Lila, reviews

Queens And Cultural Appropriation | The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King Review

Title: The Hundredth Queen
Author: Emily R. King
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Lauren Ezzo
Running Time: 10 hours, 6 minutes
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Summary: As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.

In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.

As fun and (surface level) entertaining as The Hundredth Queen was and as much as I wanted to love it, it had some serious flaws that I honestly just can’t overlook. If you’re looking for something quick and fairly entertaining and you can overlook the possible problematic representation of Eastern cultures, then I’d say have at it. Otherwise…This may not be the book for you.

I’ll start out with what I enjoyed. The plot was fast paced and there was action and romance galore! For this reason, The Hundredth Queen was an incredibly easy read, without being too simplistic.  The trials allowed for plenty of action filled fight sequences and the court setting gives readers tons of intrigue. And, though I had issues with its pacing, there is no doubt that the romance was pretty swoon-worthy.

I also loved the focus on sisterhood and friendship. Kali’s best friend is like a sister to her and is always one of the people whose wellbeing is at the forefront of Kali’s mind. It was nice to see such a strong female friendship play such a pivotal role in a YA book.

I wish I could leave it at that and say I thoroughly enjoyed The Hundredth Queen but alas, twas not meant to be!

I’ll start with the more minor issue I had which was the pacing of the romance. Friends. This was one of the worst cases of insta-love I’ve ever witnessed. Kali literally falls in love with the first guy she’s ever seen. That’s not an exaggeration! Kali has never seen or met a man before Deven and the instant she sees him she’s all *swoons*. But Deven’s reaction time is just as bad! They’ve only had about three minor interactions before they’re falling all over each other and kissing and professing their love and are all “I would die for you!” And what’s worse is that Kali has every reason to be wary and scared of men because before she’d ever met a man, all she’d heard was horror stories fro her best friend. Yet she throws all past knowledge aside for literally the first hot guy she sees?! Spare me, please.

But the issue of inst-love pales in comparison to how problematic this book is, in regards to representation of Eastern and Indian cultures.

Now there are three very important things I need to say before I launch into my final complaint.

  1. I am fully aware that this books is a fantasy. That being said, The Hundredth Queen is so based on Indian culture that King (the author) felt it necessary to include an author’s note at the beginning saying that all apparent similarities to real historic figures is coincidental and not intended to offend.
  2. I am NOT Indian. I have NO right to really speak on what is good representation of Indian culture.
  3. You must understand that, as a person of color myself, I am not one to cry “cultural appropriation!” anytime a White person even gets near another culture. I fully support White people exploring and appreciating and sharing in the richness of other cultures. THAT BEING SAID! This book? It honestly reeks of poorly veiled cultural appropriation and exoticism.

So. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way. This book made me really uneasy, representation wise. I understand that this is not a direct representation of India. But it is merely a step sideways, a thin and tattered veil over Indian culture. And I’m not quite sold on the fact that King did a good job handling it.

Why? It just felt like King had chosen Indian culture not because she appreciated and respected it, but rather because she felt it was “exotic.” I can’t fully describe what exact passages made me feel this way, it was just a general…feeling

But it was also the old, tired tropes that King chose to use in portraying an Eastern culture. They were tropes we’ve seen a lot of and not only could you claim they were lazy tropes, but they were also slightly offensive. In The Hundredth Queen we get more than our fill of the Tyranical Sultan/King/Leader™ trope, in addition to the Sultan With A Harem Of Literally Hundreds Of Women™ trope and the Patriarchal Eastern Society™ trope. *Cue infinite eye rolls and head-desks from me* Must we really with these tropes about Easterners? Especially in 2017 America where those of us who are Middle Eastern and/or South Central Asian continue to be stereotyped so negatively?!

