Vikings meet outlaw bikers in this scorching dystopian romance from USA Today bestselling author Megan Crane.
Riordan is a ruthless raider on a deadly mission with the one badass warrior woman he cannot have.
The last thing he wants to do is go undercover as a weakling to spy on his clan’s enemies. Much less with Eiryn— an unstoppable raider warrior in her own right and the only woman Riordan’s never been able to forget.
Eiryn has been betrayed too many times. An escape into a dangerous mission where she can pretend to be the soft, biddable female she’s not seems like the perfect solution. She’s sure she can control the fiery passion that simmers between her and Riordan, the man she’s spent years pretending to hate. After all, the unquenchable lust that flares between them now is all for show… isn’t it?
“Gritty, harsh, but yet beautiful…burns bright and hot.” (Night Owl Reviews)
“[W]ill keep you up late into the night.” (Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews)
Be prepared to submit to the Edge of Control.
*Full length romance, featuring a dominant hero, a badass heroine, graphic, steamy sex and an HEA.
To immerse yourself fully in the Edge world, don't miss these other books:
#1: Edge of Obsession
#2: Edge of Temptation
#4: Edge of Power (Wulf, The Raider King’s novel)
About the Author
USA Today bestselling, RITA nominated, and critically-acclaimed author Megan Crane has written a lot of books: from women's fiction, chick lit, and work-for-hire young adult novels to Harlequin Presents as Caitlin Crews. These days her focus is on contemporary romance, from small town to international glamor, cowboys to bikers, and beyond. Her Edge of Ruin novellas include Edge of Obession, Edge of Temptation, Edge of Control and Edge of Power. She sometimes teaches creative writing classes both online at mediabistro.com and at UCLA Extension's prestigious Writers' Program, where she finally utilizes the MA and PhD in English Literature she received from the University of York in York, England. She currently lives in California with a husband who draws comics and animation storyboards and their menagerie of ridiculous animals.
Read an Excerpt
Edge of Control
By Megan Crane
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Megan Crane
All rights reserved.
The night sky rained fire all around her, chunks of what had once been a temple turning the forest trees into kindling as it all burned its way down from above. The explosion that had torn it apart was still going, one pop after the next, ripping the late August night wide open.
It was haul ass or die, and Eiryn had no intention of dying.
And certainly not like this, outrunning some impromptu demolition bullshit on a forgotten hillside in the Catskills.
She was one of the very few women who had ever fought her way into the raider clan's elite warrior brotherhood. More than that, Eiryn had long been the king's personal bodyguard and widely hailed as the fastest blade in the clan. She did a very tough and very brave man's job in a ruined, piece of shit world that prized might over all else, and she did it so well that warriors who outweighed her by a good two hundred pounds averted their eyes when she walked by. Out of respect and sometimes fear as well. She was one of the toughest, meanest, most dangerous and badass raiders on the whole of the waterlogged planet, no matter how pissed off she happened to be tonight and how sick she was of ... everything.
But like hell was she going out on the side of an abandoned hill in the shitty, half-assed Catskill Mountains a half-hour's walk from the brooding Atlantic coast, an unwilling sacrifice to a cause she didn't even believe in.
Eiryn hurdled a fallen tree trunk, landed hard, and kept running anyway. She forced her own path through the thick undergrowth. There were no trails here, no signs that anyone had been on this hillside in years. The raiders had found a settlement half a day's sail down the coast while doing their reconnaissance, but nothing any closer. The church might have claimed the temple here after the Storms had washed away most of the world, the way they liked to do with anything that promoted the technology the priests blamed for the end of all those previous civilizations, but Eiryn didn't think they'd been back since. Until tonight, apparently.
Her ears were still ringing from the explosion, but not enough to entirely block out the sounds of the rest of her warrior brothers moving around on the same hillside as they all scrambled out of range of the falling fire and concrete chunks of temple wall. She could hear shouts and the sounds of metal striking metal, meaning that there were both raider survivors and their enemies littered about the woods, and she needed to stay on her guard.
But she couldn't quite bring herself to care about that, either.
