jeudi 23 octobre 2014

Deadly Curiosities ( Deadly Curiosities 1) by Gail Z. Martin

 Hello to all!!

                    I hope this week is a good one for you so far at least better than mine^^ ( never contradict your body or it will make you pay double^^).
Now, i told you i wanted to try to read about as many creatures i could this month  but i also try when possible to match it with the event GGMMMU event hosted by Brenda ( see my post here) to give you some idea on the book and perhaps tempt you to participate in her giveaways as well if you have a few minutes^^

So today i decided to give you my opinion on Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z Martin.... it includes vampires, special abilities and witch, wizard so  little of everything.

Happy Reading

Publisher: Solaris
Publication: 2014
ISBN:  1781082332
Genre: urban fantasy, supernatural, ghosts, magic, lgtb ( light)
Violence: strong

Language: normal
sex: none
Public: 18+
Source: won (thanks Lettie!)

Short description from goodreads :

Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

My opinion:
          Captivating! When I saw the blurb of this book I knew I had to read it and let me tell you it didn’t disappoint. I was completely immersed in the story as the action start immediately and what a great adventure it is. The characters knows each others and they have worked together already so you are not getting a lot  of information and background to set the story, now you do get the background info you could hope for but sporadically along the novel so it quite fast spaced and you can’t stop turning the pages.

Really telling you all the good points of this book would be too long but among the most important one…one character is Belgian!! ( yes us!) Sorren the master vampire comes from my Country^^ and he is quite good, even better for animals lovers there is Baxter a funny little dog quite protective but  so cute and a ghostly one Bo even more protective. Cassidy is funny and I really don’t envy her gift, then Teag is also a fabulous character I really appreciate him, he is loyal, a good fighter, a great friend. On a side note he is gay and in a relationship but I appreciated that the author didn’t focus on that making the story accessible to a large audience., His boyfriend Anthony could become an interesting character as well but so far he isn’t into the secret and as a lawyer he is cautious so he didn’t grow on me except for his protective instinct toward Teag and Cassidy.

The plot itself was really well built and I loved to learn more step by step. There were several moments with humour and those happened right at the moment I needed to breathe a little because this is quite suspenseful and I won’t feel that reassured in a museum in the future I think ;)  The city description was interesting, I never visited Charleston but from what I’ve learned about the city it’s really the perfect setting for such a book.

If you love magic ( Viking one, voodoo, etc ), mysteries and supernatural this is a book you have to try, I really loved the idea of different groups trying to either own or destroy powerful artefact and the shop cover^^ . Yes the story is a little dark but there are good ghosts not only bad one and the ending isn’t a cliffhanger so really urban fantasy lover it’s a book you should enjoy.
On a side note:  if the characters know each other it’s because the author created this universe several years ago so she really masters it. There are several novellas happening before this novel, if you want to learn more about Sorren for example, but you can really dive into Deadly Curiosities without any prior knowledge.

Score:  5/5

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and no compensation was received in exchange for this review


lundi 20 octobre 2014

Halloween event: Ghoulishly Good Monster Mash Mix Up has started!

Hello to all!!!

               October and his dark magic is well in place so Halloween is far away.... which mean... Special halloween event around the blogospehre. Really it's not too hard to find several of them  but i want to introduce you to one that hold a special place in my heart: the Ghoulishly Good Monster Mash Mix Up or GGMMMU which is hosted by Brenda from Crazy Four books.

It's the second year she is doing is and it has become even more exciting, this time you get not only reviews, books suggestions,and great contests ( open to international for as many as possible)but also authors interviews as they will come representing one kind of monster.... Yes you heard right one kind because the GGMMMU is open to all creatures without discrimination: witches, werewolves, vampires of course but also, ghosts, zombies, ghouls, trolls, elementals etc... yes the list is too long to be put here.

As they are a lot of creatures who will get someone to take their defense, it can means several posts a day too!! So a lot of fun  for the rest of the month!.

Now the best part: the giveaways!! A lot will be  make their appeareance later  in the daily posts and i will try to update the list here so you don't miss any but today was already a generous program to start.

