, emotion flowed throughout the narrative, yet it never distracted nor detracted from the amazing, layered plot. Ariana Nash’s writing is simply awe inspiring, the story gripping from the first lines to the last. The plot throwing you around like a fairground ride, first leading you in one direction before thrusting you rapidly into a different one.

Not only has this story left me with a huge book hangover, I don’t even want to pick up another book. I don’t want to sully the memory of an elf and his black dragon, don’t want to let go of the emotions running through me, don’t want to admit that they are just characters in a book.

I think I’m just going to rock quietly in a darkened corner, hugging my comfort blanket and dreaming of a bronze eyed dragon and his red haired elf.

It made his body ache when they were apart, as though Zane were the missing piece he’d been searching for his whole life.

How could Zane make him see that he didn’t need to die to prove he had earned the right to live?

In the war-torn rubble of the human world, can a rebel elf and a lost dragon prince find love, or will a dark threat tear them and their world apart forever?

A new land, a new court, a new king, but some things never change.

Broken in all ways, Akiem fled his life as the amethyst prince only to land at the mercy of the beautiful but deadly diamond king, Luceran.

Akiem knows dragons. He knows he’ll die today, tomorrow, whenever Luceran’s executioner brings down his axe, and maybe it’s all he deserves. He’s ready for death, craves it even, like he craves the elf with flame-red hair and a sly smile, the damn elf whose stolen kiss lit Akiem up in ways he didn’t know were possible.

Akiem doesn’t do males and he definitely doesn’t do elves. But some things do change.

Drifter, mercenary, lover — Zane is all those things. He’ll do almost anything for coin. But he doesn’t do dragons and he definitely doesn’t do love.

It’s not such a bad life for an elf. Better than the rest of his kin, living under the rule and whims of King Luceran.

Working as a bodyguard in Bayston should have been quick coin in his pocket before moving on. But King Luceran has a new toy he parades at court. A dragon with eyes of gold and scales as black as night.

He probably shouldn’t have kissed him. Definitely should have killed him.

And now, moving on is the farthest thought from Zane’s mind. Because Luceran’s new toy is not like the other dragonkin. And maybe, just maybe, the terrible, beautiful beast has the key to freeing all the persecuted elves and unlocking Zane’s restless heart.

Zane doesn’t do love and he doesn’t do dragons.

But with the arrival of the Black Prince, everything is about to change.

***

The Black Prince is part of the Silk & Steel world. It can be read as a standalone.

The publication date is temporary and likely to be brought forward to December 2019. The Black Prince will be in Kindle Unlimited on its release.

Please note: This novel contains an m/m love story and adult content. The Black Prince is intended for mature readers.

WolfLord

Wolflord: A Dark Shifter Romance
by Delta James

MY REVIEW – 4 STARS

This is the third book in an interconnected series, though each can be read as a stand alone. However to fully appreciate both the back story AND to avoid spoilers I would personally suggest reading Warlord first and then Overlord.

Rauri and Arielle are a passionate couple and this book has plenty of scorching hot moments. Whilst there are some dubious consent sexual acts, Rauri isn’t one to ask his mate if she’s in the mood, Arielle certainly enjoys his attentions and responds with enthusiasm. They have a fiery relationship, Arielle is not the meek, quiet girl everyone presumed her to be. Especially not since she never seems to be given a choice in her life.

The series is set in a patriarchal society, where the alpha wolf’s word is law and where females are subject to spankings/strappings if they disobey their man. Whilst I would never support this lack of autonomy in real life, I love the Dom/sub dynamic in these books and the battle of wills and wiles that ensues. The author, through character dialogue, does acknowledge that the system is unfair, that males do not seem to be held to the same account as females. However that is the core of the book, the power exchange, the domination and submission, the disciplinary spankings and the resulting re-connection and hot bedroom scenes.

Wolflord is a very enjoyable, steamy and well written story. It easily held my attention and drew me in with Rauri and Arielle’s love story. I’m looking forward to meeting the mysterious man who we briefly saw in this book, I’m wondering if his fated mate is a certain widow and mother of a young girl.


BLURB

She fought him. He claimed her anyway.

Ruari of Clan Dundalk knew Arielle was his mate as soon as he set eyes on her, but he had planned to court her properly. When she arrives in his lands as an uninvited stowaway, however, he decides it is time for this beautiful, headstrong female to be taught her place over his knee.

As she is led to her new mate’s castle naked, blushing, and sore, with only a sheet to hide her helpless arousal, Arielle’s fury at being bared and spanked is exceeded only by her desperate need to be thrown to the ground and ravaged by the brute who just punished her so shamefully.

She won’t have to wait long…


Publisher’s Note: Wolflord is a stand-alone novel set in the same world as Warlord and Overlord. It includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT

Today I’m featuring a book that has been out a little while, one I had the privilege and honour to be on the beta reading team for. The author is taking a (hopefully short) break from writing, as she also has a full time job to fill her days. However she has a wide range of books still available, including the Reckless Devotion duet that made me fall in love with her writing.

