Review: She Regrets Nothing by Andrea Dunlop

Title: She Regrets Nothing
Author: Andrea Dunlop
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
GoodReads

Synopsis:

In the tradition of The Emperor’s Children and The House of Mirth, the forgotten granddaughter of one of New York’s wealthiest men is reunited with her family just as she comes of age—and once she’s had a glimpse of their glittering world, she refuses to let it go without a fight.

When Laila Lawrence becomes an orphan at twenty-three, the sudden loss unexpectedly introduces her to three glamorous cousins from New York who show up unannounced at her mother’s funeral. The three siblings are scions of the wealthy family from which Laila’s father had been estranged long before his own untimely demise ten years before.

Two years later, Laila has left behind her quiet life in Grosse Point, Michigan to move to New York City, landing her smack in the middle of her cousins’ decadent world. As the truth about why Laila’s parents became estranged from the family patriarch becomes clear, Laila grows ever more resolved to claim what’s rightfully hers. Caught between longing for the love of her family and her relentless pursuit of the lifestyle she feels she was unfairly denied, Laila finds herself reawakening a long dead family scandal—not to mention setting off several new ones—as she becomes further enmeshed in the lives and love affairs of her cousins. But will Laila ever, truly, belong in their world? Sly and sexy, She Regrets Nothing is a sharply observed and utterly seductive tale about family, fortune, and fate—and the dark side of wealth.

Review:

I don’t think I have ever been so disappointed by a book. I have DNF’d books before, not because they were like this one, but because I knew I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to enjoy them. One day, I’ll get back to a lot of those books and I know they’ll be good.

This one though… Oh man. She Regrets Nothing made me regret requesting it on NetGalley. When I read the synopsis, I was getting a lot of Gossip Girl vibes, and yet I don’t think anyone in Gossip Girl was as entitled, selfish, and hypocritical as Laila. And that’s saying something, because the GG Upper East Side was fierce.

Laila is the perfect example of how wealth, or even aspiring to inherit wealth, can corrupt one’s character. While we begin the book sympathizing with Laila’s situation, that sympathy quickly dissipates as we see how she begins to treat people once she sees money.

There is gold digger and then there is Laila. She hopes to take New York by storm, and ride on the coattail of her rich and famous cousins. She gets into the good clubs, meets billionaires, and betrays basically everyone who is ever nice to her. Her cousins – Liberty, Nora, and Leo – take Laila under their wing. Nora and Leo let Laila live with them for free, Liberty gives Laila a job, and yet Laila remains the most ungrateful ingrate on earth. She continues to claw for more.

However, this is where the hypocrisy comes in – she faults the men that she meets for doing the exact same thing she is – trying to rise above their station and all that, and she looks down upon them from a high seat that no one ever gave her, and no one really thinks she deserves. Now this plot line goes on for about 80% of the book, and all I could do was sit there utterly exasperated by her. I stick by the rule of not quoting ARCs, but I’m fairly sure at least some of the quotes I have saved up are in the final version, and none of them make her look like a good person at all.

Then there’s the family scandal – no only is that plot line a stub as short as the TTC’s Sheppard line, but it’s not even acknowledged by the older people in the book until about 95% through the book. I was waiting for this huge revelation and I got nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Which leads me to the regret. I spent weeks trying to get through this book because I knew that I wasn’t turned off from it because of my mood, but because of Laila and her terrible character. In the end, I only liked Liberty and Reece, but at the same time, they were barely developed as characters and that drove me bonkers.

As a whole, I was left unimpressed by this book, not just for the terrible MC, but for the lack of plot, the poor execution, and the feeling of what-the-hell I was left with when I turned the last page. Definitely not a satisfying read for me.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 1/5
Writing: 2/5
World Building: 4/5
Pacing: 1/5
Overall: 1/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.65/5

eARC obtained via Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Blog Tour + Review: Exposure

Welcome to the Exposure Blog Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!

Title: Exposure [Incandescent #3]
Author: Sylvie Parizeau
Publication Date: Nov 22, 2017
Genre: New Adult Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

PHILIPPE-OLIVIER TISSEROT’s caffeine addiction is about to land him in uncharted territory and one hell of a ride. One that’s about to go viral.

Current status: Computer whiz to hacker to penpal.

Upgrade status: Lover.

Well, I’m still working on the lover part.