So…yeah. This book gets a 2.75 stars (rounded up to 3 stars) from me. It was fun, yes, but it also had me shaking my head at many points. I’ll probably read the second book, just for fun, but i’m not fully committed to it yet…

fun, Lila

Obsession Confession | My Love of Hellcat’s Black Panther

Hey, y’all! It’s Lila! Sorry for the unexpected two week long semi-hiatus. I was so worn out and I really needed a quick break. BUT I’M BACK NOW!!!! And I’ve got lots of stuff in store for y’all! First up is Obsession Confession, my weekly segment in which is dedicated to telling y’all about my recent obsessions! So let’s get it started!

Books

I checked out and raced through Marvel’s Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! volumes one and two and ohmygod, guys, I’m absolutely in love! Fun, funny, and adorable, Hellcat rocks! I loved every bit of it and I highly recommend it!

Music

So I was watching Whitney’s (at WhittyNovels) SnapChat, and I heard a sample of “Collarbones” by Thomston and was immediately like “I need dat!” So, naturally, I listened to the rest of the song–and I loved it! It’s not exactly a jam, more like a slow, tenor version of a Halsey song–but no matter, it’s good!
I’ve also been obsessing over “My Love” by Wale ft. Major Lazer, WizKid, and Dua Lipa. It’s a really fun, sweet song that you can get into and dance to and sing along with! Plus, gotta love Wale reppin’ my home city!

 

Movies/TV Shows

It was an exciting day the other day because…the Black Panther teaser trailer dropped! Oh, boy, guys! Does this movie look amazing or what?! I’m so ridiculously pumped for this film, it’s not even funny! I have yet to  read the Black Panther comics, but from what I hear, they’re absolutely fabulous, and this movie looks like it won’t disappoint either. I know I’ll definitely be in the audience for this one this fall!

I finally saw Rogue One! And it was great! Not gonna lie, I did tear up during the movie, but still, it was really good! Rogue One tells the story of a ragtag group of resistance fighters in the Star Wars universe. I don’t want to say more than that for fear of spoiling things, but just know that the movie is incredible and will give you all of the feels!

News

So if you’ve been hanging around, you probably know that Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, which was released earlier this year, is one of my new all-time favorites. Given that fact, I was super excited to see that Bustle released the cover and an excerpt of Shadowsong, the sequel to Wintersong! The cover and excerpt have me even more hyped for the sequel, if that’s even possible. Definitely check it out!

Around The Blogosphere/Vlogosphere

Once again, my dear friend Fadwa over at Word Wonders is absolutely on point with her discussion post. Fadwa’s latest discussion post asks if bloggers have a responsibility to their readers. Fadwa’s post got me thinking about my own relationship with my readers and what I believe my resposibilities to y’all are. Definitely check her post out ASAP!

That’s all for today, folks! Tell me all about your latest obsessions in the comments! TTYL!

Lila, reviews

One Hell of a Ride! | Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, Megan Wilson, Joe Sabino, and Clayton Cowles Combo Mini Review

27415870Title: Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Volume 1: Hooked On A Feline

Author: Kate Leth

Artists: Brittney Williams, Megan Wilson, Joe Sabino, and Clayton Cowles

Publisher: Marvel

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Summary: Patsy Walker has managed to escape her past, her enemies and Hell itself (literally) – but nothing compares to job hunting in New York City! Between trying to make rent and dodging bullets, Patsy barely has time to deal with her mother’s exploitative romance comics about Patsy’s past resurfacing, much less how they start to interfere with her work and dating life. As she goes from living a double life to a triple, what the hell is Patsy Walker supposed to do? There’ll be friendship and burgers, monsters and rent checks and a ghost from the past with questionable motives! Comics’ most flexible heroine has been a provisional Avenger, a Defender, Satan’s daughter-in-law and a dead woman–but she’s never been anything like this!

