Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kris Longknife Series by Mike Shepherd

Space Opera

In a panel I attended at World Con in Denver Mike Shepherd said that he wrote the Kris Longknife series because he wanted his granddaughter to have books with a strong female character. Kris certainly fills that role. She is another one of those damn Longknifes. In the universe where Kris lives humans are rearranging their political alliances. The Longknife family has taken the leadership of the planets in a new alliance. As an officer in the space force and a junior member of a political dynasty, Kris must wear a variety of hats. Wherever Kris is sent trouble follows and trouble brings fast paced adventure. The books are filled with action, snappy dialogue, and wonderful characters. Read the book in order. All are a fun read.

ACE books publish the series. The titles are:

Kris Longknife: Mutineer
Kris Longknife: Deserter
Kris Longknife: Defiant
Kris Longknife: Resolute
Kris Longknife: Audacious
Kris Longknife: Intrepid

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb

Futuristic Suspense

I just finished Salvation in Death published by Putnam and written by J. D. Robb. For those who do not know J. D. Robb is a pen name for Nora Roberts. This is the 28th book in the in Death series. If you have never read this series I recommend that you start with book one. Most libraries have this series and all but Salvation are available in paperback.

While performing the sacraments at a funeral mass Father Flores drinks the wine from the Chalice and dies of poison. Homicide cop Eve Dallas draws the case. It turns out the priest is not Father Flores and is not even a priest. All of these events happen in the first few pages of the book. The suspense is drawn out, red herrings are placed, and a fast pace is kept up throughout the book. As the story plays out many of the previous character make an appearance and of course no story will be complete without Roarke, Eve’s sexy billionaire husband. Read Salvation in Death. You will not be disappointed.

A complete list of the book in the series is on the J.D. Robb website.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Another Cookie Recipe

Since I posted the Oatmeal Crispies yesterday I decide it was only fair to post son #1’s favorite. He and his 3-year-old nursery school class made this cookie for Christmas. We all loved the cookie and I asked the teachers if they would share the recipe. After you read the recipe imagine 12 little hands rolling these cookies in sugar and cinnamon and eating them after baking.


Mix together thoroughly
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup canola oil
1 ½ cups of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix 2 ¾ cups of flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon soda
¼ teaspoons salt
Add to the mixture.

Form into ball the size of small walnuts, roll in equal parts cinnamon and sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 10 minutes in 400 degree oven. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. These cookies puff up at first and then flatten out with crinkled tops.

Remember the hint about the cookie sheet. This recipe came from an unknown cookbook. I made some small changes to the recipe.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Favorite Cookie from a Cookbook

I just got home from Christmas with my Mother (she was 89 on her birthday on December 24th) and my two sons who live in the same city. Like all families we have some traditions and one came from different sources. Each of my sons has a favorite cookie and I make a batch to give each at Christmas. The recipe for Oatmeal Crispies came from a cookbook, the recipe for Snickerdoodles came from a cookies that my oldest son made in nursery school and the third is the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag (this favorite cookie is my son who lives in Denver and I will see him next weekend). My sons found the Oatmeal Crispies recipe in a cookbook. All three sons along with my husband used to sit in the kitchen looking through cookbooks and would read me recipes while I cooked. This year the Oatmeal Crispies were shared with son #3’s friends and generated several requests for the recipe. I decided to post the recipe on my book blog. After all a cookbook is a book so it fits.

Oatmeal Crispies

1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
6 cups Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
1 package butterscotch chips
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix shortening and sugars, beat in eggs and vanilla, and add butterscotch chips. Mix flour, salt and soda and stir into mixture. Add oats and nuts. Drop by small spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 about 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

For any of you who are not cookies bakers following the recipe is important, but the cookie sheet you use is also important. Use a clean shiny cookie sheet. That will insure that all the cookies bake evenly and turn out looking great.