Or maybe it was that some part of her wanted whoever had blown up the temple to come at her out here, in the warm August night, where she could lose herself in a fight. No thinking, no worrying, no going over the summer's shitty revelations one by one and getting angrier each time. There was no room for that in combat. There was nothing but her blade and her swing.
The battles she really wanted to throw herself into she couldn't fight. Not outwardly. And it was eating her alive.
Meanwhile, if the stinging sensation on her thigh meant her favorite pair of trousers were singed from the blast, Eiryn knew exactly who she was going to blame, and she didn't plan to keep any part of it locked up inside. In fact, she was tempted to use a backup punch to the face to make her feelings on the subject perfectly clear. Tyr, the raider clan's war chief and one of Eiryn's least favorite people, had taken a mainland woman captive in a raid this summer and had then gone even further. He'd made her his mate. Formally claimed her in front of the brotherhood and everything, which made no sense. Members of the raider brotherhood very rarely took formal mates — why bother, when their lives were pledged to the clan, brave and violent and often short, and they had the comfort pussy of the clan's dedicated camp girls on tap?
But the war chief had always been an asshole, Eiryn reflected as she kept running. As far as she could tell it was one of his defining traits.
Tyr's new mate, Helena, was helpless and soft and essentially pointless like all the drearily compliant mainland women always were, of course. But, naturally, the war chief thought his mainland piece of ass was extra special because she came with a stupid little quest that she'd somehow convinced the raider king and his council to take up as their own. Well. Most of the raider king's council. Eiryn's vote had been to ignore Helena and her maps of ancient power stations made over into temples and her big plans to change a world that couldn't be changed. If it could be something other than the cesspool it was, it wouldn't be so shitty in the first place, would it? But Eiryn had been outvoted. And Helena's foolhardy belief that she could bring light back to the people like some brand-new god was the reason the best and toughest of the raider brotherhood were all out here playing hide and seek with fucking lunatics in the late summer night.
Lunatics with explosives, no less.
That and the fact that when Wulf — the king of the raiders and Eiryn's own half-brother, not that her blood relationship to him had ever mattered — issued an order, he was obeyed. That was the law. So here Eiryn was in the buttfuck Catskills during the height of summer when there was raiding to be done for the coming winter, getting very nearly blown to hell and back, despite her misgivings and completely against her wishes.
What Wulf wanted, Wulf got.
Fuck you, Wulf.
When she was out of the reach of the fires and the raining debris, Eiryn slowed from her flat-out run to a walk, automatically checking her weapons and her own limbs for any injuries she was too amped up on adrenaline to feel. Her face felt chapped and hot from exposure to the fire, but not burned. She was afraid to check her eyebrows in case they'd turned to ash, but did it anyway, relieved to discover they were still there. Dirty, but still there. Something had scraped her thigh, tearing her trousers and drawing blood, as she'd suspected, but the wound was shallow enough. She ignored it, allowing herself a small fantasy about a quick, hard battle with Tyr's Helena that would never come to pass, because Helena couldn't fight back. Eiryn could hit her with the grip of her blade and Helena would crumple to the ground. The end. Where was the satisfaction in that?
Eiryn reached up to tie her warrior's braids — only slightly singed and smelling of smoke — into a knot on the back of her head and stood there a moment, listening to what was left of the woods all around her as her breath evened out. She could hear the slap and crackle of the flames here and there throughout the forest, much louder and more ominous than any logs in a fire pit. There was the clash of blades in the distance that indicated someone out there was having more fun than she was. But she didn't go investigate. She stood still, all alone in the dark woods, enjoying the fact that for once no one knew where she was. She hadn't laid eyes on another brother since she'd sprinted to save her own ass in the confusion of the first explosion. She'd abandoned her usual bodyguard post without a backward glance — or really any conscious thought — and she'd bolted down the hillside to get as far away from the temple going up in flames as possible.
And maybe from everyone else, now that she stopped to consider it.
If she'd died in the blast as had seemed highly likely in those first moments, no one would ever expect to find what was left of her. They'd look, of course, but fire was a mean, consuming bitch. If they didn't find much, they'd assume it was because the explosion had taken her down and eaten what remained. They would treat the hillside as her funeral pyre and brand their own bodies to celebrate another fallen member of the brotherhood, as was their custom.