Collecting: Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! 1-6

30621636Title: Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Volume 2: Don’t Stop Me–Ow

Author: Kate Leth

Artists: Brittney Williams, Megan Wilson, Joe Sabino, and Clayton Cowles

Publisher: Marvel

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Summary: In another world they might be gal pals who help each other through hard times. But when Patsy Walker and Jessica Jones meet at last in the Marvel Universe, could it be they’ll end up as…best frenemies?! Not everyone can get along all the time, which is why the world’s heroes are about to be rocked by a second Civil War! But when the fallout from the battlefield hits close to home, Patsy is forced to take stock of her life and face what it really costs to be A.K.A. Hellcat! Plus, fallouts with former friends don’t get any worse than Patsy and Hedy. Now Ms. Wolfe is about to torment her rival more than ever, with a little help from Patsy’s evil exboyfriends! Will Hellcat get burned by her old flames?

Collecting: Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! 7-12

Are you looking for a cute, superhero, Marvel comic to fill you with those good ol’ feels? Look no further, friends! Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat’s got ya covered! I’ve been interested in Hellcat since I ran across it back in December, but it wasn’t until recently that it was offered in the Comixology Unlimited selection—so naturally I jumped on the “one month free trial” thing ASAP! I thought Hellcat would be alright. Boy was I wrong! Because Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat isn’t just alright—it’s great!

If you’re a total Marvel newb then I’d say that Hellcat is an okay place to begin. What I mean by that is that reading Hellcat requires a smidgeon of basic knowledge of the Marvel Comics universe. But, it’s still not the worst place to start! However, if you’ve already read one or two Marvel series, then I’d say you’re probably set when it comes to Hellcat!

One of the things that I think Marvel fans (even newer ones, such as Yours Truly) will appreciate about Hellcat is the guest appearances made by other Marvel superheroes such as America Chavez (a.k.a. Miss America), Doreen Green (a.k.a. Squirrel Girl), Jennifer Walters (a.k.a. She-Hulk), and Doctor Strange, among others. It was nice to see old friends walk onto the page and work together!

Another thing that I adored about Hellcat was the focus on friendship! Patsy and Jennifer have an incredibly close friendship and we see Patsy form many new friends, such as Ian Soo and Tom (although, technically I think Tom counts as an old friend?). Many of the stories focus on teamwork and it was awesome to see the gang get together and kick some villainous butt!

Even though there is a great focus on teamwork and friendship, Patsy, the title character, really is the true heart and soul of Hellcat. An adorable redhead with a big heart, a big personality, and a bit of a short fuse, Patsy walks (heheh) onto the page and you can’t help but fall in love with her. The thing I love about Patsy is that no good deed is too small for her—she realizes that they all count. So while other superheroes are off fighting aliens and robots and supervillains, Patsy takes on some of the smaller baddies. Not that she doesn’t face off with some bigger bad guys, it’s just for the most part she sticks to the smaller ones. I feel like this sent a really positive message that it doesn’t matter how relatively “small” your good deed is, it can still change someone’s life.

All in all, I think I can safely say that I’ve fallen in love with Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! I honestly can’t wait to pick up volume three. Equal parts adorable and triumphant, Hellcat’s definitely not one to miss!

fun, Lila

Obsession Confession | Come Back To Me Star Trek!

Hey y’all! What’s up?! It’s Lila! I know it’s been a while, but I needed to take a week or two of rest because I was just exhausted, physically and mentally. I’m still pretty tired, in all honesty, but I wanted to get back to blogging. Anyhoo. In the time during my break, I found plenty of new things to obsess over! So let’s check ’em out!

Books

I’ve been reading A Court of Wings And Ruin by Sarah J. Maas really, really slowly because I want to savor it, so, sadly, that means that I have no featured book this week. Sorry, y’all! 😭

Music

https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify:track:3NpsflsHTAoand4Jl3ruP7
I’ve really been digging “Back To Me” by Marian Hill and Lauren Juaregui of late. The simple beat and trilling melody had me shimmying my hips and singing a long the whole time. I love how viscous the song is, without it being slow. Y’all should for sure give this song a listen soon!