The main, all long  GGMMMU giveaway: you can enter for it Here:  main prize: a book of choice as long as it's paranormal or urban fantasy ( thus include one of the monster from teh event;) ) and under the established limit of price. You can also win print book like Shift happens by JC Mckenzie or the Necromancer betrayal by mimi Sebastian. All those are open to international ( YES!!)
US participants can also win Print copy of Shadows by Paula Westin or by Kelly Oram

Day 1 is dedicated to the beings with special abilities ( not witch,wizard  but "unclassified") -hey it starts well as the hunter in the Guild hunter series from Nalini Singh are entering this category ^^;; ( i will try to post a review for each monsters too^^)-

Back to the giveaway; today prize are ebooks: Dark Nebula from  WJ May or Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram . Open internationally you can enter here before the 26 October

Day 2: Werewolves with the sponsoring of the author Kim Grosso!

The prize for this werewolves day giveaway is a ebook ( under 2,99) of your choice as long as it's a "wolf" story or an ebook of " Tristan's lyceum Wolves" by Kim Grosso, or an audiobook of Logan's acadian wolves by Kim Grosso or a Dimitri coffe mug... that means 4 winners in total and yes it's open to international so don't hesitate to enter Here before the 28 october. Good Luck

Day 3: Djinns, Gargoyles and Dragons

3 differents creatures sharing today events, strange not so much in my opinion as i read a book where the 3 were included very recently^^;; so i can really see them having kind of friends meeting

For the lucky winner of day 3 prize: The choice of a ebook or print copy of Burn Baby Burn by Shannon Donnelly. Open to International!. Enter Here

Day 4: Vampires
Day 10

Don't forget though that each comment you make can enter you in her CIG giveaways as well to win any book featured during the month so another to win the paranormal book ( but not only) book of your dream for the CIG it's here:

So tell me what creature(s) is/are your favourite? the one you would like to read more about/ discover or which one are you waiting for during the GGMMMU?

good luck and i wish you a lot of fun!

dimanche 19 octobre 2014

Angels’ Judgment (Guild Hunter 0.5) by Nalini Singh

Hello to all!

                        In my area, today ( oki the whole weekend) we enjoyed a fantastic weather.. sun , no rain and at least 10 degrees above the normal ( up to 25°C!) as a result i tried to stay outside as much as i could to savor it after all.. this nigh teh rain is already back and tomorrow the temperatures drops.
However even the sun did not kept me from reading a minimum and since this month is about paranormal creature i plan to try to read a little about as many as i can. After gargoyle and siren as principal characters i decided today to go back on a serie i really love... the Guild hunter one by Nalini Singh...however with a little twist...because this novella, part of the Angel's Flight anthology, focuses on the hunters not as much on the angels and vampires but don't worry you will get more of those later

 So without more delay here comes my opinion on Angels' Judgement by Nalini Singh

happy reading

Short description from goodreads :

In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all...

This is a compelling, sexy addition to the Guild Hunter universe.

My opinion:
          Nalini Singh focuses on the Guild Hunter as a whole how it’s structured, directed and how it fits in the Angels’ world and to do so she is telling us the story of Sara and Deacon first meeting. It’s an interesting read if you are new to the series but for once, even if it’s a prequel I would recommend it to be read after book 1 and or book 2

It’s happening before the events of the main series as Sara isn’t the director of the guild yet and Deacon is still the slayer even if he works as weapons master already. In fact we discover the guild depths as Sara does, the fact that there is a intel section, that a slayer exist as a honourable function for when a hunter goes rogue which seems not as uncommon as it was first imagined.
Yes, if you have read the main series you know how it will end but at the same time you are surprised because if you knew the final result how it came to be wasn’t told until now.

Several vampires are being killed and a hunter is suspected. Such a situation necessity the Slayer to come in action since hunting fellow hunters is his responsibility. However Sarah has been nominated as possible candidate for director’s job and that means a lot of trouble ahead. Simon, the current director, knows that alone you can’t win what will come and he decide that Deacon can do the hunt while taking Sara as his partner to protect her if needed. Did he knew more? I like to think so but perhaps it will be matter for another novella.