Recipe is from an unknown cookbook. I did make some small changes. Make up a batch and enjoy

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Book View Café

I never know what I will run into when I review a book. I found Book View Café when I went to C.F. Bentley’s web site. (See review for Harmony) This is a new site started on November 19th by a group of published authors. The writers state that “Book View Café is a cooperative site created by a group of writers who want to take advantage of the internet’s possibilities for reaching a wider audience and to distribute their work directly to their readers. ”

Writers are posting short stories, novellas, and novels on the site. There are stories in each of the following areas: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Humor, Romance, Young Adult and Speculative Fiction. All stories I saw posted are free but there is a plan to post some that you have to purchase.

You have to register and log in to access everything on the site. You may meet some of your favorite authors and you may find new favorites at the Book View Café.

I'm off the spend Christmas with two of my sons. See you in a few days.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Harmony by C.F. Bentley

As if I did not have enough books to read with Fictionwise holding a Christmas sale on eBooks and a to be read pile that just keeps growing I can’t stop checking out new books anytime I wander through the library. Harmony by C.F. Bentley had just been put out on the shelves and I can never resist a new science fiction book so of course it came home with me. Once I started reading the book I could not put it down.

Harmony published by Daw is a rip-roaring fantasy/science fiction/space opera. It is full of twists and turns. It contains mystery and a touch of romance. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going the author threw in a new twist. With great characters, a well constructed plot and a well though out universe this is a book science fiction readers should not miss. Buy the book or check it out of your library. However you get Harmony, you should read this book. I was sorry to see the book end and was glad to see on C.F. Bentley’s web site that this is the first book in a new series. Enigma, the next book, is due out in August of 2009. I give Harmony 5 thumbs up.

C.F. Bentley also writes as P.R Frost and Irene Radford.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jake Masters Mysteries by Mike Resnick

Science Fiction Mystery

This is a slightly different series. Written by Mike Resnick, all three Jake Master mysteries are a standalone short story. Each was published in a different year and in a different magazine but that is not where I read them. I purchased them from Fictionwise. They were just added to their inventory and when Fictionwise started their Christmas sale I purchased all three.

The stories are set in the Birthright Universe. I felt right at home as I had read several novels set in the same Universe. Jake is typical of the old style detective. He retired from the police and became a private eye. The only difference between today and Jake's time is the settings and the characters. There are different planets, many aliens, and of course humans. Each story was a satisfying read and reading all three in close order left a sense of visiting with an old friend. If you get a chance read the Jake Masters mysteries. The three I read in the order they were written are:

Guardian Angle – First Published in Down These Dark Spaceways, September, 2006
A Locked-Planet Mystery - First Published in Alien Crimes, January 2007
Honorable Enemies – First Published in Baen’s Universe, April 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Book Reviewers Link-up Meme

I got this list from Frances Reads. Since Frances said it so well and I don't like to reinvent the wheel I am posting and quoting her blog.

"Grasping for the Wind’s John Ottinger is updating his blogroll of fantasy and science fiction book reviewers and needs our help. If you would like your site to be included, take this list and post it on your website, then add yourself to the list, preferably in alphabetical order. John will then track the links across the web from back links, and can add each new blog to his roll as it pops up."