Movies/TV/Trailers

The trailer for Star Trek: Discovery was released and I’ve never been a Trekkie, but this? This looks so good! I especially love that the leads are women of color (and they’re a friendship pair made up of two different races)! It’s just so refreshing to see, especially for a show which is supposed to be set in the future, where things have (hopefully) progressed a bit! But representation aside, this show looks stellar (pun intended)! I’m all for sci fi action adventures, so I’ll definitely be watching this!

Other Stuff

My bestie taught me how to tie a turban and oh my god, it’ll be a real struggle not to wear one for the rest of my life! I’ve always admired turbans, but could never figure out how to tie one–but my bestie taught me the simple twist and tuck method. I love that turbans are an elegant, yet bohemian, simple way to hide your hair if it’s messy or if you don’t feel like dealing with it! I’ll be taking this style with me to the grave!

News

I couldn’t find any major bookish news this week, so instead of me telling you the news, I want y’all to tell me in the comments what recent bookish news you’r excited about!

Laughter

So this is happenning:

Remember that amazing movie Twitter came up with based on that picture of Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o? The one in which Rihanna was a scammer and Lupita was her smart, scheming sidekick? Well now it’s actually gonna be real! Apparently the story is gonna be a Netflix movie starring Rihanna and Lupita, directed by Ava DuVernay, and written by Issa Rae!!! So there ya have it! Never underestimate the creative power of community on social media!

fun, Lila

Obsession Confession | A Court of Geniuses Living Ultralife!

Whew! I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a busy two weeks! Between deadlines and outings and events and classes/lessons, I’ve been running around. Hence, why I missed a week of Obsession Confession (but…let’s just not mention that…). Anyhoo, somehow, between all of the insanity, I managed to discover new obsessions to share with you! So, let’s not delay any longer!

Books

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Was there any doubt in your mind that I’d choose A Court of Wings And Ruin by Sarah J. Maas this week? If there was then let me officially put those doubts to rest! I have been waiting for this book since I finished ACOMAF and oh my god I am loving it!!!! I haven’t finished it yet because I want to savor it, but everything about it so far is everything I could’ve ever wanted and more! I adore this series and I’m so happy to finally have ACOWAR in my hands!!!

Music

https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify:track:5DLJPVuaVXp9vlKfQIjPWh

I’ve been listening to and loving “Ultralife” by Oh Wonder lately. The song is just so happy and catchy and it makes me feel like speeding through the countryside with my friends on a sunny day! I also love the vocals on the track, which manage to be ethereal, yet still have this sense of gravity.

Movies/TV/Trailers

I started watching National Georgaphic’s new biographical Albert Einstein mini-series, Genius, and I am loving it! Fun fact about me: Albert Einstein is my favorite scientist! Not because I’m a physics/biology major and I’m being basic and cliché, but because I relate to Einstein so much that it’s actually scary. So when I heard about Genius, I just knew I had to watch it! And, what’d’ya know?! I adore the series! (Surprise!)

The second season of Sense8 was released this past Thursday and I am super excited for it! I can’t believe that the moment I’ve been waiting for for two years (oh, the agony! the pain!) is finally here! I haven’t had time to watch it yet, but rest assured, that will be rectified ASAP!

It was quite the busy week in TV-land because in addition to releasing the new season of Sense8, Netflix also dropped the official trailer for The Defenders! This show looks amazing and I can’t wait for our four heroes to finally come together!

Other Stuff

It probably sounds silly, but I bought new clothes for the summer and I’m in love with them! They’re so lovely and soft! I know I’m being quite stereotypically “girly” (although, who cares because eff gender norms!), but I adore fashion. As a low income person, I’ve experienced the difference that good, clean, pretty clothes can make, both in how people see you and in how you feel about yourself. Besides that, I’ve always loved expressing my personality via my clothes! And these clothes make me feel really good!

