Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jackpot! By Jackie Pilossoph

Would you have a baby for 8 million dollars?  That is the question Frankie, a widow who has wanted grandchildren for years, presents to her son and daughter.  Jamie was burned from her first marriage ending poorly.  Danny has always been a playboy trying to make it in the acting world while teaching History at a rough Chicago School.

As both Jamie and Danny struggle to decide what to do with his challenge, they find things they did not even know they were missing or wanted to find.  They find fake seductions, ovulation kits, and a tarot card reading replacing condoms and birth control.  The challenge quickly becomes a life changing experience for both of them.

The story made me think that at a certain point in every mother’s life they start hoping for grandbabies, but most do not off to pay their child to have them.  I loved how Jamie and Danny both approach their mother’s challenge.  They found they had to choose between love and money and ended up becoming better people and more importantly better children to their mother.

Jackpot! Is a book I totally loved.  I found it addictive.  When having to stop reading, I found myself sneaking to read a page here and a page there.  Now that I have finished I am ready to read another of Jackie Pilossoph’s books.  The witty dialogue, from both Danny and Jamie’s point of view, the romance, the humor, and the wonderful characters are what catch my attention from page one.  Anyone looking for a quick easy read with a lot of fun should definitely pick up this book.

Reviewed by: Charlotte

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Couldn't Love You More by Jillian Medoff

Eliot Gordon is a working mother with three daughters and a husband, ok well not a husband legally but figuratively and two of the girls are really step daughters. This is her life, her family and she loves it just the way it is. She also has her mother, two sisters (and one is so funny) and an absentee father. Eliot works very hard at making sure the girls are all loved and treated fairly. She seems very aware of evil stepmothers and doesn’t want to be one. She looks out for the girls as any real mother would. Overall her life is pretty normal, with a fair amount of normal family drama.

Out of nowhere, her former college lover turns up. Her first love, the one that got away, the guy she pined after for years, Finn Montgomery. And when he shows up, Eliot turns back into the girl who can’t say no to him, the girl who obsessed over him. But this time it’s different, this time she has a family—a family who needs her attention and she begins to spiral out of control. And as she begins to spiral so does her family.

I Couldn’t Love You More starts off with a getting to know Eliot and her family, her life. I really enjoyed getting to know her family. Grant (her husband) seemed like a great guy and I loved how all the characters had their good and bad points. The only thing that seemed odd to me was how her sister, Sylvia kept bringing up Finn, especially when they all knew he wasn’t good for her. I guess I wouldn’t tell my sister anything about the guy if I didn’t want them to reconnect. That seemed odd to me, but her sister was one who seemed to enjoy a drama filled life.

Just as I was starting to feel a little bored, the story picks up a notch with the arrival of Finn. By this point I’m pretty attached to Eliot and her family, so when she starts talking to Finn—I got a little frustrated. I mean it really ticked me off. But there again, some women can’t seem to help themselves and I totally saw it coming with Eliot’s personality.

 I truthfully thought I knew where the story was headed. I was a little disappointed with where I thought things were going—but then BAM! Medoff threw the story in a direction I totally didn’t see coming! I’d say this is one of the biggest turn of events in a book I’ve ever read! From that point on I couldn’t, wouldn’t put the book down! And I’m going to end there, because you need to go get your own copy of I Couldn’t Love You More to find out what I’m talking about! I will not spoil it! I so recommend it!

Reviewed by : Laura Kay


The Five W's of Jillian Medoff

Jillian Medoff author of three books: I Couldn't Love You More, Hunger Point and Good Girls Gone Bad is here today at A Novel Review! I just finished her new book I Couldn't Love You More and I'm so excited to get to know the author a little bit more. 

