If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

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Title:
 Spinning Silver
Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher:
Del Rey

Release Date: July 10, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling

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Synopsis:

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.


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Spinning Silver is the second book I have read by Naomi Novik, and once again I fell in love with her characters and storytelling. You guys, I spent weeks savoring this book because I did not want it to end. Naomi Novik’s gift of writing is enchanting, mesmerizing, and overall, purely a magical experience. 

Told in multiple points-of-view, Spinning Silver weaves together the fairy-tale features of “Rumpelstiltskin” with a new tale of female empowerment. Multiple characters provide details of their surroundings but their narratives are intricately bounded and immersed into one main story. At times the storytelling can become so complex and dense that you have to pay attention to detail to acknowledge whose point of view you are reading. But overall the pacing is executed so well, which allows the narration to mirror a theatrical experience. 

In the end, I highly recommend that if you love fantastical fairy-tale retellings, you have to read Spinning Silver. I loved that there are multiple villains in this novel, and both of them are just as sharp and biting as the wintery setting. I admired the idea that romance and relationships are not taken lightly in this book; the fierce female characters make sure that love and respect are earned. Overall, Spinning Silver is a slow-burning fantasy that interweaves rich magic, cunning and bold female protagonists, and antagonists that teeter on being morally gray, and in all honestly, this book was a delectable morsel to read. 

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My Rating of :star rating

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Note:   Thank you to Del Rey and Netgalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Although I was provided a galley of the book, my review is of the final published copy of the book. All statements and opinions are my own.
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If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

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Title:
Truest 
Author: Jackie Lea Sommers
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck’s small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He’s curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening– and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister– and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Truest is a stunning, addictive debut. Romantic, fun, tender, and satisfying, it asks as many questions as it answers.

 


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Truest threw me into a whirlwind. It swept me in, carried me like a feather, and then knocked me over with a ton of bricks. The writing is gorgeous. The characters are achingly raw and realistic and oftentimes so heartbreaking. Sometimes I found myself wanting to give them each a hug, and I’m not even a hugging person. And in the end, this story is so riveting and overall stunning.

Jackie Lea Sommers’ Truest is not only funny and witty, but also fist-clinching, grief-stricken, and thought-provoking. Truest contained so much love in every aspect–love between siblings, friends, parents, old friends, and new friends. But with love there is also the painful aspect of grief, loss, and heartbreak. This book is an emotional roller coaster and I could not put it down.

Each chapter detailing Westlin and Silas’s growing friendship had me swooning, laughing, and gasping for air: sometimes from too much laughter and sometimes from shock. I was left with overall thoughts rationalizing the life we’re given, the people that enter our lives and forever change it, and how do we cherish the time we have with each other. Truest is definitely one of the most memorable contemporary YA novels I have had the pleasure of reading. 

star rating

5 out of 5 Stars!

 
Note: I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds, and I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are my own.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

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PACIFICA
Title:
 Pacifica
Author:  Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Marin is cosario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him. Sailing the ocean to chase adventure is in her blood. But these days no one cares that the island town her people call home is named after her grandfather. They have a new leader, one who promises an end to their hunger – and one who thinks that girls are meant for the kitchen or the brothel. Marin knows she’s meant for more than that, and with the sudden influx of weapons on the island, and rumors of a pending deal with the enemy oil nation in her wake, she knows a big score to gain the council’s favor is the only way to save her people, and herself.

Ross lives a life of privilege. As the president’s son he wants for nothing, but he longs for a life of adventure. On a dare, he convinces his best friend Adam to sneak out to the Docks, the site of local race riots between the poor Shorlings and the upper class. But when Adam is arrested along with the other Shorlings, and not even the president is willing to find him, Ross finds himself taking matters into his own hands. He journeys back into the Docks, ready to make deals with anyone, even a beautiful pirate, if it means Adam’s safe return.

When Marin and Ross meet in dangerous Shoreling territory he sees a way to get his friend back and she sees her ticket home. The ransom a president’s son would command could feed her people for years and restore her family’s legacy. But somewhere in the middle of the ocean, Marin must decide if her heart can handle handing over the only person who has ever seen her as more than a pirate.