The investigation is interesting as we learn about the guild at the same time and some characters, like Elena, you met in the main series do intervene.  I never imagined Sara like that either but she was a hunter at first (which we tend to forget) and Deacon is simply too good to be true. Until now in the series he was only in the background, we learn about what he is doing via Sara and via the weapon he made but that’s all. Now we see him as the fighter he can be, and what a warrior.
We also discover that Sarah has a kind of power we didn’t know.

 To resume it was a really good read when addicted to the Guild series you want a little more between each release!

Score:  4/5

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and no compensation was received in exchange for this review

mercredi 15 octobre 2014

Captured (Fallen Siren 0.5) by SJ Harper

Hello to all!

                         Halloween preparations are starting to blossom everywhere but  i'm more Christmas.  The advantage to this time of the year is the numerous blog hop, giveaways and reviews focusing on paranormal romance and urban fantasy... i can't resist even if my wishlist suffer at the same time.

I told you i was going to try to post more this month and i still hope i will manage while crafting on the side ( yes i'm not as far as i hoped i would be) and better to start now.

Today i'm introducing you to a series via the prequel novella ( which has been offered some times ago) the second book is releasing this month so i though it would be fitting to start with this one so today it's mermaid and werewolf and... suspense^^. -If you are lucky i will perhaps even post about book1 later this month but we will see- ( after all i plan to try to give you a little on different creatures so everyone should find one that fit his/ her tastes)

Happy reading

Short description from goodreads :

Join FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.
She’s a Siren. He’s a Werewolf.
Their mission is redemption.

Emma Monroe is a Fallen Siren, cursed by the gods and banished to Earth for her failure to prevent the kidnapping of Persephone. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now she works for the FBI and is on temporary assignment in Charleston. Solving this next missing persons case could be the key to ending her ancient curse—unless the temptation that’s her new partner gets in the way.

Zack Armstrong is a Werewolf. Tall, dark, and dangerous, he currently works for one of the bureau’s elite Child Abduction Rapid Deployment teams. In many respects the man is every bit as mysterious as his secret and perilous past. But there are two things he’s certain about, that he’s going to get his man and his woman.

When Zack finds himself suddenly shy a partner and a third child goes missing in Charleston, Emma goes from consultant to CARD team member in the space of a few hours. The abductions of the first two boys ended in murder, an outcome that neither Zack nor Emma can abide. As they race against time to track down the kidnapper and rescue the latest victim, they find themselves fighting something just as treacherous—a growing attraction that can’t be ignored or denied.

My opinion:
          I loved it! Really it was a wonderfully done prequel which could even work as stand alone. We are directly introduced to the main character Emma Monroe a siren -think godly being with supernatural power yes but no fins- in disguise who works as a FBI agent whose task is finding missing persons. She is doing that to try to make amends for not saving Persephone which is the reason Demeter cursed her.
She is called in for the case of a missing young boy by Agent Zack Armstrong who is in charge of that file and a werewolf.

The spark between them is immediate but I really appreciated that they put the case first and the investigation was well described as well as how it affected them. They can be supernatural beings, in secret or not, but they are not insensible. They are dedicated to their job and do they best. Zack is quite the gentleman, he sound loyal and more than sexy. Emma has suffered a lot  but I love how she can be strong willed. They are really good together and great partner.

There is some romance yes, even steamy one but not until the end which I found particularly appreciable with this kind of story. The suspense is well balanced by some humour little moments (and the love of foods^^). It’s well paced not too quick but not slow and since it’s a short story it’s really good.

We are not left on a cliffhanger, the case is solved, the characters have decided of what they want ( or can afford) so at the end we are satisfied… we do want more yes but in the good kind of want^^.

If you want some urban fantasy, with more than a touch of romance but investigation as the foremost element this is definitively the short story to try as it will introduces you to what should become a really promising series

Score:  4,5/5

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and no compensation was received in exchange for this review


samedi 11 octobre 2014

La Malédiction de l’Aube (Negociator T.1) par C. E. Murphy

Coucou à tous,

                           Ces derniers jours ont été bien plus remplis que je ne l'aurai cru et le résultat est que je suis en retard pour vous donner mon avis. Mieux vaut tard que jamais cependant et puis on a encore plus de la moitié du mois pour lire beaucoup plus après tout.