They would think she was dead. That meant that instead, she could be free.
And it was a mark of what a long, fucked-up summer it had been that Eiryn considered it. More than simply considered it. It would be so easy. She could just ... walk away. Her other half-brother Gunnar's woman had done it. Maud had wandered off from her life in the bullshit church that held the mainland in its bland and dreary fist and kept right on going. And not that Eiryn was particularly close to her mad genius half-brother or his latest mate — because Gunnar was nothing if not a one man stereotype breaker, with two formally claimed mates to his name so far despite the fact he, too, was a member of the brotherhood — but the unnerving former nun certainly seemed happy enough with the choice.
Or anyway, not openly hostile. Which, when it came to raiders and the women they liberated from mainland compounds with or without permission, was sometimes the same thing.
Eiryn could smell the sea on the breeze from where it lapped at the base of these hills in the Catskills, salt mixed with smoke and the scent of roasted trees, stout evergreens and sugar maples, scarred white birches and fragrant cedars alike. It would be easy enough to go. To let her blood relatives think she was dead and her warrior brothers mourn her like any one of the fallen. They'd never know the difference. All she'd have to do was walk. Head away from the sullen, gray Atlantic Ocean, up into the hills, and keep going until she hit that sweet spot on the west coast of the eastern mainland where the Mississippi Sea met the Great Lakes Sea. Somewhere to the north and west of here, and far away from everything and everyone she knew.
She would never know how long she stood there, hidden in the dark, smoky woods with no eyes on her, daring herself to put one foot in front of the other and leave behind the life she'd worked so hard to build.
But one heartbeat melted into the next, then the next, and still she didn't move.
Because you're a coward, girl, a small, vicious voice deep inside of her whispered.
It sounded a whole lot like her father, Amos, the disgraced and diminished former war chief of the clan and her primary tormenter. That he had also been her trainer, turning her from just another raider girl into a deadly warrior worthy of the brotherhood only made the whole thing — her life, that was — more complicated.
And deeply shitty, she admitted to herself, and then pretended she didn't feel that same old surge of rawness that usually accompanied any thoughts of Amos and his version of high-impact, low-care parenting.
There was another loud boom from what was left of the temple. Eiryn felt the heat of it lick at her face, but she still didn't move. Instead, she lifted a hand to her chest and rubbed at the spot just above her tightly bound breasts where the sigil that marked her as a member of the brotherhood was tattooed dark and black and indelible, deep into her skin. Sometimes she was sure she could feel it itch all these years after she'd earned it, reminding her of the vows she'd made and the promises she couldn't break without revealing herself as something far worse than a mere coward.
Amos called her names like that because he knew he could get away with it. He knew she would never respond to such insults from him the way she would if they came from almost anyone else, as much because he no longer had the use of his legs as because he was her father. And she had two blood half-brothers who she'd managed not to behead just yet despite their various cruelties over the years. Gunnar, who hadn't had the slightest hesitation in ripping her world apart a month ago, but was under the king's protection because of his inarguable tech genius. And Wulf, who had lied to her about how their father had come to be crippled — for years — because it had suited him. He'd lied by omission, perhaps, but it was still a lie that would have earned any other man a date with the sharp edge of her blade.
Why the hell was she sticking around with these bastards without reminding them all how very dangerous she was? She didn't owe them anything. She'd made herself who she was despite them. Her half-brothers had written her off for doing her duty and her father had punished her for it. Yet here she stood anyway, her entire life a gesture of stubborn defiance in one way or another.
For all the good it had ever done her.
Her hand flexed automatically against the hilt of her favorite blade. That right there was the truth of who she was. Who she would always be. All the rest of it was family drama, petty politics, and raider nonsense. But her blade in her hand, the dance of a fight she knew she would win — that was real. That was the only thing that mattered.
Everything else was lies and bullshit and self-serving stories men told around the fires to while away the long, dark winters. None of it signified. None of it was the blade in her hand or the truth of its swing.
Eiryn checked her position against the bright, burning temple once again. Then she finally moved, drawing her blade as she did and holding it light and easy in her hand. Ready for whatever came at her, as ever. She started picking her way across the hillside, circling her way back around to find the rest of her warrior brothers out here on this shitty, burned-out night while what was left of their mission lay in charred heaps of concrete and steel all around them. She shifted back into her usual focused awareness within a step or two, alert and ready for any enemies that might cross her path.
