The Gin Lovers Guide to Dating – Nina Kaye

Welcome back everyone, I’m sorry for being a bit sporadic recently. But I need to try and balance everything in my life which is proving difficult at the moment.

It took me almost 2 weeks to read this book, through no fault of its own! The writing was well done, the character was interesting and there was a lot of difficulties she had to face and work through. It was purely that I was lucky to find 45minutes each day to read. So it just took me forever!

One of the things I enjoyed about Liv was how real her struggles were. Much of it was out of her control, yet her reactions to them was within her control. The one I understood the most was her struggle to keep her apartment.

Having a background working in debt recovery I had one perspective that wasn’t as dire as the book made out. Especially since she never seemed to talk to the bank. So unless the UK is DRASTICALLY different to Australia. Since I knew someone who worked in this field in the UK for a few years and their process wasn’t too different to Australia’s. Which kept throwing me a bit.

Since most people don’t have this insider knowledge, I highly doubt anyone else will have that issue.

The rest of the book blended gin, emotional growth and development, workplace romance and online dating into a great story. Who Graham is was a little obvious, but the impact he had to Liv and the overall story was great.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; I don’t think I’ll make my scheduled review for Monday. So please stay tuned to Twitter or Facebook to see when my next review goes live. OR you could sign up so you get an email letting you know it’s ready for you! Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Nina Kaye is a romantic comedy author who writes fast-paced, entertaining reads with a deeper edge. Nina started writing her first novel when she was 17 (locked in her room, supposedly studying). It was a short-lived experience that ended as soon as Nina’s exams did, but the dream of writing never left her.

Nina Kaye is a romantic comedy author who writes fast-paced, entertaining reads with a deeper edge. Nina started writing her first novel when she was 17 (locked in her room, supposedly studying). It was a short-lived experience that ended as soon as Nina’s exams did, but the dream of writing never left her.

Giveaway – Win a copy of The GIn Lovers Guide to Dating, a bottle of Tiger Gin and a copy of The Little Cocktail Box (UK 18+ only)

To celebrate this blog tour for The Gin Lover’s Guide to Dating, there seemed no better way than to give away some gin-related goodies! Nina has teamed up with specialist gin producer, Tiger Gin, to offer one lucky winner: a copy of her debut novel (Kindle Edition), a bottle of multi-Gold award winning Tiger Gin, and one copy of The Little Cocktail Box.

To enter, all you need to do is retweet and comment (just once!) on Nina’s pinned tweet on her Twitter page (@NinaKayeAuthor), telling her which blog tour post you have read. Nina will then choose the lucky winner at random after the closing date, which is 6pm (BST) on Thurs 29th April 2020.

This prize draw is only available to UK residents over the age of 18.

Full terms and conditions apply – bit.ly/2V6AdJ1. Always drink responsibly.

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The New Guy – Kathryn Freeman

Welcome back everyone, after a few reviews for books in a series we’re back to a standalone contemporary romance set in London.

One of they key differences between this book and many other romances I read is that the woman is the one in a position of power in the relationship. Not only is it Sam that instigates a conversation with Ryan initially. She’s the one that sets out how their relationship plays out after that.

Throughout the book we read how Ryan is feeling, and it’s strangely insecure. Being a girl, I don’t know if many guys feel like this in relationships, but it was great to have such a strong male lead who was also so in touch with his emotions and what he wants from a relationship. While also being honest with himself about how he truly feels rather than trying to hide behind walls.

In many ways I respect what Sam has achieved and sympathise with what she’s had to go through thanks to Damien. Yet I also think she was a little silly to get involved with someone she worked with. Something my dad always told me growing up was to never get involved with someone I worked with because society always makes the woman out to be worse off.

At the same time, if you’re falling for someone that hard why should you have to deny your heart?

And then my logical business brain switches on being like “aren’t there laws against this in England?” coz I know there are here in Australia. Even for small businesses like Sam’s.

