Trapped within the cruel world of hormones and bullies, fifteen-year-old Aiden is convinced life has more to offer him. His instincts are proven correct on the night he is awakened by a voice calling to him from outside his window. As he sleepily peers into his yard, his eyes slowly focus on a woman who says she is there to take him to Eden. Aiden is about to fulfill the life purpose he never knew he had.
It is in Eden, a land on the brink of war, where Aiden will finally learn to trust himself and those around him. Accompanied by Wolf, his sidekick Logan, and the beautiful archer, Elisa, Aiden is soon thrust into a battle to save Eden. Meanwhile Elisa, the only girl in the King's Army, is in the midst of her own struggles. Betrothed to a man she has no intention of marrying, Elisa is caught between the need to prove herself and her desire for true happiness. And now that she has met Aiden, she is more confused than ever.
In this action-packed fantasy tale, romance, adventure, and intrigue surround Aiden as he learns just what he is capable of when he discovers confidence and courage.
|Product dimensions:||0.54(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)|
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By JANELLE STALDER
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Janelle Stalder
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFourth period was ending. Aiden knew Ms. Whitiker was absent that day, so he decided on skipping fifth. It had been a long and traumatic day, and an early ending would be fitting. The morning had begun terribly with his arriving late, due to his father's old rust-covered Ford—that he refused to get rid of—breaking down, and continued with Mr. Beck yelling at him in front of the whole class. Normally, that wouldn't have bothered him, but Melissa happened to be in that class, making the embarrassment almost unbearable. If he had the courage to turn around and leave again, he would have. Unfortunately, he quickly walked to his seat with his head down, banging his hip on the edge of someone's desk, almost causing him to fall on his face. Ignoring the snickers, Aiden sat down and tried to make it through first period.
If that hadn't been the worst, the rest of the day continued to spiral downward. He had forgotten about a test in chemistry, resulting in a probable fail. Lunch was painful, since the boys from grade twelve suddenly noticed him amongst the crowd, and decided it would be fun to taunt him while he ate. Melissa just happened to be sitting with them. She was dating Bentley—who names their son Bentley? As if he didn't already think he was better than everyone else, they had to go and name him something like that.
Fourth period had gone relatively well, although it seemed to drag on, and all Aiden could think of was how much he wanted to climb into his bed and never leave it again. Maybe he could claim he was holding a peace protest and stay in bed for a week. Nah, his parents would never go for that. He could always pretend to be sick, he thought sensibly. The bell suddenly rang, and multiple chairs scraped the floors as the students rushed out to their next period. Aiden slowly got up and dragged his feet to his locker.
"Aiden!" someone yelled out. He turned to see Ethan speed-walking toward him.
"What's up?" he called back in reply.
"What are you packing your bag for? Aren't you going to fifth?" Ethan raised his eyebrows in question.
"Nah, I'm just going to head home. It's a substitute teacher, so I figured I could miss a day."
"Awesome! Where are we going?" He smiled.
"Well, if you're not going to class, neither am I. We can go for a walk to get pizza, or head over to the park!"
"The park?" Aiden slammed his locker shut. "Ethan, you know the park is where all the popular kids go when they're skipping school. I don't really think we'd be welcome there."
"Aw, come on, Aid. How will we ever get in, if we don't at least try?" he whined.
"You can't just try to get 'in,' Ethan," he replied, applying quotations around the word in with his fingers. "You're either cool, or you're not, and unfortunately in our case, we're not."
"You suck. What are you going to do then?"
"Go home and sleep." He started to walk down the stairs toward the front foyer. Ethan followed closely behind.
"Does all this melodramatic behaviour have anything to do with Bentley Ross throwing his pizza in your hair at lunch?"
Aiden stopped on the last step, causing a small niner to run right into him. He mumbled an apology while the girl rushed around him with a red face. "Where did you hear about that?" he asked angrily.
"Everyone heard about that, bud," he replied, looking apologetic. Clenching his teeth, Aiden dropped the subject and continued out the doors to the bus stop. "So is that a yes?"
"Look, I'm just tired, and I want to go home. I'll give you a call tomorrow morning when I'm on my way to grab you."