But because she had nothing but shit luck these days, she ran into Riordan.
Who was both a warrior brother and something significantly more complicated than simply her enemy. And often the bane of her existence, while he was at it.
He stood in a small clearing in the dark, smoky woods, that curved blade he liked so much pressed against the throat of the man at his feet. Eiryn could tell at a glance that the real fight was over and Riordan was only playing now. The fire in the distance lit up the night, dancing over all of Riordan's sleek, hard muscles and bathing his brown skin in gold. He wore a harness over his bare chest, all of his secondary blades in their place, and his trousers slung low as if he was deliberately showing off the ridged perfection of his torso. Riordan's braids hung free about his face, his tightly curled black beard was cut close to his bold jaw, and his tattoos and brands seemed alive against the night. They shouted out his status as one of the brotherhood's best and most lethal, proclaiming his might in case the curved blade and the obvious, straining strength in his arms didn't make that clear. He was ruthless intensity and sheer male power packed into a harsh and starkly beautiful form, tall and wide and solid — and Eiryn hated the fact that even now, even after all these years, she still felt that tiny catch deep down in her belly when she saw him.
Every time she saw him.
Then another, stronger pull when his dark eyes shifted from his prey to hers for no more than a quick, searing instant.
It punched through her, raw and greedy, reminding her of that one summer. Vivid and visceral, as if his gaze was a touch, or the deep thrust of his perfect cock hard and deep inside her —
It was one more betrayal, the way it always was. From the nipples that hardened beneath her bindings, stinging when she breathed, to that traitorous melting between her legs. It didn't matter how much Eiryn beat herself up for it, her reaction to this man was always the same.
There were so many men. There were so many raiders. There were warrior brothers to go around, should she get a hankering to shit where she ate. But there was only one Riordan.
And she didn't know, half the time, which one of them she hated more. Him, for trespasses that went all the way back into her childhood, the prick, when she'd thought of him as little more than a friend to her older half-brother. Or herself, for remaining constitutionally unable to rid herself of this affliction that only he ever brought out in her, no matter how many winters stood between that one, stupid summer and now.
She comforted herself with the bittersweet knowledge that at least he didn't know it.
Eiryn should have sheathed her blade the moment she'd ascertained there was no threat in this clearing, only too many irritating memories. She didn't. She told herself it was in case of further attack.
Riordan didn't look at her again, but Eiryn didn't make the mistake of imagining he wasn't fully aware of every damned breath she took, the way he always had been.
Excerpted from Edge of Control by Megan Crane. Copyright © 2016 Megan Crane. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There is no doubt that the author has spent a lot of time developing the world building of this exciting and page turning series. To date all the stories have been action packed, erotic adventures and this one is no different. Though the start of this particular story was a little slow for me (mostly due to Eiryn's determination to keep her anger at her brother Wulf, his war chief Tyr, and Riordan front and center), once Riordan and Eiryn leave their home the tension mounts. In close quarters Eiryn can't deny that she remembers what it felt like to be in Riordan's arms. She still carries the pain of his betrayal but having to play a compliant woman, one who engages in daily sex with her partner in order to conceive a child, means that she is free to let her body rule – and it wants Riordan. In private, she concedes to his mastery and there are several intense steamy scenes between them. But Riordan can admit to himself that sex with Eiryn only means something when she's able to let loose and be as passionate with him as she used to be. As they travel on their mission, their interactions change, and Eiryn begins to open up to Riordan. He regrets what happened between them – a decision to cruelly break things off, believing that he wasn't good enough for her (not to mention threats from her brother). They both made mistakes – and now they have the chance to make up for lost time. I loved seeing Eiryn come to terms with being both a warrior and a woman. For so long she hid any sign of emotion believing it was a sign of weakness. Her time away from the Raiders makes her realize that she can be a woman and a warrior. Riordan promises her that she can always be herself with him – whether that means as a fighter or as a passionate lover. The infiltration of the cathedral and the politics between the Bishop and the Kings makes for an exciting second half of the story, full of intense action and drama. We meet some other secondary characters that I suspect will show up in the next book in the series (perhaps a match for King Wulf? Only time will tell). Riordan and Eiryn race to complete their mission and return safely in a page turning ending that will keep you up late into the night. This is another exciting and super sexy romantic installment in this series, and I can't wait for the next one!