The way Kathryn wrote about both Ryan and Sam’s emotional turmoil and their insecurities kept me enraptured the whole way through. I kept wondering when they’d finally talk openly and honestly, what would happen after they’d done that? Would Ryan keep working for Sam? If he did, how would their relationship end up?

Rather than trying to sort through that minefield I think Kathryn did the right thing for the story and left it on a high. But also open for the reader to decide how they want their love story to play out. Does it end up a fully open office romance? Does it go down in flames? Is it a fairy-tale ending?

Who knows? You get to pick what you want!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I’ll be reviewing Jennifer Macaire’s final Alexander book, The Eternal Banquet. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

From Thailand with Love – Camilla Isley

Welcome back everyone, after having to force myself to finish the last book I read I had a great time jumping into the fifth book in the First Comes Love series. Of which I read and reviewed the 4th book, To the Stars and Back last year.

Within 2 pages I fell in love with Winter and the antics she was getting up to. By the time I finished reading the first day (can’t remember how many chapters that was…) I knew I was going to love this book. How could I not when I found myself laughing so much in such a short period of time?

As I got further and further into the story, I loved Winter more and more. She’s so sassy, confident and focussed against all odds. How could I not love it? Even some of her plotting had me cracking up coz it’s exactly what I’d do in her position.

Logan’s side also had me chuckling. Yet once they’re out on their expedition and the exciting stuff happens, I found myself loving him as well. I don’t want to ruin the book by talking about how exciting this is. But I’d like to compare it to Indiana Jones, maybe a bit of the Mummy in there too.

I flew through this book and didn’t even care that my partner wanted to watch a YouTube video and the next morning stay in bed rather than be with me while we were at a hotel celebrating our 8-year anniversary. Why? Coz it meant I got to read some more!

After finishing this book, I made the decision that I needed to read the rest of the series and went and bought the collection of the first three books. Sometime in the future you’ll see those reviews. I’m just not sure when that’ll happen just yet.

If you love romance, humour and action/drama in your stories then you need to go and buy this and read it RIGHT NOW. Each book in the series is a standalone. There is a minor detail in this book that would slightly (not really since it’s a romance) ruin the 4th book. But otherwise you don’t need to worry about reading them in order.

Just go and get this and read it now! GO!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Wednesday I’ll be introducing a new series of posts and on Friday I’ll be reviewing Breathe of Passion by Lisa Kessler. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband on an adventure abroad.

She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

You can check out Camilla on her various social media accounts including BookBub and Pinterest.

Giveaway – Win a From Thailand with Love Tote Bag (open internationally)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

When Polly met Olly – Zoe May

Welcome back everyone, I’ve got another Rach Random Resource tour for you today. And it’s another Zoe May novel.

I’m starting to get the feeling that Zoe is great at coming up with ideas and stories. But personally, I feel like the execution was a little lacking. I never found myself falling in love with this book. Pretty much the whole way through I found it wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t reading it coz I was loving it. I was reading it to bring you this review.

Technically speaking there’s nothing wrong.

You’ve got a strong female lead, Polly. You’ve got a male lead who’s in touch with his emotions, Olly. You’ve got a father figure that helps the female lead find her way and looks after her, Derek. You’ve got a gay best friend only looking out for the female lead and adds an element of flair, Gabe.

Yet I didn’t connect with or fall in love with any of these characters. In fact, I actually hated Gabe. I didn’t think he had a place in the story and felt his character needed more reason to be there other than to critique and push Polly. Even his critiquing and gayness annoyed me. He felt like the type of “friend” that I’d cut out of my life in 2 seconds flat and that he was gay just to have the representation in the book rather than adding value.

It felt like Olly had almost no story time. I think I was about halfway through and it felt like he’d had all of one meetings worth of air time. For a male lead I was expecting much more angst, drama and revelations to happen. When they did, it felt rushed and like it was maybe just meant to be there, but Zoe hadn’t had time to do it earlier.

Personally, what could’ve made this book great was having Olly’s side included in the story. Not every love story needs it. But a lot of the drama, angst and feeling that might have made me fall in love with the story and characters might have happened if Olly’s perspective was included.