Here’s the list:
The Accidental Bard
A Dribble Of Ink
Adventures in Reading
The Agony Column
The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
Barbara Martin
Bibliophile Stalker
Blood of the Muse
The Book Smugglers
The Book Swede
Breeni Books
Cheaper Ironies [pro columnist]
Cheryl’s Musings
Critical Mass
Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews
Darque Reviews
Dave Brendon’s Fantasy and Sci-Fi Weblog
The Deckled Edge
Dragons, Heroes and Wizards
Dusk Before the Dawn
Enter the Octopus
Eve’s Alexandria
Fantasy Book Critic
Fantasy Cafe
Fantasy Debut
Fantasy Book Reviews and News
Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin’ Blog
The Fix
The Foghorn Review
Frances Writes
From a Sci-Fi Standpoint
The Galaxy Express
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review
Grasping for the Wind
The Green Man Review
Highlander’s Book Reviews
Jumpdrives and Cantrips
Lisa Paitz Spindler’s Danger Gal Reviews
Literary Escapism
Michele Lee’s Book Love
Mixed Book Bag
Monster Librarian
Mostly Harmless Books
My Favourite Books
Neth Space
OF Blog of the Fallen
The Old Bat’s Belfry
Outside of a Dog
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
Piaw’s Blog
Post-Weird Thoughts
Publisher’s Weekly
Reading the Leaves
Realms of Speculative Fiction
Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff
Robots and Vamps
SF Diplomat
Sci-Fi Songs [Musical Reviews]
Severian’s Fantastic Worlds
SF Gospel
SF Revu
SF Signal
SF Site
SFF World’s Book Reviews
Silver Reviews
Speculative Fiction Junkie
Speculative Horizons
Spontaneous Derivation
Sporadic Book Reviews
Stella Matutina
The Sword Review
Tangent Online
Temple Library Reviews [also a publisher]
The Road Not Taken
Urban Fantasy Land
Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic
Variety SF
Walker of Worlds
Wands and Worlds
The Wertzone
WJ Fantasy Reviews
The World in a Satin Bag
Foreign Language (other than English)
Cititor SF [Romanian, but with English Translation] [French]

If you have time do a Google search to login and check out some of these sites.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shotgun Bride (The Quinter Brides Book One) by Lauri Robinson

Historical Western Romance

Shotgun Bride by Lauri Robinson and published by Wildrose Press in 2008 has a lot of familiar elements. There is the untrustworthy brother who trades his you innocent sister for the horse he could not pay for, the forced wedding of the sister to one of four brothers, and the struggle by both new wife and new husband to act honorability. Set in Kansas all of the elements seem new and fresh in this enjoyable story. On a personal note, I get tired of page after page of sex scenes. I loved the fact that Lauri Robinson keeps sex scenes to a minimum. Here is what Fictionwise says about the book:

“Like most girls, Jessie Johnson will never forget the first time she met her mother-in-law. After all who can forget a shotgun pointed at them? Bartered for a dead horse at gunpoint, she either agrees to marry one of the Quinter boys or her brother will hang for horse theft. Jessie knows nothing about being a wife- other than the wedding will likely put her new husband in grave danger. After being knocked unconscious by his brothers, Kid Quinter finds himself surrounded by his uncouth family, the sheriff, a preacher, and an adorable young woman. Tied to a chair, he's given no choice but to marry Jessie Johnson. And that's just the beginning of his troubles.”

This is the first in a series of four books and I am looking forward to the next one. At present this is only available as an ebook.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shipscat Series by Mercedes Lackey

Science Fiction

Skitty is the cat in the Shipscat series by Mercedes Lackey. This is another series of short stories. Dick White is the cat handler for the spaceship Brightwing. Skitty is gene tailored for life on the Brightwing and can talk mind to mind with Dick. Like all cats she does not always follow directions, but her adventures always work out for good of White and the crew. In the first story she kills the kreshta and everyone thinks disaster will follow, in the second story the crew is kidnapped and Skitty must come to the rescue, a cat with the standard military genotype ends up on the Brightwing in the third story, and in the fourth there is a conflict when vermin are children of the gods to some on the planet. After buying and reading all four I was wishing for more tales of Skitty. This is another series I purchased on Fictionwise. The stories in order are:

Tale of Two Skittys
A Better Mousetrap

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Born In Sin by Kinley MacGregor a/k/a Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Historical Romance

Born in Sin was published by Avon in 2003 and is part of the MacAlister’s series. When writing historical fiction Sherrilyn Kenyon writes as Kinley MacGregor. This is the book I found on the virgin heroes list. I purchased it as an eBook from Fictionwise. As luck would have it they were having a Christmas sale and I got 40% off. It was in a format that would not load on my eBookwise reader so I had to read it on the computer.

This is the second book in the series and the only one I have read. In fact this is the only book by Kinley MacGregor that I have read. I will add her to the list of authors whose book I watch for.