Aujourd'hui je partage avec vous mon avis sur La Malédiction de L'aube, premier tome d'une trilogie de C. E. Murphy. Pour la petite histoire je suis tombée sur cette série par pur hasard et je ne savais même pas qu'elle existait  ( j'avais une autre série de sur ma liste pour cet auteur^^;;) mais on dirait que j'aime de plus en plus les gargouilles comme créatures.

 Bonne Lecture

Editeur VF:  Harlequin Luna 2008
Titre original:Heart of Stone ( edited 2007)
Genre: fantasy, romance paranormale, urban fantasy
Violence: moyen

Langage: normal
sexe: non
Public: +16ans
Obtenu par achat
Quatrième de couverture de l'éditeur Harlequin:

Chaque nuit, seule au monde au cœur de New York, Margrit court dans Central Park désert. Un soir, un homme l'aborde. Elégant, altier, il a les cheveux blonds et les yeux clairs d'un prince nordique. Tentée de fuir d'abord, fascinée malgré elle par la beauté et le charme de l'inconnu, Margrit le laisse exposer son étrange requête. Et peu à peu la stupéfaction la gagne. Car Alban - c'est ainsi qu'il se prénomme - sait presque tout d'elle. De son métier d'avocate. De son acharnement à défendre les causes les plus délicates. Et s'il s'est décidé ce soir à interrompre sa course, au risque de l'effrayer, c'est pour lui demander de plaider sa cause auprès des hommes. Les hommes qui l'accusent injustement de meurtre. Les hommes qu'il ne peut affronter car, s'il se fait prendre, il mourra. Lui, le dernier descendant d'une race ancienne qui se transforme en pierre au lever du soleil...

          Une très belle surprise, je ne connaissais pas l’existence de cette série avant de tomber dessus par hasard et j’en suis vraiment heureuse. Je n’ai pas encore lu énormément d’histoires sur les gargouilles or je les adore assez on dirait.

C. E. Murphy nous offre le récit d’une jeune avocate métisse vivant à New York. Margrit est vraiment pleine de fougue et très idéaliste j’ai beaucoup aimé ce trait de caractère ainsi que son honnêteté et le fait qu’elle ne voulait pas jouer des apparences. Elle aime courir mais son insu elle est également protégée lors de ses sorties nocturnes par une gargouille solitaire prénommée Alban.

Alban vit en marge des autres de sa race et des autres créatures paranormales tels que les selkies, djinns, dragons et vampires (oui tellement de choix, c’est savoureux) pourtant il ne se mêle pas pour autant aux humains. Seul, il ne résiste pourtant pas à son instinct de protection et veille sur les joggeuse qui traverse le parc la nuit. Sa protection est silencieuse et discrète pourtant après des années à veiller sur Margrit il décide de l’aborder un soir simplement  pour l’entendre. Malheureusement le même soir une autre jeune femme se fait assassiné et il devient le principal suspect.

Pour protéger son honneur mais plus globalement garder l’existence des races anciennes secrètes il veut prouver son innocence mais seul il ne le peut il demande alors l’aide de Marrit qui se retrouve soudain plonge au cœur d’un univers dont elle ignorait tout. Cette dernière prend progressivement de plus en plus fait et cause pour son client et n’hésite pas à s’attaquer à un maître de la pègre, ignorant que c’est un dragon, tenir tête à un millionnaire, maître vampire et côtoyer bientôt des représentants de toute les races anciennes. Non seulement elle leur tient tête mais elle négocie avec eux, échangeant des faveurs et se mettant en danger pour découvrir le vrai assassin. Ce faisant, elle se rapproche également d’Alban, si galant et protecteur.