Thankfully, Ethan didn't say another word. Waving goodbye, he turned back and headed toward the portable area. Aiden sat on the bench outside, cursing his life. The bus arrived after five minutes, the doors opening like the doors to heaven. It would take him home, away from the torture that was high school. Life has to get better than it is now, he thought wistfully. High school was only four years of his life, but at this rate it seemed like it would last forever. When the year began, he had thought it would get mildly better. He wasn't in grade nine anymore, but ten didn't seem to be improving at all.
The first hurdle he had to overcome was his voice. Last year it had been in the midst of changing, and every squeak caused him an immense amount of embarrassment. Over the summer it had finally settled down, and now he had a nice smooth voice. He had grown a bit, though he didn't gain an ounce of weight, even though he had tried all summer long. Against his mother's instructions, he had tried drinking protein shakes to put on some pounds, but his overactive metabolism refused to be slowed down. Now he was just tall and lanky, which wasn't very attractive to the girls in his school. His hair was a dark blond, and his eyes were a light shade of green, but were hidden by his thick-rimmed glasses.
In grade nine he had dated a girl named Alicia, but that didn't last long, and since then there had been no others. He might be tall, and slightly underweight, but he didn't think his face was necessarily ugly. He had a strong, square jaw, and a narrow, straight nose. He styled his hair in the way all the other guys did, messy but styled, and yet no one seemed to notice him. That was his problem: he simply blended into the background. There was nothing that made him stand out in a crowd, nothing that made him special. It was aggravating, and increasingly depressing.
He pulled the cord, and the bus came to a halt not far down the street from his house. He walked up the stone path to the large, black, wooden front door. His parents had just bought the place the summer before high school started. He had grown up in Toronto, close to all that the city had to offer, and surrounded by all his friends. Then one day his parents decided they wanted to move outside of the city to a smaller town, where it would be ideal to raise a small child. His mother, now thirty-six, had found out she was expecting again, something no one had foreseen. Eddie had been a complete surprise to them all, and was the real reason his life had been turned upside down. There was always a slight feeling of bitterness when he reflected on his life, but he couldn't really blame the little thing. She was too cute for him to really blame her. She was about a year and a half now, and already a walking, drooling, sticky monster.
The town they had moved to was a small place called Glen Williams. It was close to other larger cities, but the town itself was small. There was one park, one little convenience store near his house, and a few smaller shops, but that was it. The house itself was nice, the backyard backing onto the Credit River, but he missed the city life. Not only was there nothing to do here, but he also didn't have any of his friends around. On his first day of grade nine he had met Ethan, who had immediately become his best friend in the new school. Besides him, however, he had no one. His parents always seemed to be concerned by this. They assured him it was only because they were still new to the area, and eventually he'd start making more friends. He had doubted it when they first arrived, and now—almost two years later—he still doubted it.
The house itself was a beautifully restored Victorian house from the eighteen hundreds. The red brick was classic, and the dark black door and shutters stood out against it. The inside had been renovated by the previous owner. When you walked in, there was a large living room on your right, where a magnificent dark mahogany fireplace sat in the middle of the outside wall. The living room furniture sat around the fireplace, with a grand piano in the far corner. To your right was the dining room, which currently sat empty, due to the fact that Aiden's parents couldn't decide on a nice enough set to fill it. The main entrance had the large staircase in the middle that led up to the second floor.
Farther down the front hall was the kitchen, which had been updated the most. There was a huge island, which had copper pots hanging decoratively above it. The countertop was a beautiful green granite, and the cupboards were off-white. Off the kitchen was their family room. It was filled with big comfy sofas, and a fifty-two-inch flat-screen television that hung on the wall. Even though, in Aiden's eyes, the location sucked, the house itself was much nicer than anything they had lived in before.
As he entered the house, he could hear Eddie crying in the kitchen. His mother was singing "Barney" to try to cheer her up, but from the sound of it, it wasn't working.
"Hello," he greeted them as he walked down the hall.
"Aiden?" his mom called out, confused. "What are you doing home so early?"
"Our teacher let us out, so I came home," he lied. "Hi, Eddie." He smiled at his baby sister. She returned his smile, her tears stopping immediately.