Sin, the hero, is the bastard sons of the MacAllister’s. Rejected by his English mother at birth he is sent Scotland to live with his father. He is allowed to stay but is ignored. When the English king demands a son from all of the Scottish clans Sin is sent. He is abused by the knight he serves and finally sold to the Saracens to pay for the knight’s trip home from the Holy Lands. As a slave to the Saracens he suffers further abuse. They train him as a killer and send him to kill King Henry. While holding a knife to Henry’s throat Sin offers to spare his life and to be his man forever. Henry accepts the offer. Sin still does not find acceptance when they return to England. Henry’s use of Sin’s skills causes all to fear and hate him. Sin has never been with a woman because he does not want to bring an unwanted child into the world.

Everything changes when Henry uses friendship and power to force Sin to marry Callie. She is a Scotswoman and Henry wants to use to marriage to ensure peace. Sin has never known love or acceptance and does not know what to make of Callie. She seems to like him but he keeps pushing her away. This is a great story of love and acceptance. In addition to the love story of Sin and Callie there was additional actions and suspense that kept me reading.

Born in Sin is a keeper on my favorites shelf. I recommend the book.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair

Science Fiction Romance and Space Opera

I keep finding new books to read. Yesterday I got a list of books that had virgin heroes. I purchased one I had not read and decided to review one of my favorites. So much for my plan to do series this week. I will get back to that list later.

Games of Command published by Bantam Spectra in 2007 is among my favorite books. Bantam Spectra contracted with Linnea Sinclair to republish her books originally written for a small press that went out of business. Finders Keepers, Gabriel’s Ghost, Accidental Goddess and Games of Command were all part of that contract. The original story line was a two-part book. Only the first was published. Bantam did not want a series and had Linnea rewrite the story as one book. I have read Command Performance, the first book in the series, and I found Games of Command to be a much tighter better-written book.

I call this a space opera romance. The book is filled with plot twists and action. While there are two different romances in the book the main characters are Captain Tasha Sebastian and Admiral Brandon Kel-Paten. The two had been enemies for years. When a new threat appeared on the scene the old saying “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” came into play and the two are now part of the new Alliance. Tasha is posted to Admiral Kel-Paten’s ship as part of the peace treaty. Tasha is the opposite of Kel-Paten and thinks that he hates her. He is a biocybe and as far as he knows one of a kind. Created to be the ultimate warrior he is part machine and part human programmed feel no emotion but anger. He is a great at his job, follows all the rules, but is ill at ease in other situations. Tasha thrives in situations that are outside the box. The two first met 12 years before when the then Captain Kel-Paten boarded the ship Tasha was on to commandeer its cargo. Tasha outwitted him and he left empty handed. Tasha did not fear him and managed to do what few other could. Kel-Paten had managed to overpower his emotion inhibitors and he fell in love with Tasha. For the next 12 years wrote her love letters that would only be sent when he died. Now he finally has her on his ship. And so the story is set. They capture a rebel, nothing goes as planned. Tasha learns of Kel-Paten feeling when she breaks into his files. It is nonstop action from there on.

If you like Science Fiction Romance I predict that Games of Command will land on your favorites shelf.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Peacekeeper: A Major Ariane Kedros Novel by Laura E. Reeve

Military Science Fiction, Space Opera

Peacekeeper published by Roc and released in December of 2008 is “The First in a Brand-New Series”. I first heard about the book from Laura Reeve’s sister. We were both attending WorldCon in Denver last August. I wrote the title down and the next day bookmarks were out on one of the display tables. I put the book in my Amazon wish list and purchased it as soon as it was released. While I have been disappointed in many first books I was not disappointed in Peacekeeper. The story is very well written, the plot well thought out and the back-story worked in a way that does not distract from the flow of the novel.

