So when Finn suggests a vacation for the four of them Gin, Owen, Bria and himself , Gin jumps at the chance to leave town, hoping things would blow over by the time she gets back. Fortunately, she never goes anywhere without her five Silverstone knives — the ones Owen made especially for her. The beginning of By a Thread was a little hard for me. I was disappointed in Gin, especially when it came to her attitude towards her baby sister.
Fortunately, the ones written by Estep are among the rare exceptions. She writes these scenes with such clarity, describing just one thing at a time, thus allowing me to picture them vividly in my head, and yet somehow making them rich, eventful and extremely interesting.
Spider's Revenge : Jennifer Estep :
Her actions never once sent chills down my spine and I was never truly worried about Gin when she was fighting her or the ones Mab sent after her. But the vampire who feeds on elementals to absorb their powers was a very convincing villain. Major points to Ms. Estep for that.
Jennifer Estep maintains the same level of quality throughout the series. If the first one works for you as it did for me the rest surely will, too. A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author for review purposes. For this review and more, please visit The Nocturnal Library View all 9 comments. May 18, Denisa rated it liked it Shelves: great-female-char , cute , fun , relaxing , romance , uf-or-paranormal. Ok, maybe it's not the best idea to read books in a series one after the other.
You get too used to the characters and you don't see them as special as they actually are and I know Gin is, I love her and it's rare that I like a female character as much as I like her. Still, well If you liked the previous books though, read it! It's definitely worth it! View all 6 comments. Jun 01, Steven rated it liked it Shelves: favorites , urban-fantasy-paranormal , read-in That's right. She's better off without you. Callie deserves better too though. Sep 29, Katyana rated it it was ok Shelves: ass-kicking-women , vampires , fantasy , uf.
This one was honestly disappointing to me. I'll admit that the ending was good, and did a lot to salvage the book, but I was pretty irritated for the first pages. The biggest flaw in this book is Bria. I know that she was never thrilled with Gin being an assassin, but she did make her peace with it. So in this book, when Bria suddenly morphed into a female Donovan Caine, I was pretty shocked.
It made her seem like an idiot. The fact is, with their history, there is plenty of other drama that is in-character and way more interesting that the author could have tapped in this book. The two of them just becoming friends, now that the Mab situation is over, would have been fun to explore. And there was a shitty additional side-effect to the Bria-as-moral-police development: it made me disbelieve her relationship with Finn.
Which is too bad, because I thought their relationship developed beautifully over the last few books. But it occurred to me, during one of Bria's bitchy, self-righteous, condescending rants: how can she be in love with Finn? If Gin is the very devil herself, doesn't Finn at least qualify as a demon? So then either she's a hypocrite on top of being a judgmental asshole as in, it is okay when Finn does it, but not when Gin does , or she has no consistency and is now a flat, 2-dimensional character which I frankly think is the case.
Look, I get what Estep was trying to do. She was trying to set Bria and Donovan up for this parallel relationship. It was a re-tread, as far as I am concerned. She chose to get over her black-and-white view of the world. The events of the series since then should only have reinforced Bria's view of the world in shades of gray. There is just no reason at all for her to revert to her old self, and then twist into an even more extreme version. It was forced by the author to play against Donovan Caine, and it felt forced.
It was a bad call. Him popping up again was nauseating, to say the least. This whole book felt horribly, horribly contrived. Really disappointing. I hope this doesn't define the new, post-Mab direction for what was one of the best UF series currently running. View all 13 comments. Jan 23, Emma rated it it was amazing Shelves: magic , urban-fantasy.
I do love Gin Blanco! This was probably the best installment so far. It's set away from Ashland in Bria's home town. Donovan Caine makes a reappearance. There's quite a shift in this book- in Gin's relationship with Bria. Gin realises who it is she loves. There is a new Evil character for Gin to deal with. And Gin gets a proper vacation in the end. After the events regarding Mab in Spider's Revenge , Gin is now having to deal with other lowlifes on a daily basis and it's taking its toll. Finn tells her she needs to go on vacation and thinking it might be a good way to spend some quality time with Bria, they head off to Bria's hometown.