Edge of Control penned by Megan Crane is the 3rd title in her Edge Series. The series is set in the future. I must say that our future for Earth is very dark and bleak. Heavy storms destroyed earth and floods cover most of the world, making earth a place where only the strong survives. In Riordan world that is just find with him. At a young age he didn’t want to become a farmer. So, when he had the opportunity he broke free from his family. Setting in motion the life he’s living now. Where he is constantly striving to prove that he’s no one to mess with. Now part of a new family…they call themselves the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is a better place than the life he would have lived or so he thought. Now he has come full circles. He must go undercover as a compliant to uncover what the Brotherhood’s enemy has in stored for them next. If Riordan had his choice on who must take on the mission he would have chosen anyone either than Eiryn. Eiryn has been betrayed by everyone in her life, and in this new world Eiryn learned that the only person you can count on is yourself. However, picked to go on a mission, she must put everything she learned about becoming a warrior and become a soft compliant female to uncover the enemy plot on destroying the Brotherhood. Edge of Control is Waterworld meets The Day after Tomorrow. I don’t know about how other people viewed these movies. But I found them to be very lackluster. I didn’t feel lost more so that the author had the readers spending more time in the main characters’ head, then in interaction with other characters in the story. So often we get some dialogue that moved the story along then we are submerged once more in the head of Riordan and/or Eiryn. What made me want to read this book to begin with was the principle of a strong ruthless warrior who tries to overcome his past and in doing so, find that one person who understood him and how he ticks and is okay with the man that he becomes. All the elements where there for a great story with an excellent plot line, but I just didn’t feel the characters. I am not going to blame the author, I am convinced that with this series you must start the series from the beginning and work your way up to this point. So, that would be my project over the next few weeks and maybe my outlook on this story will change. And since Wulf story is next, I better make catching up rather quickly. Because even though Riordan and Eiryn as a whole didn’t click for me, there was just something about Wulf that caught my attention
I rate this book as 4.5 stars. I've been excited to read this book mostly because Eiryn is such an intriguing character an secondly I love the fascinating dynamics of the series. I just have to say that Megan Crane does not disappoint with this book. From the first page it was a captivating read that I hated to put down. As was hinted in the first two books, Eiryn and Riordan had been romantically involved in the past. Their relationship was complicated by mutual feelings of anger and a desire that still remained between them. The story opens with Eiryn struggling to accept some shocking news and volunteering for a covert mission with Riordan. That pretense led to them having a lot of hot sex together as their old flame reignited hotter than ever before. There was also a ton of action, mystery and intriguing plot twists. Also of note is that the author piqued my curiosity by introducing a new character into the series. Could it be a love interest for our Raider King ? I really enjoyed this book and the series that has become a favorite for me. I usually don't read books set up in a dystopian world but I am fascinated by this one so it's a must read for me. It's seven kinds of sexy and populated by bold alpha males and strong females and stories that jump right out and grab your attention. I've loved each book in this series and can't wait for the next one.
Wulf is the king of the raider brotherhood. He's all powerful. His commands are law. He wants Bishop Seph which is why he's sending two of his raiders to the Great Lakes Cathedral. He believes the priest is behind a recent attack. Eiryn, Wulf's half sister and personal bodyguard, is restless and unhappy. She wants to go on this mission so she can face her emotions. Riordan one of the most feared warriors will be her partner. They had once been lovers until Wulf forced them apart. Can they pretend to be in a winter marriage? Eiryn is no compliant. Neither is Riordan. Their battles are wild and fierce as is their passion. Neither will back down. Even though they fight, they work well together. Riordan walked away from Eiryn once. Can he do it again? This is a tense action packed story that pulled me in and kept me reading. I wanted these two to put the past behind them. This journey is dangerous. I liked that they had each other's back. They have served their king and given him vital information. Now they deserve to be together. Megan Crane has created a dark and dangerous world where nothing is given. I can't wait to see what Wulf and the brotherhood do next. I received a copy in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
This is a great book; this is the third book in the Viking Dystopian Romance series written by Megan Crane. Riordan is a ruthless warrior whose foes tremble before him in his drowned and ruined world. The last thing he wants to do is go undercover as a weakling to spy on his clan’s enemies. Much less with Eiryn, a fierce warrior in her own right and the only woman Riordan’s never been able to forget. Eiryn has been betrayed too many times. An escape into a dangerous mission where she can pretend to be the soft, biddable female she’s not seems like the perfect solution. She’s sure she can control the fiery passion that simmers between her and Riordan, the man she’s spent years pretending to hate. This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night. If you are looking for a great book, then you need to read this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.