Ariane Kedros is a woman with a past. As a member of the Consortium of Autonomous Worlds military she and her crew set off a forbidden weapon that destroyed a system. To the Terran Expansion League she is a war criminal. For 15 years Ariane has been hidden behind a new identity but now someone is killing everyone responsible for the decision to use the weapon. The killings have started at the top of the chair of command. Ariane, a reserve major, is tapped to find the killer. Ariane is a well-drawn and complex character full of internal conflicts. The other characters in the book have their own conflicts adding depth to the story.

Laura Reeve has written a great first book and I am looking forward to reading Vigilante (Roc, ~October 2009), the next in the series. I give this five thumbs up.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Confederation Novels by Tanya Huff

Space Opera – Military Science Fiction

For me World Con2008 offered a treasure trove of authors and one of my goals was to hear authors I read on a panel, at a reading or at a kaffeeklatche. I went to a reading given by Tanya Huff. She is Canadian and was in the Canadian Navy (which she laughing said consisted of two canoes and a row boat). I am convinced that Canadians get a lot more fun out of life than we do. We seem to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and Canadian thank us for doing it so they do not have to. Tanya is one of the few authors I have met that I can picture as a character in her novels. My mental picture of Marine Sergeant Torin Kerr was very close match to Tanya.

There are four Confederation Novels published by Daw. Marine Sergeant Torin Kerr is the main character in each of the four. With the rank of sergeant she is the backbone of the corp. She is written larger than life and her exploits are a mile a minute. All of the novels are tightly written and hard to put down once you start. I just finished Valor’s Trial, the latest novel published in 2008 and it was as compelling and action filled as the first, Valor’s Choice. I don’t know if Valor’s Trial is the last in the series as there was enough of a hook at the end to support another book. I certainly hope to hear more about Torin Kerr. If you have not read this series you have a treat coming. Pick up the first one and join in the adventure.

The Confederation Novels in order are:

Valor’s Choice
The Better Part of Valor
The Hear of Valor
Valor’s Trial

There is an omnibus A Confederation of Valor that contains the first two novels.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Saga of Seven Suns by Kevin Anderson

Space Opera

I got a newsletter from Kevin Anderson this week. I met both Kevin and his wife Rebecca Modesta at Denvention 2 (World Science Fiction Convention) in Denver last summer. I signed up for their Kafffeekiatschle. If you have never been to a Science Fiction Convention (Con for short), a kaffeekiatschle allows fans to meet and interact with authors as a small group. At Denvention I was one of the lucky 10 that attended Kevin and Rebecca’s kaffeekiatschle. Both are Science Fiction Writers who write as a team and as individuals. I went because I had read The Saga of Seven Suns written by Kevin. This is a seven book series. The first book has enough hooks to keep you reading and each succeeding book adds hooks, characters, and action.

If I had to describe the books with one word it would be sweeping. There are human, Ildirans who are similar to humans, hydrogues’s who live on gas giants, wentals who are water beings, faeros who live in suns, Klikiss Robots, Klikiss, and the green forest. Some are allies and some are natural enemies. All are intelligent being and all are involved in a titanic struggle for survival.

The series should be read in the order published. I recommend The Saga of Seven Suns. You will have many hours of good reading.

The books of the Saga of Seven Suns in the order published are:

Hidden Empire
A Forest of Stars
Horizon Storms
Scattered Suns
Of Fire and Night
Metal Swarm
The Ashes of World

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

RCN Series by David Drake

Space Opera

David Drake writes a lot of military science fiction but to quote him this series ” is something quite different: space opera”. The first book in the series, With the Lightnings introduces the two unlikely protagonists. Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy are both citizens of Cinnabar and a more unlikely pair would be hard to find. Their differences are one thing that makes this series so engaging. Daniel is in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy. Adele is an exile from Cinnabar. Her parents were convicted of treason and killed. Adele escaped death only because she was off planet at the time. Add to the mix Tovera, a psychopath who serves Adele and Hogg a gentleman’s gentleman who serves Daniel and you have a crack team ready for adventure. The books are a mix of adventure and politics. With a male and female main characters you might expect a little romance thrown in, but when you read the book you will understand why there is none. The books are published by Baen and are available as eBooks as well as hard cover and paperbacks. Here is the list of books in the order of publication:


THE WAY TO GLORY RCN Series (Baen/2005)


WHEN THE TIDE RISES RCN Series (Baen/2008)

With the Lightnings and Lt Leary, Commanding are available as eBooks in the Baen free library. This is a series that is best read in order so go to Baen and download With the Lightnings to check the series out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Science Fiction Series

I own all of the books in several several Science Fiction Series. For the next few days I will share my favorites. Come back tomorrow and find out which series I like.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Starship: Rebel by Mike Resnick

Science Fiction Space Opera

Starship: Rebel is the fourth book in the Starship series. Published by PYR Publishers the book came out in November of 2008. Wilson Cole has increased his fleet and is still taking jobs as a mercenary. The book is as fast moving as the previous books in the series. This book goes in a darker direction as Cole’s best friend is captured and killed and everyone on the planet where the capture happened wiped out. Fast paced and full of action Starship: Rebel sets the stage for the fifth and final book in the series. I recommend the series to anyone who loves science fiction and space opera. Like the first book I give this book 5 thumbs up.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly

Paranormal Mystery

This seems to be my week for ghost stories. This time it is a mystery. The Ghost and Mrs. McClure published by Berkley Prime Crime is the first in a series that has 4 published books with a fifth coming out in January. PI Jack Shield was killed in 1949 in a book store in Quindicott, Rhode Island. He cannot leave the store and has been haunting it ever since. Penelope Thornton-McClure and her Aunt Sadie are updating the book store. They have changed the name to Buy the Book and have a bestselling author on hand to bring in new business. The author is killed in the bookstore. Penelope and Jack find that they can “talk to each other”. This is the first time Jack has been able to communicate with anyone. He and Penelope team up to solve the murder. Jack is a typical 1940’s Pi so he is the brains and Penelope, a modern woman, is the legs. It is a cute book, easy to read and only 261 pages long. If you want a fun read I recommend The Ghost and Mrs. McClure. I give it 3 thumbs up.

A side note. "Alice Kimberly is the pen name for Alice Alfonsi, who writes with her husband, Marc Cerasini." They also write The Coffeehouse Mysteries.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hundreds of Years to Reform A Rake by Laurie Brown

Paranormal Romance

Do you like to read regency and paranormal romances? If so, Hundreds of Years to Reform A Rake by Laurie Brown can satisfy both loves. Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca in 2007, this is a ghost story with a twist. The ghost of Deverell Thornton, the Ninth Early of Waite, convinces paranormal researcher Josephine Drummond to go back in time to save Castle Waite. Learning to navigate the complex social requirements of the Regency period is only one of Josephine’s problems. She is fighting an attraction to both the ghost of Deverell and the living Deverell while trying to expose a charlatan and save the Castle. There is plenty of action, great characters, and enough mystery to keep you reading. This is a cute take on time travel and ghosts. I give Hundreds of Years to Reform A Rake 3 thumbs up.

Monday, December 1, 2008

StarJumper’s Bride by J.A. Clarke

Science Fiction Romance

Yesterday was a cold day with off and on snow flurries so I spent the afternoon on the couch reading and watching the birds visit the bird bath and bird feeder. I had StarJumper’s Bride published by LionHearted Publishing on my wish list for over a year. I finally added the book to my Amazon order that arrived on Friday. StarJumper’s Bride by J. A. Clarke was a great read for a cold snowy Sunday afternoon. I love science fiction romance and am always delighted to find one with an engaging story and great characters. The relationship between the two main characters, Cassie Gordon and Sebastian Asteril, was not rushed but developed as the story unfolded. There was danger, romance and intrigue and I did not want to put the book down. It is the second book set in this universe, but it stands on its own. StarJumper's Bride was a 2006 Eppie finalist in the Science Fiction/Futuristic Romance category. According to J.A. Clarke’s website there will be a third book in the series coming out in the future. I give StarJumper’s Bride 4 thumbs up.