3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, K, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: A Risk Worth Taking by Brynn Kelly

A Risk Worth Taking
by Brynn Kelly

A Risk Worth Taking

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 400

Read: May 22-28, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: TLC Book Tours

 

 

BlurbHe can’t outrun himself…

Legionnaire Jamie Armstrong lives in the shadows. A medic haunted by his mistakes, he knows better than to hope for redemption. But his latest mission brings a threat he doesn’t see coming—an attraction as irresistible as it is dangerous. Hacker Samira Desta is a woman he swore to forget, but as a key witness to a deadly conspiracy, Samira is his to protect.

But the woman he rescues might be the one who saves him

After a year in hiding, Samira’s worst fears come true when her cover is blown and the unlikeliest of allies comes to her aid—the secretive Scot with whom she shared one unforgettable night. Hunted by lethal forces and losing the battle against their desire, Jamie and Samira make a desperate play to take the fight to their enemy—but those at greatest risk of ruin may be themselves…


Review: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

When I first accepted this book I knew it was part of a series, but was assured that it read well as a standalone. I’m not sure I can entirely agree with that. For a good chunk of the early part of the book I had trouble understanding what was going on. Why was Samira is hiding? What was she hiding from? Who was coming after her? There were a lot of references to something that had previously happened that I had no idea about. A little more background would have been helpful in my opinion.

I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense. So I was pleasantly surprised that there was a little more suspense than romance. I found it to be a really good balance for my personal tastes. But I fear that people who prefer more romance in their romantic suspense will not be as pleased.

Overall the book was an exciting and thrilling ride! The pacing was really good, it kept my attention throughout. My one and only complaint is that I felt I needed a little more background at the beginning of the book. It did finally come together, but a little more info would have been better. This was a good book and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Kelly’s books in the future!

Recommended.


 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

Connect with Brynn

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

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3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, Kinsey Millhone, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton

F is for Fugitive
by Sue Grafton

F is for Fugitive

Copyright: 1989

Pages: 307

Read: April 9-15, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: When Kinsey Millhone first arrives in Floral Beach, California, it’s hard for her to picture the idyllic coastal town as the setting of a brutal murder. Seventeen years ago, the body of Jean Timberlake – a troubled teen who had a reputation with the boys – was found on the beach. Her boyfriend, Bailey Fowler, was convicted of her murder and imprisoned, but he escaped.

After all this time, Bailey’s finally been captured. Believing in his son’s innocence, Bailey’s father wants Kinsey to find Jean’s real killer. But most of the residents in this tight-knit community are convinced Bailey strangled Jean. So why are they so reluctant to answer Kinsey’s questions? If there’s one thing Kinsey’s got plenty of it’s persistence. And that’s exactly what it’s going to take to crack the lid on this case.

As Kinsey gets closer to solving Jean’s murder, the more dirty little secrets she uncovers in a town where everyone has something to hide – and a killer will kill again to keep the past buried…


Review: It’s been forever since I visited with Kinsey Millhone and so I was glad when this book popped up on my April call-out on a Goodreads challenge.

I had a lot of fun working the case with Kinsey. It definitely ended up going in a direction that I never saw coming, although there was a couple small instances that should have clued me in had I been paying more attention.

Jumping back in with Kinsey definitely made me want to read more of her and soon! I don’t remember her being so badass, but I definitely enjoyed it! She’s smart and strong, a good (and sometimes rare) combination in female protagonists. I definitely appreciate that aspect of her character.

I did jot down this quote from the very end that resonated with me:

If love is what injures us, how can we heal?

I’m seriously bummed that Ms. Grafton passed away a little while ago. I’m disappointed that the alphabet now ends with Y … but I am satisfied with the decision to not use a ghost writer to finish the series out (I hate, hate, HATE when that occurs.) I’m looking forward to getting around to G sooner rather than later!!

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours, U-V-W

Review: The Longest Silence by Debra Webb

 

About The Longest Silence

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: MIRA (March 6, 2018)
“The twists and turns in this dark, taut drama make it both creepy and compelling.” —New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry
A killer stole her voice. Now she’s ready to take it back. Don’t miss the chilling Shades of Death series from USA TODAY bestselling author Debra Webb.