Praise for PACIFICA

“A harrowing world where overpopulation is rampant and pollution stifling. The characters creep into your heart with raw, familiar issues of love, friendship, and family ties, careening you on a plot fraught with just as many twists as there are pieces of trash in the ocean. Pacifica will have you breathlessly fearing our own future.” ―New York Times bestselling author Sara Raasch

Praise for KRISTEN SIMMONS

“Like The Handmaid’s Tale, Simmons’s book serves as essential commentary on women’s rights.” ―Cosmopolitan.com on The Glass Arrow

“I’m clutching my mangled heart and smiling madly, so it’s that kind of book. Such gorgeous heartbreak! Smart, absorbing, and deeply human.” ―New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor on Metaltown

“A compelling, inspiring read. The characters had me rooting for rebels, fights worth fighting, and girls with gumption. By the time it was over, I had my fist in the air.” ―New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake on Metaltown


25Pacifica is the first book I have read by Kristen Simmons and I highly enjoyed it. Set in the future, in a dystopian world, this novel had everything from modern-day pirates, historical reflections, mystery, adventure, and a splash of romance.  The main characters, Marin and Ross, come from opposites sides of the social ladder, but their world reflects the same view: garbage has taken over the ocean, whales are a rare sight to see, glaciers and icecaps no longer exist, natural resources are low, and everyone is doing everything they can to try and survive, even the government. 

In this novel, I found Kristen Simmons’s writing so engaging. I read the first 200 pages in less than a few hours. Just in one sitting, I was engrossed by her storytelling, steady pacing, great world-building, and well-developed characters. Honestly, reading Pacifica felt like I was watching a movie–each scene steadily strung together with hope, anxiety, intensity, and sometimes swoons. What I loved most about this book is that there is honestly so much passion and heart in Simmons’s story and her characters. It was so hard for me to close the book and pursue any everyday type of tasks without this novel sitting in the back of my mind.
I was really impressed that in less than 400 pages, Simmons’s Pacifica thoroughly covers historical topics that impact the now and the future. These topics range from climate change and political corruption, which included forced relocation and internment camps.  Pacifica is a firm foundation story that vividly portrays distressing topics that people often want to throw under the rug because they refuse to see the fire that humanity has started. And as the fire burns, Pacifica adds a perfect amount of comedy and romance to help relieve some of the horrors that mankind inflicts in Marin and Ross’s world.

Overall, Pacifica is a gut-wrenching novel that will pull at your heartstrings. It’s a book about sacrifice, friendship, consequences, and morality. I liked that the story is not overly jammed packed with action; instead, it flows at the steady pace of a water current. Although important and shocking themes are explored in this novel, and with the meshing of hope and romance, this thought-provoking novel will have you at the edge of your seat to the very end. 
star rating

5 out of 5 Stars!

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 2 Winners will receive two sets of Kristen’s books
(Article 5, The Glass Arrow and Metaltown) in a TOR Teen Tote
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
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WEEK ONE
MARCH 5th MONDAY Wishful Endings REVIEW
MARCH 5th MONDAY Reading for the Stars and Moon REVIEW
MARCH 6th TUESDAY JeanBookNerd REVIEW 
MARCH 7th WEDNESDAY Fiction Fare REVIEW 
MARCH 7th WEDNESDAY Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW 
MARCH 8th THURSDAY Literary Meanderings EXCERPT 
MARCH 8th THURSDAY Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile REVIEW 
MARCH 9th FRIDAY The Avid Reader REVIEW 
MARCH 9th FRIDAY Teachers of YA’s Book Blog REVIEW

WEEK TWO
MARCH 12th MONDAY A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW
MARCH 13th TUESDAY Undeniably Book Nerdy REVIEW
MARCH 13th TUESDAY TFAULC Book Reviews EXCERPT
MARCH 14th WEDNESDAY Book Lady’s Reviews REVIEW
MARCH 14th WEDNESDAY Blushing Bibliophile REVIEW
MARCH 15th THURSDAY Chapter by Chapter REVIEW 
MARCH 15th THURSDAY Insane About Books REVIEW 
MARCH 16th FRIDAY BookHounds YA REVIEW 

MARCH 16th FRIDAY Book Briefs REVIEW

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Kristen Simmons


KRISTEN SIMMONS is the author of the ARTICLE 5 series, THE GLASS ARROW, and METALTOWN. She has worked with survivors of abuse and trauma as a mental health therapist, taught Jazzercise in five states, and is forever in search of the next best cupcake. Currently she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, where she spends her days supporting the caffeine industry and chasing her delightfully rambunctious son.