I finally get the whole Donovan debacle. Not that I was wanting Gin to get back together with him especially after getting to know Owen but I'm not sure if I was expecting this! I really do After the events regarding Mab in Spider's Revenge , Gin is now having to deal with other lowlifes on a daily basis and it's taking its toll. I really do love all the emotional drama but I think this was more like a train wreck. It was sooo hard to read about but I do love the way Gin handled things and Thank God Owen was sooo amazing I was really happy with the way this story drew me in.
I'm not sure why I was hesitant considering I really enjoyed the last book. Maybe I felt since things had tied up so nicely, we wouldn't get any of that fantastic tension and drama. Well, I'm glad it didn't pan out that way. Randall Dekes as a villain was marvelous Reading about him being Mr. Suave, Mr. Rich and Mr. Man-Who-Has-Everything did not prepare me for what a psycho he is Still, I was not prepared for what he did in the library. I had figured out how he got his powers but I couldn't figure out how Gin could get away.
Speaking of Gin, while I don't think she deserved what happened, she definitely needed to be knocked on her butt a bit. She was not listening to Fletcher, much less her own self and things got out of hand. I also think what happened help turn things around with Bria. Even though Bria saw that Gin was willing to help out, I don't think she understood to what lengths. I love all the gang together I'm just trying to put that out of my mind and enjoy their moments. I did get a little teary eyed when Bria and Gin were talking before they left to go back to Ashland but it was sooo good.
About time!! I do love seeing the growth in Gin The good thing is that she's figuring out she can have it both ways. I promise to be more open minded to what other bad guys will show up and to where things will go with all the characters I promise!! I do now, and I always will. Only mine. Always mine. View all 19 comments. Jan 12, Jo rated it it was amazing Shelves: gr , book-boyfriend , mine , stars , buddy-read , heroines-i-love.
View all 12 comments. Aug 24, Wanda rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in , vampires , public-library , fantasy , urban-fantasy , female-authors , when-words-collide. Can Ms. Estep have written an installment of the Elemental Assassin series without repeating herself ad nauseam? It would seem that she can or that an editor finally stepped into the breach. I have raised my star rating by a whole star in appreciation! I met Ms. Estep at a literary conference this summer and I like her.
I think that repeating things filled out those pages in a satisfying way and there is a belief out there that readers are distractable and need these frequent reminders to keep us on track. Plus, I think repetition is one of her methods of dealing with the world. She was on several panel discussions that I attended, and she said virtually identical things on each and every one of them.
In fact, she has been outed as The Spider and now has to deal with a lot of gossip and regular murder attempts. The villain is a good one i. I had thought to quit reading the series after this book, but I may have to amend that plan. This book was such an improvement that I think I will forge onward and see if this non-repetitive thing continues! Loving this series! Gin decides to get away from it all and have a few days away with Bria, Owen and Finn. Sounds romantic and relaxing but it turns out to be anything but the idyllic holiday that Gin so desperately wanted.
But it does give Bria and Gin an opportunity to work through their issues, and Gin finally gets to sort out her feelings for Donovan, the ex who broke her heart. I laughed at Finn's witty remarks and Owen's pointed comments, and loved Gin's kick ass attitude. Another great in Loving this series! Another great instalment in the series and can't wait to jump into the next one. Jan 17, Jen Davis rated it it was amazing Shelves: urban-fantasy , elemental-assassin.
I have to admit, I was worried. When Jennifer Estep wrapped up the Mab Monroe storyline in the last book, it felt like it could be the end of the Elemental Assassin series. Then I head two words that made me shudder: road trip. Few authors can take their main character out of the familiar environment and make the story work. But let me tell you right now, not only did Jennifer Estep make it work, she's given us the very best installment in the series to date.
After Mab's death, Gin thought her li I have to admit, I was worried. After Mab's death, Gin thought her life would get easier. But thanks to Jonah MacAllister, Gin's identity is no longer a secret. And every day, a new thug is showing up at the Pork Pit to challenge her. So Finn convinces her to take a vacation. Gin jumps in the car with Bria, back to her sister's home town, hoping to leave the violence behind. She also hopes she can bridge the growing gap between her and her sister.
I must say, Bria really ticked me off here. She is so judgmental of Gin; she blames her for things that are not her fault; she basically acts like Gin is beneath her. Very reminiscent of Donovan Caine in the earlier books. The woman is getting pressure from a vampire crime boss to sell her restaurant and Gin can't help but to try and help the woman who was like a sister to Bria for years.