"Of course." His mother sighed at his magic ability to instantly make the baby happy. He pulled up a chair beside her and started tickling her tiny feet. She laughed in response, reaching out with her food-covered hands to grab his face.
After entertaining her for a bit, Aiden said he was going to do some homework and climbed the stairs to his bedroom. Luckily, he was given the room in the attic. The family that had lived there before had made the rather large attic into a fourth bedroom, which he now occupied. It had low vaulted ceilings in some parts, but all in all it was the best room in the house. What made it the most convenient was the distance from his parents' room. It was painted a medium shade of blue, and held his queen-size bed, a dresser, and a small desk. It was a rather boring room, he admitted, just like him. Taking off his sweater, he lay down in bed and started to doze off. It wasn't long before he fell into a deep sleep.
"Aiden, dinner!" his dad yelled up the stairs. Aiden sat up in a daze, not realizing how long he had been sleeping . His clock showed that it was already six in the evening. Damn it, he thought. Now he was never going to be able to fall asleep later.
"Coming," he called back, putting a halt to his father's often inevitable search for his son.
Slowly walking into the kitchen, he could tell something was off about his parents the moment he sat down.
"I received a call from your school while you were getting your beauty sleep," his mother said through pursed lips. "Want to tell me again, about how your teacher let you out early?"
His father sat silently with his face in the newspaper. Great, Aiden thought. Here comes a lecture.
"I just didn't feel like going, okay?" he replied, pushing his hair back. This was a habit of his, which resulted in his hair looking like a complete mess all the time.
"Okay? Sure, why wouldn't that be okay?" his mother replied sarcastically. Her tone wasn't lost on him. "Of course that's not okay, Aiden!" she continued. "Why would you skip school?"
"What is the big deal? It was a supply teacher, so we wouldn't be doing anything important."
"You still need to go. Michael, back me up!"
"Your mother is right," his father added absently.
"What? What do you want me to say?" his father asked, lowering the newspaper. "Like we didn't skip classes once in a while." If looks could kill, his father would have been dead at that moment. His mother's eyes burned.
"That is not the point. We don't want him to be missing classes."
Sighing, his father turned and finally looked at him. "Aiden, don't skip again. Got it?"
"Yes, sir," he replied. They all knew he would, but as parents they had to say something like that. The rest of dinner went by without incident, but the same could not be said for the rest of the night. At around nine, he heard a slight tap on his bedroom door. It creaked open, and his mother's head peeped around the corner.
"Can I come in?" she asked quietly.
"Sure," he answered, shrugging. She slowly walked in, taking notice of the piles of laundry that littered the floor. He knew it took a lot of restraint for her not to say anything about it. "What's up?"
She sat down on the edge of his bed, smiling down at him like she used to do when he was a small kid. "I just wanted to talk."
"Well, I wanted to see how things are going at school this year."
"Mom, it's the middle of the year already—why would you be interested now?"
She shrugged her shoulders indifferently. He could tell she was trying to act casual about the situation. "Because you never skipped classes in your old school, so it makes me wonder why you would do it now."
"My old school wasn't high school," he pointed out. "People don't skip elementary school."
"That's true, I suppose." She nodded her head. "So everything is okay, then? No one's giving you a hard time?"
His face felt like it was heating up, so he quickly looked back down at the book he had been reading. Hopefully, she wouldn't take notice, but it was unlikely. Mothers seem to have a sixth sense about these things when it comes to their children. There had never been a time in his life when his mother hadn't known something was wrong with him. The case with his school wasn't something he really wanted to talk about though. It was embarrassing for him to tell his own mother what a loser he was.
"Everything is fine, Mom. No worries." She sat looking at him for a minute, before taking the hint and getting up to leave.
"All right, well, I'll leave you to do your work then," she said, leaning down to kiss him on the head. "Goodnight."
"'Night," he replied as she shut the door behind her. Feeling a strong need for some fresh air, Aiden walked over to the small window that was the only source of natural light in his room and opened it up to feel the night breeze. Some days were just worse than others, he told himself. Things would get better—they had to.