Joanna Guthrie was free. She had been for eighteen years–or so she needed everyone to believe. What really happened during the longest fourteen days of her life, when she and two other women were held captive by the worst kind of serial killer, wasn’t something she could talk about. Not after what they had to do to survive.
But when more women go missing in an eerily similar manner, Jo knows her prolonged silence will only seal their fates. She’s finally ready to talk; she just needs someone to listen. FBI special agent Tony LeDoux can’t deny he finds Jo compelling–he’s just not sure he believes her story. But with the clock ticking, Jo will do anything to convince him, even if it means unearthing long-buried secrets that will land them squarely in the crosshairs of the killer…
“This psychological thriller is rife with tension that begins on page one and doesn’t let up. It’s a race against the clock that had me whispering to the pair of flawed, desperate protagonists, ‘Hurry,hurry.’ A gripping read.”  New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown

Review:

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own.

When I was pitched this book I was excited. That blurb just totally sucked me in and it sounded really great! This book is actually the fourth in a series, but don’t be afraid – it read perfectly well as a standalone. I’m still stunned that I had never heard of Debra Webb before this, I’m not sure how I’ve missed her!

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. My chief “complaint” was that the formatting of the e-book on my phone was kind of wonky, so I sometimes had some trouble keeping track of who was talking. But that likely had nothing to do with the book and was due to me trying to use an iPhone instead of my Kindle.

I enjoyed the characters in this one. Knowing now that this is the fourth in the series, I’m curious to know more about Tony in the previous books. In the beginning of this one it’s painfully obvious that he’s hit rock bottom. As strange as it sounds, I would like to know how he got to that point. Enough was included so that I had a basic understanding of the situation, but there’s still something about taking that trip with the characters. I never fully trusted Jo’s character. There was no secret that she wasn’t telling the entire story, and honestly when the truth was finally revealed I was kind of surprised that she hadn’t just told Tony from the get-go. It wasn’t that terrible considering her situation … and to be honest, it wasn’t all that surprising either.

The plot itself was interesting and relevant. It didn’t feel like something I had read a million times over. That was refreshing. And it was interesting to follow the case with Jo and Tony until the ending. I did have some trouble keeping some of the bad guys straight, but in the end it all came together and made sense.

Overall I’m glad that I got the chance to read this book and find a new author. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more from Ms. Webb! Definitely recommended!


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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Debra Webb

DEBRA WEBB is the award winning, USA Today bestselling author of more than 130 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil, the Colby Agency, and the Shades of Death series. With more than four million books sold in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood on a farm in Alabama.

Connect with Debra

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Nonfiction, Presidential Reading Challenge, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis

His Excellency: George Washington
by Joseph J. Ellis

His Excellency

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 275

Read: Jan. 24-30, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Paperbackswap

Blurb: To this landmark biography of our first president, Joseph J. Ellis brings the exacting scholarship, shrewd analysis, and lyric rose that have made him one of the premier historians of the Revolutionary era. Training his lens on a figure who sometimes seems as remote as his effigy on Mount Rushmore, Ellis assesses George Washington as a military and political leader and a man whose “statue-like solidity” concealed volcanic energies and emotions.

Here is the impetuous young officer whose miraculous survival in combat half-convinced him that he could not be killed. Here is the free-spending landowner whose debts to English merchants instilled him with a prickly resentment of imperial power. And here is the general who lost more battles than he won, and the reluctant president to tried to float above the partisan feuding to an understanding not only of its subject but also of the nation he brought into being.


Review: With this book I embark on my presidential reading challenge!

I chose this book to start with because it appeared to be a short, all-encompassing biography. I figured it would give me a good decent background before I really got started into the meat of George Washington’s life. And for the most part, this book definitely fulfilled that. But it definitely left me wanting more. There were a lot of places that I really wanted more information on, but I realize that it’s not feasible to put every single thing about his entire life into one small volume such as this.

The writing itself in this book was extremely good. There were some dry parts, but those usually occurred when there was discussion of battle details and strategy – those topics just don’t interest me all that much. Overall I found this one easy to read and it kept my interest throughout.

The overall picture that Mr. Ellis paints of George Washington is interesting to me. What I personally came away from it was that he seemed to be a man who wanted everything he did. He claimed to not want to do this or that, namely the presidency, yet he kept coming back. He could have stepped away had he truly wanted to. Yet he was needed. And I think it was that need that kept driving him. His earlier years, he came across as extremely arrogant and not very likable to be honest. But it was his later years that you could definitely see him mature and realize that what he was living was something a lot bigger than anyone at the time could even imagine. His eye never seemed to be on the present, it always seemed to be on the future – I suppose that’s why he edited a lot of his earlier writings…. he wasn’t really writing for his immediate audience; he was writing for future audiences.