The Five W's Jillian Medoff

I am the author of three novels: Hunger Point, Good Girls Gone Bad, and now I Couldn’t Love You
More. Although my books are all first-person, with a female narrator, they're more literary than genre fiction. By this I mean, I work hard to create three-dimensional characters (often flawed, always vulnerable) and fully realized stories. I've never been afraid of taking on complex themes or risky subjects--I like to write about the things that people think but never say aloud--and over the years, I'm tackling even more ambitious material. If a book has a predictable storyline or familiar situations, there's no satisfaction in writing it. A woman deciding which man she will spend her life with? I’ve read that story a million times, but a stepmother deciding which of her children she'll save in a freak accident? Now that's a challenge. 

 I didn't make a conscious decision to write in a first-person female voice. It was just the voice that felt most natural. I've written books in other voices, but they weren't as successful, partly because I was trying too hard, partly because I was imposing the voice on the story rather than allowing it to evolve organically. The good news is that after decades of failed attempts, I'm more agile and less hesitant a writer. My natural voice has become more honest because I'm not afraid to cut closer, to go deeper, regardless of gender.

WHAT? What do you enjoy doing other than writing in your spare time?
I have a career, a job-job, in corporate communications, and I work four days a week at a very traditional, very buttoned-up consulting firm. I also have a family—a husband and three daughters, parents and two sisters. So there’s constant drama. I’m a huge reader—I read everything and anything—and I watch a lot of crime shows. I’m busy, busy, busy, but at the center of the madness is the desire to write, the need to write. Everything else revolves around that.

WHEN? When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Almost all my life—definitely since I was eight. I’ve always been writing—moody stories when I was a moody adolescent, moodier stories when I was an even moodier teenager then novels when I got to college.

WHERE? Where do you write?
When I’m on my lunch hour at work, I write in my office at my desk. I also rent space in an artist’s loft in New York City—right on Broadway near Astor Place called the Writers Room. I’ve been a member for almost twenty years, and I’ve written all my books there. It’s basically a huge room with a bunch of cubicles, some lamps, no phone and no Internet. It’s an amazing oasis and surprisingly quiet (!) right in the middle of the city.

WHY? Why do you write?
I wrote an essay called “This is a True Story” that is available in both the print and eBook versions of I Couldn’t Love You More that describes, in great detail, the long, hard road that led to the book’s publication. It also discusses why I write. The gist of the essay is this: I Couldn’t Love You More, like each of my novels, was born of rage and frustration. Although the reasons for my rage differ from book to book, the underlying motivation is always the same: to have my say, usually about someone who has wronged me or someone else. (To clarify: nine times out of ten, the people who wrong me have no idea. Although I burn with the heat of ten thousand suns, I do this silently. I am painfully shy and overly nice (too nice, sometimes), but only my closest friends know that I can also be opinionated, competitive, and when it comes to writing, very critical of myself. But because I rarely articulate my truest thoughts (not out of fear but because it’s not nice), I need some way to express them.) I also feel very sympathetic toward people who have been mistreated, marginalized, and under-represented in our culture. My husband says that I carry the sorrows of the world, but someone has to speak up for those who can’t. I realize this sounds as though I write novels about migrant farm workers or early 20th century factory workers when in fact I write tragicomic domestic dramas. Give me time, though. I’m just warming up

The truth is that I'm not inspired to write as much as I'm driven, I need to write. That desire, that need, is as palpable and relentless as any junkie's craving, and it will possess me all day until I can park myself in a chair and do my work. I love it, I hate it; it's ecstasy when I'm writing well, it's despair when I'm not. I wouldn't wish this life on anyone, nor would I, could I, ever give it up.

I always love hearing authors say they knew since they were in grade school they wanted to be a writer. I know I'll never forget when I was in grade school and had the same thought! How very cool! Thank-you so much for joining us here today at A Novel Review, Jillian! We want to wish you the best of luck and success!

Get to know Jillian more by following her:

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Taker Trilogy by Alma Katsu

On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her, despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated.

Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a Puritan settlement. Consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, Lanny will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for all eternity. And now, two centuries later, the key to her healing and her salvation lies with Dr. Luke Findley.

Part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner, The Taker is an unforgettable tale about the power of unrequited love not only to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, and how each of us is responsible for finding our own path to redemption.