It didn't start to get better the next day. On his way to school, his father's piece of crap car died, making him late again for first period. This time he had the sense enough to skip it altogether and avoid the wrath of his teacher. Thankfully, his mother agreed to call the office and explain his absence. Before second period, someone had spilled milk in the hall, which had made the tile floors just slippery enough to send him flat on his ass as everyone rushed to class. If that wasn't humiliating enough, it also happened to be right in front of Melissa's locker. Ethan hurried over to help him up, but it didn't save him from being the laughing stock of the whole school again.
"Are you okay, Aiden?" Melissa asked, bending down while he still sat on the floor.
"I'm fine," he mumbled awkwardly, taking Ethan's hand and hauling himself up. Walking away, he cursed himself for not taking the opportunity to spark up an actual conversation with Melissa. He only had had four conversations with her to date, and all them had been school related. That could have been his chance to have a regular one without answering a question about an assignment, or their homework, but he blew it. Figures, he thought crossly.
During lunch, he had the presence of mind to sit himself on the opposite side of the cafeteria from Bentley and his crew of older douche bags. Thankfully, Ethan decided to skip during his lunch and sat with him as company. Aiden suspected he did it on purpose, to save him from any further humiliation, but neither said anything.
"Look how pretty she is when she laughs," Aiden said, finding himself staring at Melissa from where he sat. She had such a pretty mouth, and always swung her head back when she laughed really hard. Her chestnut hair came down to the middle of her back. She wore the front with a blunt bang along her forehead. She had huge brown eyes that seemed to sparkle.
Ethan looked over his shoulder uninterestedly. "I don't know what you see in her," he commented.
Without thinking, Aiden picked up a fry and threw it at Ethan's face. "What do you mean? She's gorgeous."
"Are you defending your woman's honour with a tossed fry?" Ethan asked with raised eyebrows. "Should I bring in the big guns and start throwing pudding?"
"No!" He held up his hands in defence. "That's all I need, a food fight started by me."
"It's not that I don't think she's pretty, but I don't find her pretty enough to be worshiped, quite like you seem to."
Aiden shrugged his shoulders in disagreement. "Everyone has their type, I suppose."
Excerpted from Eden by JANELLE STALDER Copyright © 2011 by Janelle Stalder. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Eden was a delightfully charming read. We have amazing character development, a sexy bad boy, an endearing awkward teenager, and an incredibly unique story. What an adventure! Aiden is a 15 year old modern high school student going through your typical awkward stage but is so incredibly sweet. When a witch brings him over to Eden to fullfil his destiny as their champion, he has his doubts that a tall lanky "loser" like himself could possibly be their champion. Never the less he dives in diligently to his training. Aiden grows close to his fellow soldiers in training and the dynamic between him Elise, Wolf, and Logan is captivating. Meanwhile we also seamlessly change perspectives and journey with Callum while on his quest for vengeance. After spending his life dedicated to learning by his fathers side while watching his older brother James become great at being the rake he expected his father to pass the crown to him. However on his deathbed the King named James as his successor. Callum spends the next 10 years planning his vengeance... I know he doesn't sound all that great but Stalder does a magnificent job at giving us bread crumbs to reveal there is more to this bad boy than his quest. And when I picture Orlando Bloom in the role how can I not melt? This is a book perfect for all ages. Venture into Eden, an exceptional world where worlds collide, tensions mount, love ensues, and war escalates. Put Janelle Stalder on you watch list, this debut author has it all. I am going to start an new feature for self published authors, giving my *opinion* on how polished and professional the novel is since helping Indie's is my passion. So Along with my rating you will see some new categories. Rating: 4 Stars Recommended for: Teens and adults, boys & girls! Cover: Not crazy about the cover, if this hadn't been recommended to me it might have not caught my eye. Editing: Really surprising, I didn't find any errors that were majorly distracting from the story Writing: Exceptional, POV changes are seamless & character development is outstanding. Overall Polished Rating: 7 out of 10, with a new cover it would be a 10 See this review how it was intended with pictures on the sharearead dot com blog
Eden is the first book in the Eden series by Janelle Stalder. I read this as part of a R2R This book starts with a prologue and introduces the conflict going on in Eden for which the book's meat of the story takes place. I loved that Aiden, who is fifteen and bullied at school, finds himself called from his world to the magical world of Eden to fulfill his purpose to help save Eden from the war being waged there. As he leaves his mundane life behind, he finds new friends, a new purpose and a new confidence he never expected. And to add to that, he finds a love and friendships that he will never forget! This book was a really great read. I liked it a lot. The story was very well written and the characters were interesting and likable. I felt myself immersed in the happenings of Eden and just couldn't be forced to put it down until I had it read. I loved the relationships that developed between Aiden and Elise, Logan, Felix and Wolf. And though they came much later in the story, I was very intrigued with Rose and Callum. I was just impressed with how well they were written. I loved the friendships, the romance and the conflict. Well done! I will admit the beginning, after the prologue, was a bit slow. It was a bit daunting to be thrown from horse's and knights to modern day vehicles and school. But once I got into it, I was hooked. I think this was an excellent start to what I believe will be an amazing series. Im looking forward to seeing what happens next in book two!