For a light, easy to read romance that you don’t have to get too caught up in this is a great read. I just felt like it was missing something for my brain and heart to really engage. My only other issues with this book have hopefully been resolved (I’ve been told they have) and they were caused because I read an advanced copy not a final edit version. So, I won’t be taking those into account with my score.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Street Magic by Tamora Pierce. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Zoe May lives in London and writes romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She spent her twenties living in London, where she worked in journalism and copywriting before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple’s top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as ‘a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery – fresh and very funny’.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading.

The Cottage on Wildflower Lane – Liz Davies

Welcome back everyone, we’re so close to the end of the month with just two more reviews due to come out. Man! What a busy month!

Liz has a way of writing her stories that just captures you in the moment and the feel of the quintessential English countryside. I’ve read one or two of her other books and I always feel like I’m in amongst the beautiful countryside. This one wasn’t any different.

The sight, smell and general vibe of well developed and established garden always has me instantly relaxing and getting back to nature. Liz was able to give me this vibe without leaving my couch. Her ability to describe the surroundings the characters are in is amazing and I love it. It makes the time reading it so much more relaxing and enjoyable.

The trials and tribulations Esther goes through in this time is pretty heart breaking. I can’t believe how horrible Josh is and yet his mum thinks Esther isn’t good enough for Josh? Seriously?! How delirious can some parents be?!

Kit on the other hand is amazing. What he goes through, what he does for Esther and how he makes it through these issues is far superior to Josh. He carries himself with such compassion, consideration and confidence (I totally didn’t mean to make that 3 C’s!), all of which make him highly attractive. Especially since he listens to explanations (mostly) which things seem a bit weird.

For the most part, I loved the build up and romance of this book were so sweet, and actually doesn’t focus on the obvious romantic element of the story. My problem with the romance came at the end. I think I would’ve preferred to end the story maybe a month or two after the second last chapter where they are seeing where the relationship is going rather than the ending it got. Especially because we don’t know how much later that final chapter is. Is it one year? Or more?

For a romance taking it slow, as they said, I’d think it’d be 2+ years later. But we don’t know which annoyed me just a little.

Otherwise, it was a great romance that followed in the footsteps of The Summer of Going Topless where there’s more to romance and relationships than just meeting someone and falling in love.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Wednesday I’ll be reviewing When Polly Met Olly by Zoe May. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper can and travel the world in it.

Perfect Match – Zoe May

Welcome back everyone, after the bit of a slump I got myself into with the previous read I can say I’m back into my normal reading habits.

I’ve taken advantage of a few hot days where I couldn’t really go out and do much (damn that heatstroke!) and stayed inside, where it’s cool to read. I’m not sure if this book should sit at 4.5 or 5 stars since I’m not sure if the previous one had me in enough of a slump that this felt amazing.

Regardless, the themes throughout the book are so positive and speak to experience and learning from mistakes that I loved it. The pacing throughout was consistent, well thought out and gave us a very clear heading when we had quite a jump in the timeline.

It felt like every character in this book had a reason for being there. With the focus of the book being online dating, this tended to revolve around how people meet, how you can get to know someone, how our past shapes our behaviours and so many little things in between.

For those suffering the dating scene of the 21st century I feel like this is something they should read. Love can happen in the most unlikely of places and with the people you least expect. For me, when my step-mum suggested I go on a date with a 30 yr old accountant she works with (I was 21 at the time) my reaction was along the lines of “ewww! I don’t want to date an old, boring accountant!” I ended up meeting him briefly at my dad and step-mum’s housewarming and eight years later we’re going strong!

The main message I felt came through with this story was to give people a chance and take care of yourself first before looking to add someone to that mix. Being happy with yourself is something that’s so important but overlooked so much in our technological age so I’m so happy Zoe was able to include that in such a great way.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Forbidden by Tracy Cooper-Posey and Julia Templeton. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Zoe May lives in southeast London and writes romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She worked in journalism and copywriting before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple’s top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as ‘a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery – fresh and very funny’.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading! She adores animals and if she’s not taking a photo of a vegan meal, she’s probably tweeting about the dairy industry. She is half Greek and half Irish and can make a mean baklava. Zoe has a thing for horror films, India, swimming, hip hop and Radiohead. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of handbags having spent several years working in fashion copywriting and could probably win Mastermind if this was her specialist subject!