I love how Crane sets the stage for what’s to come with the powerful prologue that includes the history of the peoples and what came out of it. She sets the stage and develops the world in such a manner that you can really picture the state of the world and the ensuing hardness of the characters. I got a sense of post-apocalyptic Vikings from the Raiders. It was almost like what MCs would be like if they lost their bikes. It was intense at times. She also definitely presents the Church in an interesting light. The way that it all ties together was fascinating. I did find that it took a while to really get into the heart of the story. For me, the plot lagged a bit. It was definitely a very character baste story as they learned more about the mainland culture. Crane created what had the possibility of being an intensely exciting plot and populated it with characters who quite frankly annoyed me at times. Eiryn and the choices that she made were quite interesting. She really packed a punch in all aspects of life. Riordan’s ‘this is me on the inside, this is me on the outside’ routine also got old after a while. I love the dystopian world that Crane has created for this novel (and series) but had a hard time fully getting into the plot. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, but it was missing that “can’t but it down, need to know what happens next” factor for me. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
That gif sums up Eiryn and Riordan's relationship perfectly. I felt like they constantly fought each other and of course also their enemies but they also felt that insane pull to each other that they could never escape. And God knows they tried. Ten years ago their break up left scars, ones that Riordan carries on his back as a reminder that you never screw over a brother, much less a woman who knows how to use her knives! That being said, for the past ten years they both try to get back at each other for what happened and both have their own ways of doing that. Eiryn is filled with anger and distrust and Riordan uses other women that always pale in comparison to Eiryn. It's safe to say that when they are both thrust into a mission that involves them get intimate their past catches up to them real fast. I loved how they bickered, like an old married couple. Also there was much action going on, so that was definitely a bonus. For the readers that like their stories more 'clean', this book is filthy and not for the safety-gang readers. Besides that it was refreshing to see the characters in the previous books and I think I know whos story is going to be next, no spoilers tho. All in all, this was an interesting continuation of the series and I can't wait for the next book to come out. :)
Edge of Control was a lot of fun and a great addition to this series! This book is sexy as ever and I'm really enjoying this authors take on dystopian novels! Edge of Control is an exciting read and does not disappoint. If you enjoyed the first two books in this series, then you are going to love this one!
Anger and revenge have fueled Eiryn’s life for years. She is the Clan King’s bodyguard but has reached a point in her life where her life is not working as well for her as it once did. When the opportunity to go undercover with another Raider comes along she snaps it up…even though Riordan and she have a problematic relationship. Both are warriors, raiders and “brothers” who put clan first. Their mission is paramount and will require them to put their past issues aside in order to achieve their goal. At first I thought Eiryn was a spoiled brat and overly curt and acerbic. I liked Riordan more than Eiryn. As the story unfolds both of their pasts are slowly revealed in a way that gives them depth and explains why they have become who they are as well as why they relate to one another the way they do. If I had not continued to read and become stuck in the acerbity of Eiryn then I would have missed the great treat this book is and what a loss that would have been. I enjoyed the emotional grown and personal insights Eiryn experienced as she and Riordan made their trek to their destination. They definitely struck sparks off one another in more ways than one. Sometimes hate is used to fuel anger and hide what one really feels and that is just what Eiryn had been doing for years. Her awakening was enjoyable to experience. She was a force to be reckoned with but definitely more insightful and well-rounded by the end of the book than when the book began. Thank you to NetGalley and Saint Martin’s Press for the copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.