WEBSITE   /   TWITTER  /   GOODREADS   /
FACEBOOK   /   INSTAGRAM

 

 
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Note: Thank you to Jean BookNerd for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Tor Teen for providing me a hardcover copy of
Pacifica to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

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Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Published by: Scholastic Press
Publication date: October 18, 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Synopsis:
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Goodreads Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository


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How did I go six years without reading this book? HOW?! You guys, I loved every page of The Scorpio Races. I love the story. I love the family dynamics. I love the conflicts. And most of all, I love Puck and Sean. 

To me, The Scorpio Races was mainly focused on the importance of family and sacrifice. Puck, the main character, is not trying prove a feminist stance that girls should be allowed to compete in her island’s highly praised and traditional, dangerous water horse race. Yes, it does help that she is a woman defying the odds in her misogynist  community, but she is racing to keep her and her brothers under one roof. I won’t give too much away about the plot, but Puck is one of the fiercest female characters I have read, and she had me rooting for her cause throughout the novel. 

And, ohhh, do not get me started on the swoony chemistry that develops between Puck and one of her fellow competitors, Sean. Sean’s situation made my heart ache throughout the novel. I loved every page that allowed a friendship to develop between him and Puck. Both of these characters have a heartbreaking past; however, they are both bold and willing to do anything to change their future. And one of my favorite aspects of each of these characters is their understanding that nature is not something to be reckoned with. They respect their horses and only want the best for them. 

Will I ever read The Scorpio Races again? You bet I will. I don’t know if I will wait until next autumn to read it again (the book takes place in October/November), but you better believe I want to gallop back into this book so I can be captivated once again with the slow burn romance and heartfelt story about sacrifice and love. I cannot rave enough about this book, and if you have not read The Scorpio Races yet, stop what you are doing and pick up this book now. 

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

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Title:
Moxie
Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Publication date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Feminism

About the Book:

An unlikely teenager starts a feminist revolution at a small-town Texan high school in the new novel from Jennifer Matheiu, author of The Truth About Alice.

MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot!

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


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WHOA! You guys, Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu is so powerful, straight-forward, and the type of book we need in this fist-gripping-teeth-clenching year that we call 2017. I’m not going to lie, I came into this book for a feminist read AND I left the book invigorated, energized, and ready to take on the world. 

Moxie‘s main character, Viv is relate-able on so many levels. She is a good student that never falls out of line and always does what she is told. But she also has a knack for being an alert listener and keen observer. I love that she turns to music for escapism and courage. I love that her mom is her role model. And what I really liked about Viv’s character is how determined and courageous she is, even if she is cautious and over-analyzes all her choices and decisions (because who does not do this?). Viv is stealthy, determined, fiesty, funny, and overall, a kickass character.

And I cannot forget about one of my favorite Moxie characters, Seth. As Viv’s crush and a guy that treats her with respect, I was silently shouting in my head, “this is what a male feminist looks like.” His actions and words never fail to positively impact the book and Viv, herself. Seth is still trying to understand the world around him and he knows he has a lot to learn when it comes to feminism. I love that he opens up his mind and world to question authority, male privilege, and social viewpoints. Seth is not perfect but he never fails to take the steps to understand social injustices–he observes, questions, and reacts. 

In Moxie, Mathieu’s words not only heighten the awareness of sexism, sexual harassment, and rape in a high school setting, but she also provides a outlet for her female characters to  speak out about injustice, take charge, and push against those who downplay equality and social rights. Moxie is more than a “feminist” book. It is a story about maturity, making hard choices, and discovering who you and how you would act in certain situations. This book is equal parts funny and inspiring and awesome and empowering. It is definitely a book that you do not want to pass over this year (or ever).

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

NOTE: Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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Title:
 Daughter of the Pirate King
Author:
 Tricia Levenseller 

Publication date: February 28, 2017
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance

About the Book:

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


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HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL…I can not get over how amazing Daughter of the Pirate King is. I am not a huge pirate-themed book reader (although, Cutthroat Island is one of my favorite pirate movies), but one weekend I decided to binge read three pirate-y books, and Daughter of the Pirate King was by far my favorite out of the three. AND OHMYGOD I WANT MORE! I loved how quick-paced but steady the book read. I adored the swashbuckling characters, the surprising twists and turns, and yes, I swooned over the romance that is filled with playful bickering, irresistible kissage, and sacrifice. 