A Stolen Christmas Kiss – a collection of short stories

I was asked to review this book as part of Zoe Ann Wood’s collection of book bloggers. I decided to give it a read because I do love a Christmas romance, so having 8 short ones sounded pretty cool.

I’m going to review Zoe’s short story first, and in more depth because I wouldn’t have read it if it wasn’t for her. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t love the others! I’ll also add, I had a hard time trying to pick a favourite. So hard in fact, I never ended up picking one!

Give me Snow and Mistletoe

I think the first thing we need to acknowledge with this story is that cyber stalking is very much a thing we’re all guilty of having done at some point. So it’s no surprise that both Eva and Noah participated in some light cyber stalking before a meddling grandmother conspired to get them on a date before Christmas comes.

I found myself laughing at some of the antics that happened while also feeling like the openness of the characters would never happen in real like. But hey, that shouldn’t get in the way of a sweet, short Christmas romance story! You know it’s going to be a bit faster than normal coz it’s a short story. It just wouldn’t work otherwise.

My only disappointment was the epilogue not giving me a description of the final local. That’s probably because I love reading those kinds of descriptions and love it when it can be described vividly. But that’s nothing compared to the rest of the book and purely a personal thing, nothing against the story.

Melting Mr Grinch’s Heart

I was a little hesitant about this story, but I ended up quite liked it. I’m with Amelia that Grinch’s should be made to love Christmas, so her battle to get Samuel to love Christmas is something I can totally relate to. This goes into my top 4 short stories for this collection.

Christmas of Second Chances

Sandra and Nick are more mature than most romances but at the same time, so sweet! It’s even a second chance romance! How many of those do you see? This goes into my top 4 short stories for this collection.

Christmas Chicken Ballad

Who falls in love with their best friends’ brother? Well, in this case it’s a big issue and the younger brother is pursuing his older sisters’ best friend. The fact that he’s a hot, bass guitarist for a successful band makes things a bit easier doesn’t it? This goes into my top 4 short stories for this collection.

Cruise Ship Christmas

When you go on a singles cruise you probably think you’re gonna hook up with some other cruiser’s yea? You don’t expect to fall for the staff and see a whole different side to a cruise while avoiding your family. This goes into my top 4 short stories for this collection.

Nipping at your Nose

I think this was my actual favourite story out of all of them. If I could have had this in a novel length story, I would totally read it. The way Austen and Zach immediately connect, but not necessarily on a sexual level is great. The way it develops was so sweet and so on point that I wanted more.

Santa Beastly

As sweet as this story is, I just didn’t buy into it at any point. I was left disconnected and left thinking that it was completely implausible. I find I can’t connect with a story if it’s not plausible. For me, it just didn’t quite make it.

On the Christmas Market

After losing her parents, it’s probably not the best idea to be jetting off to Slovenia. Especially at Christmas time with a group of seniors. The instant attraction and appreciation between Evie and Keller is amazing. But it’s their intellectual conversations that challenge each other that really makes this story. Although there’s some good lessons that can be learned from this short story.

The Good in Goodbye – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, after that slightly odd Christmas “romantic comedy” last week we’re back to Lisa Miller! Remember her from Intimate Strangers?

I feel like I need to go into some spoilers with this review, so if you don’t want spoilers, make sure you skip that section!

We pick up Lisa’s love story with AJ like a month and a bit after she had to leave him back in the US. She’s discovered something pretty life changing and she’s coping with it pretty well until tragedy strikes. Luckily, she’s home in Ireland so she’s got her childhood best friend and her parents with her to help her through this time. Not to mention a few new friends she makes in this book.