The woman who also happens to be involved with Donovan This book is fast paced and full of action. But what makes it so good is that its also full of emotional turmoil in Gin's life. She has to learn hard lessons about the limits of her power.
She must decide how much crap she is willing to take from her sister. And she needs to figure out where her heart lies. Is Owen the only man for her? Can she let go of her old feelings for Donovan? Do I ever stop wanting to punch him in the 'nads? The absence of Mab and the change of venue gives the series an infusion of new life. It feels fresh without trying to reinvent the core of the series.
It brings back all my favorite characters and even some better left to rot beneath a bridge. It is unpredictable. And it managed to make me worried, angry, sad, hot, happy, and triumphant, all in equal measure. I couldn't have been more satisfied and I wouldn't change a thing about how it all played out. I can wait to find out what's next for my favorite assassin. View 1 comment. Shelves: urban-fantasy. Lots of good stuff What's not to like?
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Finn suggests Gin and her baby sis take a vacation so the sisters drive to Blue Marsh, which is the town where Bria grew up. Their bonding does not go as planned. To state the situation is complicated is an understatement. Fortunately, Gin had Fletcher Lane and his son Finn take her in when Fletcher found her at age thirteen scrounging for food.
They were her unconventional and substitute family. As the Spider she survived her duel with Mab, killing the fire elemental, and avenging her family she should be living in peace. She indirectly and almost spitefully wounds Gin with her actions and words. For the first time, I disliked Bria. The positive result is we see Gin at her most vulnerable. The focus of this book is mending broken bonds and healing old wounds. There are some lingering feelings in Gin but she is steadfast in her love for Owen.
When Owen arrives at Blue Marsh and sees Donovan he handles the situation with grace and maturity. What happens next between Gin and Owen at the beach is sigh-worthy. The Elemental Assassin series has life remaining to justify a continuation of books. He gathers intel for the Spider, participates in the killing, and runs some shady deals in his own business ventures. Am I the only one who noticed this? Plus, I know where Gin keeps her five silverstone knives. Anyway, that is what I would do in her position. The giant screamed and staggered back, but I kept right on going with him, opening his stomach from one side to the other, blood and intestines spilling across the white marble floor.
The giant screamed again, his feet going out from under him, and slumped to the floor. I drove my knife into his throat, cutting off his hoarse cries of pain, before yanking it back out. He toppled over and joined the valet on the floor, both of them dead. Trent stared at me, his eyes flicking around the room as if he was considering whether he wanted to fight or run. He should have run. Jan 16, Shauna rated it it was ok.
I had to really push myself to finish this one. Okay, yes, the re-hashing that had you skimming through sizable portions of previous books in the series has been greatly reduced but perversely, it's absence just let me focus in on what has really been my main problem with this series. That's right, the woman herself.
What attracted me to the series in the first place was the whole bad-ass female assassin deal.
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What I got was a guilt-ridden doormat. First book, I was happy to heap the large I had to really push myself to finish this one. First book, I was happy to heap the large part of the blame onto the unprincipled, holier-than-thou disgrace that is Donovan Caine view spoiler [who's back for By a Thread, isn't it lovely? I mean, there must have been a groove at some point? She does? I see. I'm sorry, I find that somewhat contrived.
No, that's not right. She and Donovan most definitely share that crown. You deserve better Gin. I know it. You should know it. You should make sure they know it. I really liked this series to start off with, but it's time I call it quits. I won't be reading the next one. Jun 02, Maria Dimitrova rated it really liked it Shelves: br-bbb , buddy-reads , urban-fantasy , fantasy , br-bbb I love Wednesdays! They're not only the middle of the week and mean that I just have to hang on just a bit more before I can indulge in shameless time-wasting during the weekend but also are the day we start our weekly UF buddy reads with the wonderful crew of people that over the last few months have become my friends.
So yeah you can say I'm always looking forward to Wednesday. Untagged spoilers! Because I can't really talk about my thoughts and emotions without explaining what elicited them in the first place. So if you haven't read the book stop now. If you like spoilers like I do go ahead. It's not that bad but I can't really go and tag every second sentence.