Overall, I’m very pleased that this is where I started my presidential reading challenge at. I found it to be a wonderful overview of Washington. It is an easy read, one that will most certainly appeal to casual readers. It also made me realize that my knowledge of the history of the American Revolution is severely lacking (!).

I do believe that going forward from here, when I begin a new president, I will start with something similar to this – a brief, all-encompassing volume that will give me a good starting place. This will be especially helpful with those presidents that I am truly unfamiliar with.

 

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, L, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book

Review: Academic Affairs by Peter Likins

Academic Affairs
by Peter Likins

Academic Affairs

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 150

Read: Jan. 5-9, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Publicist for review

Blurb: “Jerry, you can’t do this, you can’t!” – Beaufort Prendergast, president of Chickamin Christian College, had gasped these words just before dropping dead of an apparent heart attack outside the office door of Executive Dean for Academic Affairs Jeremy Pilkington just a day before Pilkington himself was murdered in that office.  The murder weapon?  A poisoned apple brought to him by the pretty young college girl he had been tutoring, Mary Belle.  There¹d been whispers of an affair.  But wasn’t she too obvious a suspect?

 So it seemed to the small town’s sheriff, Jake Muffet.  Along with his son and daughter, Muffet comprised the entire law enforcement authority of the sleepy Alabama town of Sparta in the 1930s and now, for the first time in his tenure, there was a murder to solve.  Or maybe two murders if President Prendergast’s death was connected to Pilkington’s.

 At first the investigation looks simple:  Just follow the apple.  Whoever touched it before it reached Pilkington could have laced it with the strychnine.  But as Sheriff Muffet and aspiring young journalist Katy O¹Halleran interview the short list of suspects, a more complicated and far darker picture emerges – a tale of sex, power and blackmail lying just underneath the veneer of Southern respectability.


Review: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are my own.

I was excited to read this one. The blurb immediately caught my eye. A fun little cozy mystery set in the south in the 1930s. I figured it would be a quick and enjoyable read.

My one and only complaint is that I’m not sure I liked how the same story was told by three differing viewpoints. I mean, it worked … but it felt a bit unnecessary. I’m okay with two viewpoints, but it was that third one that really threw me for a loop. I had a little trouble keeping everyone straight at the beginning.

Overall, a pretty good book. A quick read that held my interest well enough. The characters were all portrayed appropriately for the setting. The writing itself was good. The plot was original. This probably isn’t a book I ever would have picked up on my own, but it was still a good read. Definitely recommended!

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book

Review: Wildcat by Sara Paretsky

Wildcat
by Sara Paretsky

Wildcat.jpg
Copyright: 2017

Pages: 46

Read: March 1, 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Publicist for review

 

Blurb: Sara Paretsky, one of the most legendary crime writers of all time, presents an exclusive and thrilling short story featuring beloved investigator V.I. Warshawski as a ten-year-old girl on her first investigation.

V.I. Warshawski developed her strength and sense of justice at a very early age.  It’s 1966 and on the south side of Chicago racial tensions are at an all-time high. Dr. Martin Luther King is leading marches at Marquette Park and many in the neighborhood are very angry. With nothing but a bicycle, eighty-two cents in her pocket, and her Brownie camera hanging from her wrist, Victoria sneaks off to Marquette Park alone to protect her father Tony, a police officer who is patrolling the crowds. What begins as a small adventure and a quest to find her father and make sure he is safe turns into something far more dangerous.  As the day goes on and the conflict at the park reaches a fever pitch Victoria realizes she must use her courage and ingenuity if she wants to keep herself and her family members out of harm’s way.


Review: Confession: I’ve never read any of the V.I. Warshawski books. So when I was sent the widget to this short story I thought it would be interesting to know about V.I.’s first case – from when she was just a child. I was very drawn to the fact that it was going to be set in 1966 with the racial tensions experienced in the 60s. It’s very timely when you think about what we have seen happen these past few years.