Overall, it felt like this story had a different feel to it than the first one. The first one was very much a romance, whereas this one felt more serious and addressed a few sensitive topics. Mental health, unplanned pregnancies, trauma, heart break, moral choices and various other topics. And I’m not sure it does it very well.

It felt like it was trying to address too many things and ended up losing it in a few places. Most of the book was great! I felt connected almost all the way through. But the last couple of chapters just didn’t feel right for the characters.

The choices made felt like they’d been done to create drama rather than to honestly have the characters develop further. I feel like I want to read the next book to see if it kinda corrects those issues. But at the same time, I’m also worried it might go further down the path of not feeling natural.

SPOILER TIME! DON’T FORGOT TO CHECK OUT THE REST AFTER THE SPOILERS!

AJ having bipolar feels like something that should’ve come out in the first book. Putting it here makes it feel like it was a “o what’s a way we can add in mental health awareness? This works!” and bang it went in. I’m not trying to say it wasn’t portrayed well. I just feel that setting it up a bit more in the first book would’ve worked better. Specially coz AJ said the Docs could tell Lisa everything when he was in the hospital and there was no mention of bipolar meds then. Just feels a little bit contradictory to me.

Lisa’s thought processes towards the end of the book bugged me as well. I get grief can do strange things to our minds, but to decide you don’t want to be with your guy as soon as he’s on the place home feels a little bit out of left field. Given how into open and honest communication they’re into, surely she’d talk to him about her concerns?

Finally, that last bombshell of Ana’s feels like it should be a set up. If the start of the next book isn’t a “we did this to see how you were coping” kinda thing then she’s like the most insensitive person ever! I mean. Lisa lost her baby at 12 weeks old. Why would you feel it’s OK to turn up on her doorstep claiming to be 12 weeks pregnant when she has little to no support system around her and she’s barely coping as it is? #horriblefriendmoment #shitfriend

I don’t know why I did that, but it felt appropriate.

WE’RE PAST THE SPOILERS NOW!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Give me a Christmas by Zoe Ann Wood. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

Single All the Way – Elaine Spires

Welcome back everyone, after a busier November than I’d anticipated I’m kicking off the Christmas month with a book set over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This one ended up being a bit of a disappointment to me. I went into it expecting a romantic comedy and was left quite underwhelmed. The story itself was mostly fine. It was the delivery that didn’t quite do it for me. However, as an inspiring, life lesson kind of read this is amazing.

The first thing I need to say about this book was that its chapters were “days”, meaning some chapters took me an hour or so to read. I think this could have been done better if the days were “parts” to the book, and the character’s points of view were the chapters.

I think this would give the reader a cleaner point where they could stop reading rather than hoping they remember what was said when they put it down halfway through a conversation because you don’t know when the next natural break is.

The next point I was to talk about is the amount of characters used. Usually, the books I read follow one or two characters and might alternate their points of view between those two characters. Or, you might have a few other characters thrown in, but the point of view sticks to the main two characters.

In this book I couldn’t figure out who the story was meant to be about and (if I can remember correctly) the point of view alternated between 10+ characters. The only other book I’ve come across that uses to many characters is Game of Thrones, and George R.R. Martin has a chapter to each character, titled as the character’s name, making it easier to follow. In this case the character changes happened at mini breaks in the chapters and because of the amount of characters used, I often struggled to figure out who I was reading about.

The final thing I want to mention is the feel of the book. When I finished this book, I left it feeling like “romantic comedy” is the wrong way to market it. Instead, I think it should be marketed as a story that shows the trials and tribulations people face in their everyday life. The key messages I felt resonating with me were that of acceptance and love for all — including yourself, forgiveness, honesty and communication.

Even though it wasn’t quite the fun read I thought it would be, I finished it with more of a life lesson, key take away kind of feel. If you want to read about how different people face a range of issues (sexuality, grief, guilt, family secrets, being single later in life etc) then this is an inspiring read I urge you to read.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Lasairiona E. McMaster’s The Good in Goodbye, the sequel to Intimate Strangers. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels.

Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.

Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019! 

Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.