The Big Bad Mab Monroe is finally dead! But that has left Gin feeling a bit adrift. And also exposed since pretty much everyone that matters or doesn't know that she's the Spider. So people are flocking at the Pork Pit to gawk at her or try to kill her. And she's grown bone wary.
That's a dangerous situation for an assassin, especially one who has a painted target on her forehead. So the wonderful and mischievous Finnegan Lane comes up with the idea of a vacation! Get away from Ashland and all the blood and violence. The merry band is off to explore new territories. Or rather just one - Blue Marsh, Bria's hometown. Those who haven't read Thead of Death , the short story that shows us Mab's funeral, might be surprised by the coldness that seeps from Bria at the beginning of this book.
But there's a rift between the sisters now and Gin being unable to deal with emotions or at least verbalising them is at a loss at what to do to fix the damage Mab's torture inflicted on her bond with her sister. Because Bria blames her for what happened. In her head it's all Gin's fault: she didn't save her fast enough, she didn't kill Mab earlier, she was the Spider and because of that Mab wanted to kill her.
I can get that torture messes up a person's head but it's not only that. Now that there's no more danger to herself Bria can't come to terms with her sister being an assassin and not giving a damn. So basically Bria is acting like a self-righteous bitch. Does that remind you of someone? Yep, I was strongly reminded of another self-righteous cop under the name of Donovan Caine. Talking about setting the mood because the bastard shows up later. And guess what? He's still a prick. Gin being Gin can't really go on a normal vacation. So just a few hours after arriving in Blue Marsh she's swinging a chair in a bar fight.
Well restaurant fight but it sounds awful. The restaurant is the property of Callie - Bria's best friend. At first things didn't go well between Gin and Callie. Gin was jealous and as a result acted like a bitch. And I can't really blame her because when you're hurt by someone you love you want to lash out at someone.
Doesn't really matter who. But when a couple of thugs come to harass Callie, Gin can't just stand by and let it happen. Especially after they make the mistake of threatening Bria. Personally I would have been tempted to let them deal after the way Bria treated Gin but apparently Gin is a better person that me. Though in all honesty I wouldn't have been at the scene because I would have blown up in Bria's face and walked off long before that moment. Because lets face it Bria has no one to blame but herself. She could have never went to Ashland, she could have not antagonised Mab herself and all other little things that led to Mab torturing her.
And even not going back to Ashland wouldn't have saved her had Mab found out that she's alive since the crazy elemental though that Bria's the one destined to kill her. But she making Gin pay again and again. I was really disappointed. I was hoping that things will be better now that Gin proved that she'd do anything for Bria.
This tension between the two Snow sisters is what triggered the dream sequence featured in this book. It was a particularly strong one because for a change it had nothing to do with Mab and the night Gin's family was murdered. It was one of Fletcher's many lessons. One that Gin had to relearn again. That she's strong in her own right, with or without people backing her up. And that fear kills. Both those lessons played a role later on and help Gin survive yet another impossible situation.
But it was the first that resonated most with me. People will hurt you. But you can and have to move on. Back to the bar fight and its consequences. After disposing of the two goons Gin offered her help to Callie and that's when mister impeccable, the very definition of a saint Detective Donovan Caine walks in. He happens to be Callie's fiance. Poor woman. I really feel bad for her. Needless to say he treated Gin like trash.
Later when Callie was in the hands of the bad guys and would have certainly died if Gin hadn't interfered that jerk still had the gall to spew all that nonsense about how bad Gin is for doing what is necessary. Oh yes, Owen showed up : Much to my relief and glee. Sorry I'm not a grown-up enough not to enjoy Donovan's suffering over the fact that Gin has moved on! I relished every single scene of those two together. Owen getting possessive? I had to go and change my panties :p This book showed the difference between a functional, healthy relationship and a lust-driven fuck.
And I'm so glad that Gin had the good sense to work about keeping what she has with Owen. There was a bit of a false start at the beginning when she didn't tell Owen that Donovan is there but after that Gin was open about everything that had transpired between her and the good detective. Finally all that needed to be said was laid bare and Gin got to view spoiler [not only walk away from him, just as he did all those books ago, but got a good punch in there too :D hide spoiler ] This was the time that Donovan reached a new low.