Le rythme est bien établit, pas trop soutenu mais avec des surprises tout au long du chemin pour nous captiver d’avantage plus on s’enfonce dans le récit et c’est univers si particulier et en même temps pas si différent du nôtre. La romance n’est pas le point central de l’histoire à ce stade mais on la voit bien prendre naissance. Au vu de la situation c’est un élément que j’ai beaucoup apprécié après tout les événements ne leur laisse pas tellement de temps non plus et il faut d’abord apprendre à se connaître selon moi.

La fin est peut-être un peu amère pour moi-même si elle laisse entrevoir plus qu’une lueur d’espoir ce qui nous offre la possibilité de nous arrêter à ce tome si c’est nécessaire mais nous encourage à acquérir la suite de la trilogie tout autant car on veut plus qu’une conclusion de l’enquête, on veut être assuré du bonheur durable de ces personnages auxquels on s’est attachés.

Vraiment une série à recommander si vous  voulez une bonne histoire avec du suspense et une foule de créatures paranormales et une romance naissance.

Score:  4/5

Disclaimer: Toutes les opinions exprimées ici sont les miennes, il s’agit de d’un avis honnête et personnel. Aucune compensation n’a été fournie en échange de ce dernier.


vendredi 3 octobre 2014

Divine Vices (Divine Vices 1) by Melissa Parkin

Hello to all,

                      October has started and i plan to  offer you more review this month as i focus on two of my favourites genre ( paranormal romance, urban fantasy) to fit the season^^.
I'm starting with one i hoped to offer you long before but sadly fate was against me in this case first i was quite ill and when i was better it's the photocopy machine that got in the way... two weeks to be repared... one page printed then broken again and one month to wait.... it's a reason i prefer print book^^ i can read it as soon as i want ( and let's be honest the actual books stay less longer in the pile than digital one)

Any way i'm really glad i got to read this one because it was good and i just regret not having read it before but then... it fit the monthly Theme too^^

happy reading!

Publisher: Melissa Parkin
Publication: 2013
ISBN:  0373277210
Genre: Paranormal, YA
Violence: mild

Language: normal
sex: none
Public: 18+
Source: ecopy in exchange for a honest review

Short description from goodreads :

 Danger seldom leaves its victims unscathed in the ways of seduction, and this lesson is one that sixteen-year-old Cassie Foster now knows all too well.

Nine months following the traumatic accident that claimed the life of her mother and sister, this high school junior has at last found a fresh start in the quiet town of New Haven, Maine. In the company of her best friends, Ian and Gwen, she’s bracing the usual turmoil of adolescence and taking all in stride… until the new transfer student, Jackson Matthews, comes walking into her life. He’s arrogant, sarcastic, roguish, devastatingly sexy, and the very last thing Cassie wants to entertain. But when circumstances drive these two together, she finds herself a bit too close for comfort as their bond intensifies. Plagued by unexplainable events, a sudden string of disappearances, and even a cult-related murder, Cassie begins to fear for her life. Is it all just a coincidence that these happenings began when this Casanova strolled into town, or has she in fact fallen for a real lady-killer, or worse?

My opinion:
          Quite compelling. It’s an  enjoyable YA story , quickly read; The beginning gives a insight of what the paranormal creatures are in the prologue so we know where we stand a little however  I found the the beginning a little slow at first which doesn’t last and before the middle of the book you are so caught in it that you can’t stop turning the pages.

 The characters are intriguing and the plot has some twists preventing him to be too predictable. There is a sort of love triangle (sort of since she didn’t know for one) but the “insta-love”, that could deter some, is explained later and it makes sense so it did not bother me at the end of the book.
I was immediately on Ian side, the good friend and, so different boy who doesn’t play by the standards. I guessed a little about him but not everything and I must say it was really well done and I would love to see more of him. He is quite mature for his age too. Jack… that one I didn’t like he is too egoistical in my opinion, too proud, I don’t trust him at all but he has me curious nonetheless. It’s not hard to see there are more to him however even himself doesn’t really know so only more books will reveal us more information.