The author was inspired by a conversation she had with a friend from the UK, involving a show said friend was watching. That inspiration led to The Thing About Us, a full of feels, occasionally angsty, super hot story of forbidden love.

BLURB

It started as nothing more than a little fun, but became so much more.

It was all fun and games until it wasn’t. Lies, deceit, and jealousy threaten to tear the three of us apart. We can have it all, but that’s not as easy as it sounds.

Ben
I never thought I’d show my best friend that side of me, but I had to take my one shot or regret it forever.

Luc
It was only supposed to be one night of something I didn’t understand and never wanted, but it became so much more.

Georgie
They want me to choose, but I want them both. They just have to admit they want it, too.


The thing about us? We can make it work…even if we have to fight to keep it together.


**The Thing About Us is a standalone MMF Menage romance about two best friends and the woman they both want. It is intended for mature readers over 18.

US: https://amzn.to/2FUQICO
UK: https://amzn.to/2Sbn8yz
CA: https://amzn.to/2FYHAxh
AU: https://amzn.to/2FU7It5

Excerpt
The three of us pile into the back of the car and before we barely start moving, Georgie is kissing Ben and pulling my shirt to bring me closer. I move closer, stroking her hair as she and Ben make out, trying to analyze my feelings. The whole night has been tinged with sexual tension. Now, knowing Ben is willing to go as far with this as possible, I have to get on board or get out. I just can’t understand why watching them is turning me on so much.I let my hand move down her body over her hip, then around the front where I inch my way up to her tits. Ben starts kissing her neck, freeing her mouth for me to move in. I kiss her as his hands move into her hair. When Ben starts kissing her cleavage, she moans softly, driving me a little closer to the edge. Feeling a bit freer, I let my hand grope her through her dress, and she responds by gripping my dick through my trousers. We’re interrupted when the car stops and the driver announces we’re back at Georgie’s place. Ben opens the door and exits the car, but I grab Georgie’s wrist stopping her.“Are you sure you want us to come in? Both of us.”“I’m sure, Luc. Let’s go.”I tell the driver we’re done for the night and walk up to the door where Ben is kissing a giggling Georgie on the neck whilst she unlocks the door. To say I’m in all new territory is an understatement. I’m well versed in multiple women scenarios thanks to my uni days, but another man? Never. My best mate? Definitely never. The truth is, I want Georgie enough to give it a go.

MY REVIEW – 4 STARS
A steamy and full of feels romance with a twist
There is a saying that the course of true love never did run smooth, and that is true of this tale here. There is angst and there is personal conflict, but given both the unusual situation AND their personal histories it felt a natural part of the story.

I really liked all three main characters, though I perhaps would have liked just a little more of Georgie’s ‘voice’. That said, there was certainly enough from her POV to allow me to feel a connection to her character. The fact that this is written mainly from the two male’s perspective is quite unusual, but totally worked for me. Luc and Ben could have easily blurred into one, but both retained their own distinct character. In fact Ben, Luc and Georgie were all very consistent, developed and likeable characters.

As a Brit I also thought the author did an excellent job of making Luc sound English. She also wrote a very engaging and captivating tale. This is a very steamy and slightly taboo story, but also an emotion filled and very heart warming one.

The Inland Seas Series

Safe Harbor
(The Inland Seas Series Book 3)
by Gwyn McNamee

He’s the Preacher man

I adored Preacher and Everly’s story, they are a wonderful pair of characters, whose broken pieces fit together to make a beautiful whole. Whilst it might be possible to read the book stand alone, the series really does need reading in order for maximum enjoyment. The first two books are amazing and I highly recommend reading them.

For some reason, and it could totally have been me, the start of this book seemed to drag a little, I felt almost as though the story wasn’t going anywhere. It wasn’t full of the same action that the previous two books held and I totally appreciate that it did need to be different and carve it’s own path. However within a few chapters I was totally hooked and loving every minute of it.

The obvious aspects of the plot turned out to not be obvious at all. The threats and peril came from some very unexpected sources and whilst some trouble was easy to solve, others were not such simple cases. This story will draw you in, both your mind and emotions will be caught up by the clever writing, the finely crafted characters and their complicated love story.

The very mysterious E is up next and I can’t wait to continue on this amazing adventure.

Blurb

PREACHER
When it comes to firewalls, no one gets through my defenses.
For the past five years, protecting this band of f-ed up brothers has been my mission.
But Everly pulls me from my cave and does the one thing no one else ever has…
She makes me believe there’s a life outside the world on my screens.
Too bad actions have consequences, ones that threaten everything and everyone around me.
Including the beautiful tattoo artist who has managed to etch herself onto my heart.