Dude your fiancee, you know the one that was KIDNAPPED while you were lured away like the bloody idiot you are, is less than a hundred feet from you and you view spoiler [ kiss another woman??? And don't let me start on how you found the one woman in the world that's basically Gin without the whole assassinating people to propose to.
That's creepy. And pathetic. The bad guy of this novel is a vampire. He's the Mab Monroe of Blue Marsh. And he actually made Mab look nice and good. I won't go into details about what made him an extremely dangerous opponent. Instead I'm going to bitch about the way Gin approached this particular assignment. Someone was being really full of herself lately. I killed Mab Monroe. Fear my name! Because I can kill you with ease! And it almost got her. Gin thought that she's the biggest fish out there and ignored everything Fletcher taught her. And even when her own instincts started screaming at her that something was terribly wrong she still didn't stop to think.
It could have easily cost her her life or something even worse - being kept as a pet right alongside Bria. So Gin's arrogance easily could have condemned both sisters. And knowing Finn, Owen, Sophia and Jo-Jo they would have come swinging in an attempt to rescue them and ended up dead. The one thing I admired about Gin from the start was her reluctance to rely on her magic. And now she had started doing precisely that. It didn't end well and I think Gin learned another lesson or rather relearned another lesson.
And somehow among all the action Bria had an epiphany. She finally understood Gin and how much she's willing to sacrifice for her baby sister. Hearing Bria defend Gin's actions and methods to Donovan was one of the finest things in this book. Having that little heart-to-heart at the end of the book makes me optimistic about the relationship between those two. I'm glad that Gin finally manned up about her feelings and told both Bria and Donovan all that she had hidden away and concealed before.
It was time and the only way to start healing. This book was mostly focused on character growth and the evolution of relationships. But not at the price of action. So I'm happy with it. I was worried at the end of Spider's Revenge that with Mab gone things will be less interesting. I'm glad that I was wrong :D View all 4 comments.
I hate Donovan Caine so much, that having him in this book brought it down a star for me. Gin and her sister and friends go on a "vacation". The fights especially at the last were great, and Gin got some closure with a couple of issues, but wow Donovan I hope he never reappears. Christian Grey rated it it was amazing. Quick review Cover: Love it.
Rating NC for the sexiness of it all. Thumbs Up 5 shiny stars Overall: Fantastic read! Characters: Awesome! Plot: Love the surprise and the twist in the story. Page Turner: Yes Series Cont.? Yes, absolutely. Estep brought us back to all the reasons why we love this series. We get one heck of a surprise earlier on in the story and from there Gin finds herself in trouble we Quick review Cover: Love it.
Looking forward to the next installment. Check out my full review and pic of my book boyfriend at my blog link below. I don't think I could ever listen to anyone else do Gin. She has that character nailed. Lauren doesn't have a wide array of voices she uses in the series, however I never get confused as to who is speaking.
Again, Lauren is as fantastic as the writing for this series. Love it.
Two Blogs and a Book – SPIDER’S REVENGE by Jennifer Estep (+ Giveaway!)
Actual rating: 3. By a Thread was h Actual rating: 3. By a Thread was highly entertaining, mainly because of the change of setting, different plotline and interesting character development. With Mab gone the dynamics have changed and the relationships between the various characters are shifting and evolving. Readers follow this one character through her various trials and tribulations. The Bigtime books are basically tongue-in-cheek comic book spoofs. The tone is light, fun, and campy in keeping with the old television shows like Batman with Adam West and Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter.
But I wanted to write a different kind of book with the Elemental Assassin series — a dark, gritty urban fantasy full of magic, power, and danger. My city, Ashland, is a violent, corrupt, southern metropolis where anything can happen, so I wanted to make my heroine, Gin Blanco, as strong, capable, and deadly as she could be. Also, Gin is an assassin — she kills people for money, which necessitated the darker tone of the books.
But in the end, I think the Elemental Assassin books have a lot in common with my Bigtime series. Both books feature strong, smart, kick-butt heroines, cool magical powers, awesome action scenes, and steamy romance. Everything is just a little darker and grittier in the Elemental Assassin series, including the humor.