News

Big news came for Patrick Ness fans this week and that is that the first Chaos Walking trilogy film (which stars Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland) begins filming this summer! I’ve never read the Chaos Walking trilogy, but I know that it’s very beloved in the YA literary community and I’m sure many of y’all are excited by this news. I am interested in the movie, though, so hopefully I’ll give the book a try before the film is released.

Around The Blogosphere/Vlogosphere

Over the past two week, Cait at Paper Fury has graced us with not one, but two delightfully hilarious posts! The first was Cait’s list of 10 types of fantasy books she wants to read but which don’t exist and the second was her list of the 10 types of reading moods all bookworms experience plus a quiz! As always, Cait’s posts left me laughing out loud and nodding in agreement. So go check ’em out!

fun, Lila

Spilling The Secrets | April 2017

Hey, y’all! Lila reporting for duty! I’ back at it again with the wrap ups! This timme, I’m calling my wrap up segment “Spilling The Secrets” because within this segment, I’ll be spilling the beans on all of my favorite things from the past month!

This first segment of Spilling The Secrets is kind of a special one, as in the “Life Events” section, I’m going to be sharing with you my life events which have occurred since the beginning of 2017! Other than that, every other section covers only April! So let’s jump right in!

blogging business

I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been doing a different format of review lately called “Five Reasons To Read…[Book Title]”. Have no fear, hough, the old style of reviewing will still be here! The “Five Reasons To Read” format is actually how I’ve decided to format my “mini reviews.” I say “mini reviews” in quotations because I know mine tend to be longer than most reviewers’, but, what can I say–I never said I wasn’t opinionated and long-winded!

reading wrap up

Sadly, I only finished one book in April and that was…

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

I really liked this book despite the fact that, because of my reading slump, it took me about five months to finish it! The Diabolic is fast paced and action packed and full of romance and political intrigue. The one thing I wish it had done better was the diversity. There were no people of color and only one LGBT+ character, whose sexuality was used as a plot device and who was killed off in the end. Aside from that, it was an entertaining read and I cant wait for the next book. You can check out my “mini review” here.

book haul

BOUGHT/WON

haul

eARCs RECEIVED

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music favorites

My musical favorites this month is an eclectic collection of pop. From slower melodies to fast paced ditties, traditional American tunes to songs inspired by music from around the world, and modern pop to older beats and sounds, this playlist has it all!

llt

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music-tv favorites

I’ve been watching Netflix’s Iron Fist and I must say that I’m really enjoying it! It can be a bit cheesy and cliche–but in my opinion, most superhero stories are! It drags in a few places, but once you get going, the pace starts to pick up. I like thee layers of mysteries, the appearances of other characters from the Defenders universe, and, of course, the action! I’m not too happy about the whitewashing, though, and I can understand why people would choose to pass on Iron Fist because of it. I’m not gonna go saying it’s my all-time favorite show that takes place in the Marvel/Defenders universe, but it’s pretty good nonetheless.

other favorites

wax tarts

I really fell in love with the wax tarts sold by Wick And Fable in April! They smell absolutely delightful! For Easter, my mom bought three sets of them for me: Liesl (inspired by Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones), Der Erlkonig (also inspired by Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones), and To Whatever End (inspired by the Throne of Glass series by Sarah. J. Maas) and I highly recommend those three because they make my room smell incredible!!!

life events

I Participated in An International Women’s Day March And in A Day Without A Woman

unnamed (2)Since I live literally 10 minutes fro Washington, D.C., it’s pretty much impossible not to be involved in liberal, Democratic politics. It’s also pretty impossible to not participate in at least one of the recent anti Trump protests.

Despite my proximity to the capitol, I’ve never actually participated in a protest. Until International Women’s Day, that is! On that day, which also was the day of the A Day Without A Woman strike, I decided to not only wear red in solidarity with the cause, but also to take to the streets to protest the infantile Cheeto currently occupying my home city. I had a great time and there were some really great speakers who spoke on intersectional women’s rights and why they are so important.