Now Alma Katsu delivers the highly anticipated follow-up to her haunting novel about an immortal woman learning firsthand that the heart wants what the heart wants…no matter how high the stakes. Fans of The Taker can finally indulge in their next juicy fix with the second book of the trilogy, The Reckoning. In this gripping, pulse-pounding supernatural sequel, discover what happens to Lanny, Luke, Adair—and Jonathan. The Reckoning picks up where The Taker leaves off, following Lanny on her path to redemption—and creating a whole new level of suspense. (out June 19th)


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Croissants and Jam by Lynda Renham

Croissants and Jam made me giggle, laugh, and chuckle with each chapter.  A romantic comedy for sure.

Annabel “Bels” Lewis has 2 days to get to her wedding in Rome where she is all set to marry the man of her mother’s dreams, handsome, successful, and rich.  From the beginning of her travels she finds herself part of one catastrophe after another  After missing her planes, Bels finds herself driving across France and England with Christian, an adventurous and handsome stranger. Christian  and Bels cross paths over and over causing many humorous mishaps These mishaps cause her to miss her initial meeting with her fiancés parents and her rehearsal dinner. Will Bels make it to her wedding on time?

Croissants and Jam is a wonderful romantic comedy.  With each of Bels mishaps, starting with her misplaced boarding pass, I found myself laughing.  By the time the car breaks down my husband is wondering what I am laughing at.  I loved how Christian just rolled with whatever happen to Bels and himself, never getting really rattled just figuring out how to fix the problem.

This book was a fun read.  The scenic descriptions made me feel as though I was traveling with Bels and Christian through France and England.  The happily ever after ending was not what I expected, but was a nice surprise.

If you are looking for a light and easy read with plenty of laughs and a little romance this is definitely a book for you.

Reviewed by: Charlotte

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Whole Latte Life By Joanne Demaio

Sarah Beth and Rachel, best friends since 8th grade, are in New York City to celebrate their 40th birthdays. Sitting at the restaurant table waiting to start lunch, Rachel is handed a note by the waiter. The note changes everything. Sarah Beth had simply disappeared. Rachel begins to search the city for her dear friend wanting to desperately to help her, while Sarah Beth was reaching out to her mother who’d passed away.

When Sarah Beth reenters the land of the living, she seems almost shocked that her disappearance had upset and confused those around her. She just wanted to rethink her life, maybe reinvent herself. Instead she has disturbed her children’s lives, shaken her marriage and violated her friendship. Once home, she seems to continue her downward spiral by calling an old boyfriend and hiding things from her husband.

While Sarah went looking for something new, Rachel found it. Rachel, a widow, finds a new man who came riding his horse right into her life. He is instrumental in helping Rachel see Sarah Beth’s side of things. Even though he and Rachel seem great together, there are so many obstacles in their way.

I’m trying really hard not to give too much of the story away, which is always hard when you want to sit with a couple of girlfriends and talk about the great book you just read! I think what I loved most about Whole Latte Life it could have gone in so many different directions. The characters were all imperfect.

I never really connected to Sarah Beth. I would have guessed I would relate to her since I lost my own mother, married with kids (and large age gaps). I suppose had I lost my mom suddenly I would have had a really tough coping with the suddenness of it. I just didn’t understand the whole not opening up to her husband or to her best friend. I suppose both Rachel and Sarah Beth's husband Tom were dealing with other things in their lives. 

Now the romance between Michael and Rachel, this was the story I was most interested in. I was surprised by Michael’s past. I really thought there story was just really sweet and seemed so natural.

I was surprised there wasn't more discussion about Rachel being a widow. I felt like she would have brought it up with both Michael and Sarah Beth because she also clearly understood how life can change fast and without warning. I would have also thought she would have had issues to deal with since this was her first relationship since her husband's death. 

I know I just pointed out some negatives, but I think it’s because I felt really invested in this story (which I think is a really good thing). I would definitely recommend Whole Latte Life by Joanne Demaio, especially for a book club—lots to talk about!