Thank you R2R and the author for allowing me to read this book for a review! sigh :) I knew it was going to have one of those crazy endings, but I was NOT seeing that one... I don't know, something about a typical, insecure, scared teenage boy becoming a man is just awesome! The writing in this book is FANTASTIC! I know it says Eden#1 as in maybe more to come, & I serious HOPE there's more! PLEASE!!! Let's start with Aiden... I actually really like him. He's so worried about so many things, yet he steps up to the plate for people he's come to care about! and seriously, who doesn't wanna hang out with a HOT chick, who just happens to be the Army leaders daughter :) Elisa is straight up the coolest chick ever! I wanna be her, really! She's gorgeous, she's talented, she's seriously skilled with a bow & arrow, and she's just cool! I think she might be my favorite character! Also, there are some fantastic supporting characters that are just awesome, but I will not spoil that for you. You even get a few clips from other's POV, and that's what gives this book a whole different edge. You see things from other sides :) All in all, there's nothing bad for me to say, except-hurry and gimme more, now! :) 5 PAWS from me!!
Aidan is 15 years old and I guess you could call him a bit of a geek. He is unpopular at school and gets picked on by the popular kids. He is tall and thin and not a fighter. One night, he is awoken by a bright light in his garden. When he goes to investigate, he is whisked away to Eden, another dimension, by Diana, who is a witch. She tells him he is to be a great warrior who will help them to win the war against the North. He is helped along the way by Elisa, the daughter of the captain of the army. Wolfe and Logan who are in their last year of training before they are fully fledged members of the Kings army. This book wasn't really holding my interest and I sometimes found myself skimming. I honestly wanted to stop but I always try to go to about 50% before I give up, just to be fair. And because sometimes a book that's slow to start can become a firm favourite. At about 48% there was a turnaround, with the introduction of Callum and Rose. I was a lot more interested in their story and was disappointed when it would return to Aidan and his friends. Unfortunately, their story just couldn't hold my attention and I wouldn't have finished this book if not for Callum and Rose. I was really interested in how things were going to work out between them, especially considering how they met. Besides the fact that this was a story that just wasn't for me, there was very little to fault it on. It was well written and there is no doubt that Janelle Stalder is an extremely talented author. Her world building and character descriptions could not be faulted and she wrote through the eyes of a 15 year old boy expertly. I was immediately taken with all of the characters and found them all interesting in themselves, I just couldn't seem to build a lot of interest around the story. I also really liked Wolf, although at the start it seemed like I wouldn't. There was no actual romance in this book, more so the lead up to it. Where you know its going to come, you just don't know when and that's something I love. This book rounded up nicely in the end but I was saddened by the fact that we didn't revisit Callum and Rose just one more time. And I will probably only read the next book in the series if I know they will be in it. If I had to find fault with this book, it would probably be the multiple POV's but then I totally enjoyed that we got to see Callum and Rose's POV too so that is kind of contradictory. I will be interested in seeing reviews for Eden-West and if Callum and Rose are there, I will definitely be heading back to Eden to visit them. See this review on my blog Paranormal Book Fan
Eden is a great read filled with enjoyable characters. I really liked that the story was told from a variety of viewpoints. Aiden was endearing and I found his journey from our world to the parallel world of Eden compelling. While he might be considered the main character his storyline was not the one I enjoyed the most. My favorite storyline was Callum and Rose’s. I found Callum’s character particularly intriguing. From his viewpoint and Rose’s it was hard to tell what side of the war to cheer for. I can’t wait to find out more about those two in future books. An excellent start to a new series! I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
~Free by Author~ I love these type of books, and there are quite a few. But I have to say this one was very well written, with characters who are fully realized and engaging. I practically devoured this...I did not want it to end! It draws you in and you find yourself flipping through it like crazy and sneaking it when you should be doing something else. But all too soon, it ended. I'm ready for some more. I must find out what happens! A great job and thanks so much for the opportunity to enjoy it.