Want to cook like Gin Blanco does in the Elemental Assassin series? Then check out these recipes. Every so often, I swap out the recipes and post new ones. Note: I did not come up with these recipes myself. Put carrots into a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, and boil carrots until they are tender about 5 minutes or so. Drain water off carrots. Stir preserves, sugar, and carrots together, until the preserves and sugar have dissolved and formed a sweet glaze. Serve immediately. Note: If you are cooking a large bag of carrots, just add more apricot preserves and brown sugar until you have enough glaze to cover all the carrots, and the glaze is the desired sweetness that you want.
Using the mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat until smooth. Gently stir in the whipped topping and the blackberry pie filling. Refrigerate until cold and serve. Note: You can use any kind of pie filling you like in this recipe. Cherry works especially well. For a really sweet, fruity salad, use two cans of pie filling instead of just one. Arrange the chicken breasts in a baking dish. Season both sides with the chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and red pepper, forming a spicy rub.
The more seasoning you use, the spicier the chicken will be. Bake at degrees until the chicken is done. Before serving, drizzle the chicken with the honey for a touch of sweetness. Wash and cap strawberries. Let strawberries dry, then cut them into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Starting with about a cup of sugar, add sugar to strawberries until desired sweetness is reached. The more sugar you add, the sweeter they will be.
Stir the sugar until it is dissolved and has formed a syrup over the strawberries. Serve immediately, or ladle strawberries and syrup into airtight containers and freeze until ready to use. Almost everyone in Ashland uses a rune of some sort to identify themselves or their power, or say something about their family, alliances, businesses, and more. Here are some of the runes mentioned in the Elemental Assassin books:. Spider: A small circle with eight thin lines radiating out of it. Spider runes are the symbol for patience.
Gin Blanco had the rune burned into her palms by the mysterious Fire elemental who murdered her family when she was thirteen. Snowflake: The symbol for icy calm and the personal rune of the Snow family. Cloud: Jo-Jo Deveraux uses a cloud rune to identify herself as an Air elemental. Sunburst: The symbol for fire and the personal rune of Mab Monroe. Mab is never seen out and about Ashland without wearing her signature sunburst necklace — a circular ruby surrounded by several dozen golden wavy rays.
The diamond cutting on the gold makes the rays look like they are actually flickering — like Mab is actually wearing a ring of fire around her neck. Heart and arrow: A heart with an arrow through it is the symbol for Northern Aggression, the upscale nightclub run by Roslyn Phillips. Hammer: The symbol for strength, power, and hard work. The personal and business rune of wealthy Ashland businessman Owen Grayson, who has an elemental talent for metal and a strange interest in Gin Blanco. A lit stick of dynamite: The personal rune of dwarven coal mine owner Tobias Dawson, as well as the symbol for his business, Dawson Mining Company.
Riverboat and dollar sign: This is the rune for the Delta Queen, a riverboat casino owned by underworld shark Phillip Kincaid. The casino trolls up and down the muddy waters of the Aneirin River inviting folks to come on board and those their money in high style. Orchid: The symbol for delicate grace. Assassin Elektra LaFleur has an orchid tattooed on the side of her neck — and always leave a white orchid on the bodies of the people that she kills.
Lightning: In addition to her fighting prowess, assassin Elektra LaFleur also has deadly electrical elemental magic at her disposal. Viper: Brutus, an assassin that Gin Blanco has had numerous dealings with, has this symbol tattooed on his neck in honor of his assassin name, Viper. Shades of gray rule in this world where magic and murder are all too commonplace. The gritty tone of this series gives Estep a chance to walk on the darker side.
Kudos to her for the knife-edged suspense! The second chapter of the first-person Elemental Assassin series is just as hard-edged and compelling as the first. Gin Blanco is a fascinatingly pragmatic character, whose intricate layers are just beginning to unravel. Estep has truly hit the jackpot with this outstanding series! Funny, smart, and dead sexy. Gin Blanco A cook, waitress, and owner of the Pork Pit barbecue joint.
In her spare time, Gin moonlights as an assassin codenamed the Spider. Gin also happens to be a Stone and Ice elemental. He owned the Pork Pit before he was murdered and willed the restaurant to Gin. Fletcher was also an assassin codenamed the Tin Man before he retired, and he taught Gin every deadly skill that she knows.