Reviewed by: Laura Kay

Friday, May 18, 2012

Downward Dog Upward Fog By Meryl Davids Landau

WOW!  What an eye opener.  On every page something popped out and made me think about myself and how I react to events around me.

Thirty three year old, Lorna Crawford is realizing she wants and deserves more then what life is giving her right now. While struggling to find her spiritual side, she attends a silent retreat and ends up making friends that have similar goals.  After the retreat, Lorna returns to the “real world” having to find a way to live with the negativity of her co-workers, her boyfriend’s difference in goals, and the relationship with her mother.  She works hard to stay positive and often helps others around her become positive.

Lorna is definitely a character I can relate to.  Although I am not overly spiritual, I love the calm and positive ways she dealt with the world around her.  The negativeness of the world around her gets her down, but she manages to turn it around into a positive.  I found myself learning by her examples.  Smiling at strangers, changing a negative thought into a positive thought, or just sitting and listening to myself.

Downward Dog Upward Fog is a definite good read.  Even if a person is not spiritual or into yoga, they would thoroughly enjoy this book.  This book is not just about spirituality, it is a book about relationships with your mother, boyfriend, co-workers, and yourself.

Unique Spiritual/Yoga Women's Novel a Book-of-the-Year Finalist

The most prestigious small-press book-of-the-year award, sponsored by the industry publication Foreword Reviews, just released its list of finalists for its book of the year contest, and Meryl Davids Landau's unique women's novel, Downward Dog, Upward Fog, is on the short list in the general fiction category. 
Reviewed by: Charlotte

For more information please visit:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

THE FIVE W’S Of Meryl Davids Landau

Meryl Davids Landau has written for national magazines for more than 20 years. Her work has been published in O, the Oprah magazine, Reader’s Digest, Glamour, More, U.S. News & World Report, Self, Redbook, Prevention and Whole Living. Some of her articles have focused on yoga, meditation, hypnosis, energy healing, chakras, and other alternative fare. I'm very excited to introduce you to:

The Five W's of Meryl Davids Landau

Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog!

I've always been a person who loves exploring new ideas, which is why I adore my other writing hat doing pieces for magazines (I've been published in most women's magazines, including Oprah, Redbook, Glamour, and More), where I get to to interview people and find out what they do and what they know. And I love exploring my own inner essence--via yoga, the stillness of meditation, and even chanting (although I confess you wouldn't want to hear me; my voice is awful!). I'm also a wife and a mom to two teens, which keeps life interesting, to say the least.

WHAT? What do you enjoy doing other than writing in your spare time?
A perfect day for me would start with a meditation and a long yoga session (it's no coincidence this becomes something my protagonist treasures), then I'd go to the beach for a walk on the shoreline (the best part, for sure, of living in South Florida). Afterwards, I'd meet my husband, kids and maybe some friends at an outdoor café, followed by a museum visit or a good read on a park bench.

WHEN? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I've loved writing since the fourth grade, although when I see my high-school-aged daughter forced to squeeze her essays into those stilted formats, I'm amazed any of us survived school with that love intact. I went to college intending to study newspaper journalism, but found that type of writing too rigid, too. (One professor said, "Newspaper sentences should be comprised of subject, verb, object, period.") Magazine feature writing turned out to be my love for the next two decades, until I discovered the joys of making everything up via fiction. Now I treasure both my magazine and novel writing.

WHERE? Where do you write? 
I still write for magazines, and I blog on holistic health and spiritual topics, so I write in my home office, during regular work hours. After I completed my novel I took a long break from writing fiction, but now I've started the sequel so I'm back to that, too. I usually work on the novel in my home office, also, although occasionally I'll steal off with my laptop to Barnes & Noble or Starbucks, or even a park.

WHY? Why do you write?
It's so satisfying to know that something I've written informs or, even better, moves the person reading it. That's been especially true with Downward Dog, Upward Fog; I've heard from so many women that the novel inspired them to take up their own spiritual practice, whether it's yoga and meditation like Lorna does or something else. The idea that words I typed into my computer with my little fingers have that power provides an incredible high that I'll never get tired of.