I Visited A Korean Spa with My Bestie

Fun fact about me: before this year, I’d never been to a spa. But I corrected that earlier this year! My best friend got two free tickets to a Korean spa and decided to treat me and herself. I only visited the saunas and the cold room (which I fondly dubbed “the freezer”), but it was so nice! It was very relaxing and I can now say that I highly recommend going to a spa!

I Planted A Garden…And Haven’t Killed It Yet!

unnamedPlanting a garden and not killing it is quite the accomplishment for me as I usually am quite the plant killer! My mom wanted a garden for when she returns home, so my best friend, my godmother, and I went out, bought some plants, and got to planting! Ad,, what do ya know?! Three weeks later, plants are springing up everywhere!

I Started Volunteering At Koru Magazine And Stay Bookish eZine

This is an important life event/semi-announcement that’s happened and that is that I’m now a graphic designer and copy editor at Koru Magazine and a writer at Stay Bookish eZine! I’m immensely proud to have scored these positions and I’ve been having so much fun working for both!

I Marched for Science

unnamed (3)The March for Science recently occurred, so I headed into the city and took to the streets once again, this time with my best friend and another once of our friends! It was such a fun day (despite the rainy weather in D.C. on that day) and the march was HUGE! It was so great to see so many people come out in support of science! Before the march, my friends and I went to the National Gallery of Art and then in the evening, we went to a seminar on science and art which took place in a renovated underground trolley station! I had an AMAZING time!

looking ahead

The only major thing that is coming up on the blog, on my end, is that I’m taking part in  blog tour! The book is a diverse, #ownvoices one that seems to be highly anticipated by the community, so I think y’all will enjoy my tour stop! Otherwise, things will be running normally around here on my end!

So that’s all! How was your month? Anything fun or exciting happen? Tell me all in the comments!

fun

Osbession Confession | Strange The Dreamer in Paris with Tahereh Mafi

Heya, folks! Lila here! Welcome back to Obsession Confession, your weekly spot to learn about all of my latest bookish and non-bookish obsessions! This week’s segment is pretty tiny, I must admit, but what’s there is good stuff (in my humble opinion). So let’s jump right in!

Books

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I began Lain Taylor’s latest book, Strange The Dreamer, and, though I’m still at the beginning, I’m already melting with feels! Taylor’s writing is pure perfection. Lazlo Strange is pure perfection. EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BOOK IS PURE PERFECTION AND ASDFGHJKLKJHGFGHJKL!!! JUST READ IT OKAY?!!!

Music

https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify:track:72jbDTw1piOOj770jWNeaG

I discovered “Paris” by The Chainsmokers this past week and I am absolutely in love! Thhe song has a slight 80s sparkle pop vibe to it, mixed with kinda 90s grunge and with a pinch of modern pop and that sounds like a really weird combo, I’ll admit it, but when you actually hear the song, it’s actually really good? I love the singers’ voices; they harmonize perfectly, in my opinion! I feel like this song is definitely one that would fit on a playlist for when you’re roadtripping with your besties, ya dig?

Movies/TV/Trailers

Freeform released a trailer for a new mermaid show called Siren and it looks…interesting? I’m not sure how I feel about it. It looks very dark and it also has Alex Roe (who played Evan in The 5th Wave movie) in it so that’s a bonus, but…I’m still not fully on board yet. I don’t know. What do y’all think of the trailer? Yay or nay?

News

Tahereh Mafi announced that there will be three new books in the Shatter Me series and I just…I just…I just…

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If y’all have read and finished the Shatter Me trilogy, then you’ll know that, while we get closure on some storylines, a lot is also left open ended. It sounds like Tahereh is ready to revisit the world and finish what she started and I am so on board with this!!!