So I knew it was a short story, which isn’t normally my thing, but I figured it would be a quick and easy read to knock out. It was quick, but I had a little trouble following the story in places. Mainly I found myself re-reading entire passages because I had trouble keeping who was talking straight. I don’t know if it was because I was unfamiliar with the characters or my attention span at the time.

So overall I thought this was a fun and interesting introduction to V.I. Warshawski for me. It definitely left me eager to start this series sooner rather than later … and I already have the first book in the series on my shelf! So even if short stories aren’t your thing, I would definitely recommend giving this one a go.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017

Review: Drop Dead Gorgeous by Linda Howard

Drop Dead Gorgeous
by Linda Howard

dropCopyright: 2006

Pages: 347

Read: Feb. 4-6, 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Library

Blurb: Blair Mallory has already survived one murder attempt. Now, while planning her wedding and dealing with holiday-season madness, Blair once again dodges a bullet. Or more precisely, a Buick. And though the driver’s identity remains a mystery, his or her murderous intentions are all too clear.

Or are they? After all, Blair’s homicidal ex-husband and his partner in crime/wife are safely behind bars. And even Wyatt Bloodsworth, her police detective groom-to-be, isn’t inclined to believe she’s being targeted again. All of which makes Blair wonder if her close call was simply a mishap. But the wondering stops when she narrowly cheats death again in another seemingly innocent accident. Two strikes is all it takes to convince Blair that she’s back in someone’s crosshairs. And the only thing more frightening is that Wyatt still doubts her. That means this time, no one will be watching Blair’s back when she sets out to get the drop on her would-be killer–before whoever it is finally drops her.


Review: Here’s the deal. This is wayyyyy out of my comfort zone. I do not read very many romance novels. It’s just never been my thing. I picked this one up from the library because (1) I needed a romance book that was on a particular Goodreads listopia for a GR challenge, (2) It had a pink cover – again, needed for a GR challenge and (3) My library had a copy of it on the shelf. That was it. I knew going into it that it was technically the second book in a series. I didn’t think it would matter much because (1) I didn’t think I’d be all that invested in the characters/story and (2) I honestly didn’t care – I figured it would be a read it and forget about it book.

What I didn’t anticipate was actually enjoying this book. Ha! I mean, it’s not like I’m going to go out and buy every Linda Howard book ever published. Nor will I be trading all my mystery/thriller books in for shelves upon shelves of romance novels. But it made me realize that I should probably branch out more into the romance genre than I have in the past. It was actually enjoyable to me.

Now that’s not to say it was perfect. Because let me tell you – Blair’s character was the most annoying ever! Like seriously! She was so ridiculous at times I wanted to strangle her. Who makes lists upon lists of “transgressions” that their fiancée does? And by “transgressions” I’m talking about things like “made fun of for having a period.” Stupid stuff. I don’t know what was up with her personality, but it was harsh and not very likable to me. Now she was pretty funny at times, but no amount of humor could possibly make up for the sheer irritation she causes.

So what’s the take away from this? You may potentially be seeing more romance novels mentioned here on my blog. It was a quick read that I liked.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.19 REVIEW – The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

The Silent Wife
by A.S.A. Harrison

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 326
Rating: 3/5
Read: June 18 – June 27, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 19
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Series: N/A

The Silent WifeBlurb:
 Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept.


Review: I purchased this book new in 2014. And then I proceeded to do as I always do … I let it linger on my shelf. I have no idea what made me pick this one up, but it caught my eye when I went searching for my next read after finishing up Misery.

So what did I think ….hmm. This is a tough one. What do you get when you absolutely hate both main characters? Because one is so stupid and the other is in such denial you want to slap her upside the head? Yeah. That’s where I’m at on this book. Todd is a class-A jerk wad. A cheater. Jodi needs to get her head out of the sand. Even after Todd leaves her for Natasha she’s in such denial that I wanted to strangle her.

But for some reason I kept reading this book. I was sucked in for whatever reason. I couldn’t tear myself away from the book (when I got the chance to pick it up … reading with 2 little ones is a whole different ball game). I had to know what happened. Little by little the book unfolds and I was left holding my breath until the very end. This is not necessarily a fast-paced thriller. It’s more slow-paced, but every bit as intriguing.

Bottom line … I enjoyed this one, but ultimately it was my distaste for Todd and Jodi that is keeping my opinion of this one more on the “okay” side than the “awesome” side.