Thank-you so much for joining us here today Meryl! It was great getting to know more about you. I've can't help but believe tapping into yoga would be an awesome way to relax and really clear my head. Make sure to stop by tomorrow to read Charlotte's review of Downward Dog, Upward Fog!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

All The Difference by Kaira Rouda

Kaira Rouda, author of Here, Home, Hope, takes us back to Grandville in her newest release, All The Difference. We are introduced to a number of new residents and someone has a secret. Unlike Rouda’s first novel, this one is darker and mysterious. Throughout the novel we not only learn about these new characters there are also flashbacks for one young girl and we don’t know who it is.

Three women entangled with the same two men makes for some pretty interesting reading. There is Laura, a tv anchor who has no intention of sticking around Grandville. She is waiting to break into a big city television station and she isn’t afraid to step on anyone’s back she needs to in order to get her to the top.

Then there is Angie, Laura’s roommate. She knows what she wants out of life too and she’s willing to lay on her back to get her dream life. Angie appears to be young and a little naive, but she doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process of finding her Mr. Right.

Last there is Ellen. Ellen is making a home for her and her husband and wishing for a baby of her own. Poor thing is married to a tomcat that doesn’t really care if she likes it or not. Ellen realizing her dreams might not come true decides to go back to work and find happiness. The only thing these three women have in common are two men—two men that will change their lives!

Kaira has written another great book! I really enjoyed All The Difference. I will say at the beginning there are a number of characters and situations setting up, I did struggle with getting everyone straight at first. By the time I was finished reading I couldn’t help but feel like Grandville is a little like Knots Landing (ok aged myself a little). I hope Rouda continues to visit Grandville and we get to see more and more out of these characters! I loved the dual mystery going on in the story. Who is having the flashbacks and was there a murderer? The more I read the harder I found putting the book down. A recommend! And you don’t have to read Here, Home, Hope first, but I also recommend you read it!

I wanted to take a moment and thank both Kaira Rouda and Samantha at Chick Lit Plus. When I first began reading All The Difference I got a call telling me my dad had cancer. I was really having a hard time concentrating and needed to make a visit home to see him and get a sense of what was going on. Needless to say, I was unable to keep my blog tour date for the book. Both Samantha and Kaira were very sweet to me and I greatly appreciated it.

Reviewed by: Laura Kay

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It’s a Man’s World by Polly Courtney + Giveaway

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em…that is Alexa Harris’s’ motto. When challenges to join the all male team of lad mag, Banter, Alexa decides to the play the games the boys are already playing.  She soon begins to question if she has gone against her own morals and if there will be a price to play.

When I started It’s a Man’s World I was unsure of what to expect. I believed this book to be a man vs. woman story.  A story about a woman trying to make it in a man’s world.  There was so much more to this story.  It’s a story of Alexa making her mark in a man’s world. Alexa quickly became the woman I could cheer for and hope to succeed.  Alexa puts up with a lot of sexist gags and jokes by her male staff at Banter.  I found myself wonder if my skin would be tough enough to handle the situation with the same toughness Alexa does.  Fortunately, Alexa has great support in her friends, Leonie and Kate.  They tell her how it is, but offer her a shoulder to lean on through her nine months time at the lad magazine.

There were parts of this book that had my total attention and I could not stop reading.   There were also parts of the book that seemed to go very slow.  But over-all It’s a Man’s World was very entertaining.  It is not a typical chic-lit book.

Reviewed by: Charlotte

Now you want to read it, huh? Well here's your chance to win a copy! This giveaway is for US only, sorry! Leave your name and email address in a comment below for your chance to win and don't forget to welcome our new associate blogger, Charlotte! The giveaway will close  May 22 at midnight EST. Good-luck! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I'm very excited to introduce Polly Courtney to A Novel Review! Polly is the author of five books including It's A Man's World! 

WHO? Who are you? 