I love books that turn the tables on stereotypes, so of course, I loved that Daughter of the Pirate King portrayed a well-developed female pirate that was not a “damsel in distress.”  What can I say about Alosa–one of the best female pirates I have ever read. She has all the best qualities that will make you laugh, cringe, and surprise you. She’s snarky, feisty, a badass, a crafty trickster, and ignites ever page with the fire of a thousand suns. And one of the best qualities about Alosa is that she is not stagnant–instead, as her journey throws her into a whirlwind on the sea, she rolls with the punches and allows herself to analyze every situation with a new perspective. Alosa is definitely a person I would want as a pirate captain and a friend. 

I do not want to give too much away, but The Daughter of the Pirate King is filled with mysteries, twists, disguises, secrets, and the best pirate fight scenes. From beginning to end, Tricia Levenseller’s book will have you enchanted and hooked. Every page is something new, something exciting, and a pure adrenaline rush of adventure, swoons, and quick-witted banter. The ending is a nail-biter, and trust me, after reading the last sentence, you will be begging for the sequel. (PLEASE, SOMEONE, GIVE ME THE SEQUEL NOW…). 


NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: A Million Junes by Emily Henry

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Title:
A Million Junes

Author: Emily Henry
Publication date: May 16, 2017
Publisher:  Razorbill
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy 
Format: e-ARC from Penguin’s First to Read site

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Romeo and Juliet meets One Hundred Years of Solitude in Emily Henry’s brilliant follow-up to The Love That Split the World, about the daughter and son of two long-feuding families who fall in love while trying to uncover the truth about the strange magic and harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations.

In their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, the O’Donnells and the Angerts have mythic legacies. But for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them, except to say it began with a cherry tree.

Eighteen-year-old Jack “June” O’Donnell doesn’t need a better reason than that. She’s an O’Donnell to her core, just like her late father was, and O’Donnells stay away from Angerts. Period.

But when Saul Angert, the son of June’s father’s mortal enemy, returns to town after three mysterious years away, June can’t seem to avoid him. Soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn’t exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic boy she was born to loathe.

Saul’s arrival sparks a chain reaction, and as the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers conspire to reveal the truth about the dark moment that started the feud, June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored. And she must decide whether it’s finally time for her—and all of the O’Donnells before her—to let go.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


My Rants and Raves of A Million Junes

Last year, Emily Henry’s debut novel, The Love That Split the World, won me over. It was beautifully written, the story was intense and intriguing, and honestly that book still sits well in my heart. And you guys, Henry’s new novel, A Million Junes, is just as impeccable. The novel is a meshing of generational curses, smart and quick-witted dialogue, and eccentric magic.

In A Million Junes, Emily Henry’s words are lyrical. She writes at such an elegant and wistful pace that I often forgot I was reading a book. Not only do her words melodically carry you through a world that merges reality and fantasy, but her writing transcends you into alternate worlds where memories exist by the seed of a dandelion. Henry’s storytelling took me on a collision course of in-between worlds that carry the reminisced emotions of comfort, laughter, heartache, and sorrow. A Million Junes is mesmerizing and thought-provoking and truly a gem to read. 

In reference to the main character, Jack “June” O’Donnell IV often wears her heart on her sleeve. Her sarcasm and wit have no filter, which carries well-needed humor in a story that is filled with grief and haunting despair. June’s attitude and opinions change as the story progresses, and I like that her growth is driven by both emotion and reason. And when this sassy, passionate teenager meets Saul, an enemy to her family, I love that June’s world is set into a whirlwind of challenges and transformation. 

The friendship that develops between June and Saul is beautifully weaved through white lies, snarky jokes, and good rapport. Their chemistry and fast-paced repartee are both heartwarming and hilarious. After their first encounter with one another, I wanted every page dedicated to their conversations. EVERY! SINGLE! PAGE! 

After reading A Million Junes, I hugged the book to my heart. I am 100% sure that this book will be one of those novels that I reread, because I will forever want that enchanting feeling back in my soul. I truly think A Million Junes will be my cure for future reading slumps. I love that this book exists and I love what it stands for. A Million Junes carefully situates two characters in a familial feud that darkens the pages with curses and haunting memories, but, in the end, it manifests that sorrow into experiences of forgiveness and moving forward.

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NOTE: Thank you to Penguin’s First to Read program for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.