Aiden is one of the “uncool” teens at his school and often life gets kind of tough for him. He just doesn’t seem to fit in without problems and at fifteen, face it, life seemed to be pretty difficult. Then, one night, Aiden is taken to another world by a beautiful witch to fulfill a prophecy and save a kingdom from evil invaders. Seriously? Aiden is awestruck to be thrown into a world with Kings and castles, wars and magic. As if in a time warp, he is totally out of his element in a land that is brutally medieval, and he is thought to be its savior! Is this his chance to be somebody? To do something great? To be a hero? How easily everyone accepts him, not even knowing his secret, that he is not part of their world. Can he save his new friends? Can he lead his army to victory? Will Aiden be able to leave when the time comes to go back to his world? What will he be like? Will he remember how strong he was? Eden, book one of the Eden Series by Janelle Stalder is a warm and fascinating look at the transformation of a young boy into a strong leader who believes in himself! Each character is perfectly molded to fit the story, each with their own stories to tell, each with feelings, each uniquely necessary to help Aiden see and reach his potential in a world filled with chaos. The sub plots were well done with depth, feeling, humor and sadness at times. Janelle Stalder allowed us to be in the heads and hearts of these wonderful characters with her ability to bring the story to life! I particularly like how positive and supportive each character was. Ms. Stalder should be commended for writing such a positively fantastic fantasy escape with the ability to appeal to all ages and genders while keeping the story ‘real’ with little snippets here and there that could only come from one who remembers being a teen! Author: Janelle Stalder Series: Eden, Book 1 Publisher : iUniverse Published Date: September 20, 2011 ISBN: 1462051448 Pages: 236 My Rating: Well-Deserved 5 Stars
Couldnt put it down espeacially towards to end cant wait to read next one
Genre: Young Adult (but really good for all ages) Fantasy Publisher Type: Indie My Review: What an exhilarating and engrossing story!!! A mix of Narnia and Game of Thrones, This is a smart, absorbing book you really must read. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I expected to like it, but I loved it!!! I'll admit through the first few chapters I wasn't sure how much I'd like this book. Yes, the prologue was intriguing and immediately introduced the conflict in Eden and the first chapter introduces a very likable Aiden and his frustrating reality. But I was concerned with the palpable risk of hokeyness when a plot involves a reality-based protagonist entering into a fantasy-based environment. Also, the author's way of describing things was somewhat off for me, especially in the first portion of the book. She's very straightforward in her descriptions and sometimes it feels forced. Despite my reservations starting out, the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G story more than makes up for the minor description flaws and, as it turns out, the hokey factor was very minimal. I loved the characters. Not one of them was flat. No one was a simple filler character. I savored the array of relationships from Turk & the High King to Wolf & Elisa to Rose & Callum. Protagonists were not simple bad guys. I enjoyed reading of Callum, Brutus the Red and their motivations. The story of Rose & Callum was my favorite. With all the various stories, this is hardly just "young adult," but an "everybody" fantasy novel. The ending did feel a little rushed, but I still liked it. I appreciated the twist that while not everything was wrapped up, we are given enough information to see where things are leading for each of the characters. I however will miss these characters and would love to have spent more time with them. Perhaps the author will write short stories telling more of what happens to the people of Eden and of Aiden after he returns to his regular life. Please, please, please --with sugar on top of it-- Janelle, please write more for me! So, overall, a story I'm so glad I didn't miss out on. A very satisfying read!!! I still want more! Cover Art: I'm torn on this cover. On one hand, it's a well done cover with stone-like texture and perfect typeface. The simple bow graphic reflects the importance bows and arrows play in this story. The drawback is that it's not a cover that compels me to buy the book. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. See more of my reviews on my blog, Known to Read.