I’m an engineer by training, although I never worked in this field. I started my career in the City, which is where I got my first inspiration for a book. Golden Handcuffs – the lowly life of a high flyer was my first novel, based on my own personal experiences as an investment banker. Since then, I’ve been a writer and never looked back. I no longer write autobiographically, although all of my novels tend to feature real-life stories in some way. My novels are light-hearted, but they usually revolve around a serious theme, such as gender inequality, racism or class.

WHAT? What do you enjoy doing other than writing in your spare time?

I play football (soccer) – not with great skill, but with lots of enthusiasm. I play right wing for a local side, Old Actonians, where I also attempt to play tennis. In winter, I become a snowboard bum for a couple of weeks and in summer I splash around on a surf board. I’m still waiting for the sponsorship call from Ripcurl.
I also play in an all-girl string quartet, which formed part of the inspiration for my fourth novel, The Fame Factor. We got together in freshers’ week at university, ten years ago, and we play gigs up and down the UK.

WHEN? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I discovered my passion for writing accidentally – whilst working in a large American investment bank. I felt so strongly that the life I was leading was not the one I’d been sold on the graduate milk-round that I needed to warn other young people about what it really entailed. That was what went on to become my first novel, Golden Handcuffs.

WHERE? Where do you write?

I write on my little laptop, on a desk in the bedroom. It’s probably not very healthy to eat, sleep and write in one room, but I make sure I get plenty of breaks and exercise to keep me sane (and to keep my limbs working!).

WHY? Why do you write?

I find it therapeutic to carve out a story from fragments of reality, social issues and experiences I’ve had. It’s even more rewarding to hear from fans who say that they can relate to my work or that my books have helped them to see things differently in their own lives. Aside from that, I love the research stage, when I get to meet all sorts of interesting people with different perspectives on the world we live in.

Thank-you so much for joining us here at A Novel Review, Polly! Wow, you sure do keep yourself busy! If you would like to get to know more about Polly and her other books you can visit her at her website Make sure to come back later this week to read the review on her book It's A Man's World and your chance to win a copy!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

These Girls By Sarah Pekkanen

Cate, Renee and Abby are These Girls. They are three girls you can’t help but fall in love with. All three girls have history, baggage…things they are hiding…things they don’t want to talk about. Each girl has her own story, and their three stories overlap each other until they are braided together forming a strong friendship.

The smart, sexy and talented Cate believes her career is like a house of cards, if someone figures out her lie her career will fall apart. With a new promotion at Gloss, Cate feels she has something to prove the boy’s club and to herself. As her career seems to hit some bumps in the road, Cate recognizes she is missing what is going on right in front of her.

Renee wants no needs to get the promotion as the beauty editor of Gloss and she is willing to do whatever it takes. Even if whatever it takes means drastic measures to ‘fit’ into the idea of what a beautiful person must look like. The beauty of Renee is a beauty she doesn’t seem to see in the mirror. She is fun, funny and loving. Anyone would want to be her best friend, but she doesn’t realize her true beauty.

Abby had been happily working as a nanny and fallen in love with the little girl in her charge, Annabelle. Out of nowhere, Abby rushes into the story as a mystery--you will pull one layer after another to finally unveil her pain.

The more and more I read the deeper emotionally I connected to all three characters. I don’t always relate to characters or maybe to just one, but I related on some level to all three women! I think what surprised me the most, was while reading These Girls I felt as if I was becoming part of the friendship that was blooming. They became my friends. A definite recommened!

I just have to add this one line that JUMPED out of the book, “I think the hardest things to talk about are also the most important things to talk about,” (Pekkanen 306) expresses why we need good friends. Now go grab yourself a copy of These Girls!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Hi everyone!

I'm sure some of  you have noticed things have been a little slow here lately. I'm sorry about that. I have a review I need to write and a book I'm finishing up. My dad has been sick and I've been pretty stressed about the situation. I just returned home earlier today from visiting him and hope to get back into a routine, while we wait for final test results on my dad. Prayers needed. I hope to get emails out to all my giveaway winners by the end of the week, thank-you so much for your patience during this time!!!
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As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

The books we review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to us by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.