EVERLY
The emotional upheaval of the last six months would be enough to break anyone.
And I can already feel myself cracking.
A tall, sexy, tattooed bad boy is the last thing I need thrown into the mix.
All I want is to keep my head down and pour my pain into my art.
But Preacher walks into my life and offers me safety in a world where I thought there was none.
Until our pasts finally catch up with us…

Preacher and Everly.
Fear and loss.
Hope and heartbreak.
This harbor may be their salvation.



Other Side of Love

Other Side of Love (A Different Kind of Love Book 5) by Liz Durano

4 Heartwarming Stars

I guarantee Benny Turner will make you swoon!

Whilst Other Side of Love can be read as a standalone, and chronologically is the earliest story in the series, we have already met Benny and Sarah as side characters and main characters in previous books. There are also some ‘loose ends’ in this book and some massive hints that there is at least one more book in the pipeline for this couple. Which is great news since they are such a fantastic and amazing pair.

Sarah and Benny were best friends at college, both had baggage, troubled pasts that got in the way of anything more together. A drunken admission fractured that friendship until a chance encounter offers them a second chance at happiness. However that baggage seems to have doubled, if not trebled and some of it is determined to ruin any happiness Benny and Sarah might find.

There is a warmth in this story, even though it is shadowed with pain and hurt. Benny and Sarah are both well rounded, dimensional and believable characters who find strength in each other and grow as a result of that bond. The chemistry between them is scorching hot and I adored watching them not so much fall in love as realising the truth of that love.

The story just flows so well, the writing holding my attention from start to finish. Contemporary isn’t even second or third on my list of favourite romance genres, however Liz Durano is most certainly high on my list of favourite authors. Her talent at story telling has you in the moment, has you feeling every emotion, has you falling in love, has your heart soaring, pounding, hurting before finally bringing you peace, contentment and untold happiness. This really is a book which, and an author who, deserves your attention. 

BLURB

After her last relationship ends in disaster, travel nurse Sarah Drexel takes a job on the Navajo Nation, believing it far enough away from civilization for anyone to recognize her.

But all that changes when environmental protection specialist Benny Turner walks into her clinic. He used to be her best friend until the night she told him her deepest darkest secrets and everything changed between them.

But Sarah’s not the only one with something to hide.

For Benny, being half-Navajo means straddling two worlds. It means never quite belonging to either one without having to constantly prove himself.

But just when he decides to settle down on the reservation for good, Benny runs into the only woman he’s always wanted but convinced himself he could never have.

Until now.

Duty or love? Which one will he choose?

***This is a prequel to the world introduced in Everything she Ever Wanted with events happening twelve years before Dax met Harlow. It’s also standalone so you don’t need to have read Everything She Ever Wanted first.***

A truly crazy story

Crazy Broken Love
by Jennifer Bene

REVIEW – 5 STARS 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Even more amazing than the original

The core of this story was originally released as Cocoon, in the Just Breathe anthology. It has been reworked, tidied up and given an extended epilogue to boot. I LOVED this story in it’s original format and this version is even better.

Deep, profound, thought provoking, intense and empowering, this is a book that doesn’t leave you when you’ve finished reading it. You think about it a little bit, and then some more, and then a LOT more after that. After contemplating and pondering on this WONDERFUL, FANTASTIC AND AMAZING story, it struck me just how unwittingly judgemental and bigoted we can be.

The heroine suffers from an OCD disorder that, at times, leaves her teetering on the edge of sanity. I found myself waiting for a white knight to rescue her from this and ‘cure’ her. Yep I judged her as needing to be changed in some way and my word has it made me hang my head in shame. Because what Amy needs, what all people in this situation need, is to be accepted for who they are and understood.

Amy doesn’t need ‘fixing’. Just because she doesn’t fit our societal preconceived notions of ‘normal’ does not mean that she isn’t perfect just exactly how she is. Thankfully she did find a knight in shining armour to save her, he saved her from the judgement and narrow-mindedness that stops us accepting others just as they are. Colton saw how imperfectly perfect Amy was, and matched it with his own wonderful imperfections.

This is a Jennifer Bene book, so of course there is a touch of darkness to be had. There is a frisson of fear and threat to be powered through, bad (misguided?) actions that are done with the best of intentions. Contained within the pages is a truly fantastic love story that touched both my heart and my mind, that spoke to me in a way few romance stories do. That left it’s gentle touch on my heart and soul. Bravo Ms Bene.

Without order, without the rules, she’ll go mad.

Amy has issues, but she’s organized her life in such a way that the Noise will never reach her again. No one understands it, understands her, except for the one who writes her messages with perfectly counted words.

Equilibre, whose name is French for balance, made up of nine letters. Three times three.

And he wants her.

Forever.


Note: This book discusses OCD and may trigger some readers. Please read with self-care in mind.