 I must confess there were moments I was irritated with Cassie’s behaviour as she is afraid of someone ( won’t say more to avoid spoiler), even terrified but the instant after she is defending him with everything she has….  Not really understandable in my opinion even if ado can be quite undecided. That put aside, she had to grow up quicker than normal and she is quite mature for her age. She is trying to do her best but forgot along the way what she really wants for herself. Her friendship with Ian and Gwen is something precious to her and even if each one is really different from each other they don’t hesitate to fight for their friends.  I’m not that fond of Gwen has she likes dating different boys quickly and I don’t really agree to that, we get another insight of her character later but still something is off with her in my opinion.

The suspense is well maintained I really would be happy to read book two as soon as it’s available because one of the bad point of this book is unfortunately the cliffhanger just when you wanted more.

 If you want a classic a well written YA paranormal romance (soft one for this book) and don’t fear the cliffhanger, this is one you want to try.

Score:  3,5/5

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and no compensation was received in exchange for this review Source: a copy in exchange for an honest review, no other compensation was received.

vendredi 26 septembre 2014

He Ain’t Lion ( Ridgeville1 ) by Celia Kyle

Hello to all,

                         this week i'm a little late to post a review but i'm currently looking for all the material i could need to create the christmas gifts i have in mind and that takes time ( even more than i'm not sure of what i want to do or how long it will take) Anyway you got some giveaways to participate in the meantime and today we are back with our feline shifter reading goal.

This time i decided to check an author from whom i really loved a book, Celia Kyle has a series with bears shifters that i really loved and i discovered she also has one with feline ( and other) shifters so i had to try it since the first book was free ( temporary promotion).

So today  i'm glad to share with you my opinion on " He Ain't Lion"

 happy reading.
Publisher: Summerhouse Publishing
Publication: 2012
ISBN:  9781476234298
Genre: paranormal romance, erotica, shifters
Violence: mild

Language: mild
sex: very strong
Public: 18+
Source: free promotion

Short description from goodreads :

Life sucks… And then you get turned into a werelion…

Curvaceous, blonde bombshell Maya Josephs is looking for a little action to take her mind off of her recent break-up. Crazy werecats or not, an evening at Genesis is exactly what she needs. And when she meets the hotter than hot, super-sexy owner, Alex O’Connell, the alpha lion shifter is just the man to fit the bill for a one-night stand.

Dumped like a rotting piece of meat by her ex, Maya is on the prowl, fixin' to do whatever it takes to get herself a piece of the gorgeous furball. Besides, what’s the harm in a girl having a little bit of fun?

My opinion:
          This story was quite good but really more steamy that the level I was expecting after discovering this author via her Grayslake series ( my review here) , this one is really erotica and what was even more disturbing was that it started right by that part…We don’t learn a lot about the characters before things get hot, the only things we are told is that shifters, cats, lions in particular hold twice a year a kind of orgy with selected human  in hope to get cubs since real mates a few.

Then Maya appears, a human, knowing nothing about shifters but hoping to get a night of Fun because one of her friend told her about the party. Maya has been dumped by her ex because she has curves let say I hate that man even if we don’t even have a glimpse of him but still I didn’t really like Maya behaviour…. Yes she wanted to feel attractive and all but jumping on one stand with strangers just to prove she can? Not something I agree with and I stopped to connect with her then.

Alex is the head of his pride and a better lion than those I have read about in other series (though females are still as bad), he is protective of his kin and never expected to see a unknown human enter during their celebration. Knowing the risk he tries to make her leave but too quickly his lion part get the upper hand and he is wanting this  female and no other… for his benefit , Alex did try to ask Maya, not clearly, not enough but he did ask in his way before acting.

It’s only the next day when the consequences start showing that both characters learn a little about each other (and when I say a little is really a little) Maya was lucky to have shifters friends she didn’t know about. So the story is all about their steamy night together ( Maya, Alex) then Alex retrieval of Maya and a little bit of explanation about the situation. Yes it’s a novella, so it short but still I would have preferred more depth  not just steamy parts.

If you want a steamy short romance with shifters this could be one for you but if you want more story, less steamy and longer I would tell you to check her other series Grayslake which I really loved more and which focus on bears instead of feline

Score:  3/5

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and no compensation was received in exchange for this review