3.5/5, A, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book

2015.17 REVIEW – The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango

The Truth and Other Lies
by Sascha Arango

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 241
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: May 23 – May 31, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 17
Format: Print
Source: Publicist for review
Series: N/A

The Truth and Other LiesBlurb: Henry Hayden seems like someone you could admire, or even like. A famous bestselling author with the air of a modest everyman. A loving, devoted husband even though he could have any woman he desires. A generous, compassionate friend. But Henry Hayden is a construction, a mask. His past is a secret, his methods more so. Only he and his wife know that she is the actual writer of the novels that made him famous.

But when his hidden-in-plain-sight mistress becomes pregnant and his carefully constructed facade is about to crumble, his permanent solution becomes his most terrible mistake.

Now not only are the police after Henry, but his past – which he has painstakingly kept hidden – threatens to catch up with him. But Henry is an ingenious man, and he works out an ingenious plan, weaving lies, truths, and half-truths into a story that might help him survive. Still, the noose tightens.

Smart, sardonic, and compulsively readable, this is the story of a man whose cunning allows him to evade the consequences of his every action, even when he’s standing on the edge of the abyss.


Review: I received a copy of this book for review after responding to an offer in a Goodreads group I belong to. All opinions expressed below are my own.

Henry Hayden is one interesting character. He’s a best-selling author despite never having written a word in his life. Rather it’s his wife who is the author. And she’s a big part of this book, yet I didn’t really feel like I knew her at all. Of course, I also didn’t feel very connected to Henry either. There’s a lot that we as readers do not know about Mr. Hayden. He’s got a pretty shady childhood … yet we really aren’t given very many details beyond him ending up an orphan at a fairly young age. And the logic that he uses throughout the book … well, I just can’t grasp most of the decisions he made either. Although I will say he is definitely one sneaky dude. His wife might have been the bestselling author in the family, but he managed to come up with a pretty far-reaching story as to what happened to his wife and mistress.

At one point early on in this book I couldn’t figure out if Henry was delusional and I was reading pretend dialogue, or if what was happening at ay given moment was really happening and not just a figment of his imagination. I have to say that I really struggled with this throughout the book and I think that’s what really impacted my final rating of this novel.

This isn’t a very long book, only clocking in at 241 pages. And to be perfectly honest here, I felt like it could have been a tad bit longer just because there were some places that I felt lacking. I guess it was more because I felt as if there was no real ending. There’s a big “what happened?” at the end that I would have preferred to see resolved. I wanted to know what really happened to Betty. And I really would have liked to have known what happened to Henry’s mother all those years ago.

Overall, this isn’t a bad book. It’s just a little bit different from what I’m used to reading. But it did keep my attention and kept me guessing throughout. Had there been a little more finality to it at the end and had I been able to connect more with the characters, I would have preferred it just a little bit more. But I would recommend it to mystery lovers.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.12 REVIEW – Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent
by Veronica Roth

Copyright:2012
Pages: 525
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: March 14 – March 23, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 12
Format: Print
Source: Purchased new
Series: Divergent Trilogy #2

InsurgentBlurb: One choice can transform you– or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


Review: Just last week I finished Divergent. I had picked it up for a Goodreads challenge that was asking us to read outside our normal genres. I never dreamed that I would fall in love with it. I enjoyed it so much so that I immediately went out and purchased a brand new copy of Insurgent (I so rarely buy any book new, so that should say a lot about my feelings). I immediately started reading it, too. Something I also very rarely do.

Then about a quarter of the way through I just about stalled out. This book was not nearly as enjoyable and entertaining as Divergent. But I was determined that I would stick it out and finish it. And I finally did.

And boy am I glad that I did. Because that ending … now I have to get my hands on the last book in the trilogy, Allegiant. I have to know what happens now.

As I stated above, I felt like this book was not up to par with the first book. There was just too much drag in the middle portion of the book for my taste. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t like what was going on in places or if it was because I don’t normally read series books back-to-back to avoid burn-out. But I felt like this was a much weaker installment than Divergent. I can only hope that Ms. Roth finishes out the trilogy with a strong bang.

There’s not much else I can say about this book. Based on the last two pages alone, I’m glad that I spent all that time reading the previous 523 pages. Those last two pages gave me hope that just maybe the trilogy will wrap up with a bang.

But then again, most of the reviews on Goodreads say otherwise. I guess I’ll have to get my hands on a copy of Allegiant ASAP and decide for myself.