I’m just a computer geek studying at MIT. And now I’m in two places at once – the geek and the lover battling it out to get the girl.

The only problem is, my dream girl doesn’t know she knows me in either one of them.

Now I have to win her in both.

Please wait. Upgrade in progress.

Buy Link:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Review:

If you haven’t started this series, don’t worry about it! This book is a lot richer if you’ve read the first part of the series, but it still works great as a stand alone (think K.A. Tucker Ten Tiny Breaths, it works, but read the others ’cause they’re great too).

I think my favourite part about this book is the true friendships that holds the guys together. P.O. is one of six super geeks who have lived together for over thirteen years (thanks boarding school!). Incandescently is Liam’s story, Apprehension is Zac’s, this one’s P.O., and the others are to come. Their friendship and banter made me laugh and smile throughout the entire novel and I appreciated all of P.O. one liner t-shirts boasting techy puns. P.O.’s letters with Aurele were also extremely cute, and I loved the easy banter they fell into. I found it interesting that the author actually made P.O. think in coding/techy terms. It was just simply what was happening, but everything was translated in his head to a language his character would understand better, and that added detail surprised me.

That begin said, at times I was a little overwhelmed by some of the complex language. Even my geeky friends wouldn’t use some of these words in sentences. I’m an English major and I wouldn’t use some of those words in a sentence that wasn’t for a term paper. As such, the whole 20 something getting their degree is a tad bit unrealistic to me.

Call me a sucker or a cliche, but I loved the letter idea – the writing was witty and they were well written in that, as a reader you knew what the words really meant, but the MC was clueless. I found this a good way to develop the character and allow the story unfold for itself. I did think that a couple of the aspects of the story were a little cliche (love at first sight, for one). However, I enjoyed the simplicity of the novel, as well as how adorable the characters and the writing was.

As a whole, it was a lovely, light read that really helped to cut through the stress of life. Definitely happy that I took the time to sit down with this one and am super excited to read the rest of the series as it comes out!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Pacing: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.25/5

eARC obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Link:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About the Author:

A paralegal by day and incurable romantic by night, Sylvie is a cross-genre, and she takes Happily Ever After very seriously. The End just isn’t in her vocabulary.

An incorrigible daydreamer, she now feeds her obsession with epilogues by concocting stories in which heroes deal with the happy from the get-go. Ready, or not. And she confesses under oath to loving every minute of it.

Sylvie lives her own Happily Ever After in the beautiful mountains of Les Laurentides in Northern Quebec, alongside her whole set of characters.

In between treks in their backyard wilderness, you can find them hanging out at www.sylvieparizeau.com

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Giveaway:

Enter to win a signed copy of Incandescently, Apprehension, and Exposure! Open internationally. Ends Nov 30/17.

Book Tour + Review: Choosing Hope

Welcome to the Choosing Hope Book Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!

Title: Choosing Hope
Author: Holly Kammier
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Genre: Adult Romance Thriller
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Choosing Hope is a harrowing story of passion and deceit, the things we do for love and the rabbit holes we tumble into chasing elusive fairy-tale endings. Dark around the edges with a shocking twist I didn’t see coming, this is the kind of book you’ll be passing around to your friends so you can talk about it. Holly Kammier delivers romance, suspense, and a strong, smart heroine who turns out to be nobody’s victim. Don’t miss this one! – Kat Ross, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea

A broken marriage.
A love affair.
A lie that changes it all…

Hope Rains Sullivan is living the dream—a successful husband, two beautiful young boys, and a charming home in Northern California. She should be happy. She almost convinced herself she was, until Adrian came along.

Adrian, appears to be everything her husband isn’t. He works with his hands, and is even willing to use them in a fight. He’s sexy, strong and fit, with warm brown skin that alludes to his Spanish background. Best of all, he lives for spending time with his kids. Feeling alone in her marriage, Adrian offers her a way out

Hope’s affair is just the beginning. Her journey inward will require untangling her complicated past and surviving an astonishing revelation. Her lover is not who he pretends to be.

She’s searching for her happily-ever-after, and no matter how painful the journey, she’ll find what she’s been looking for all along—the chance to choose Hope.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBook

Review:

I will say this now, this book has some importance to it. In the end, the lesson is worth learning and it shows that everything in life has consequences. That being said, this book wasn’t at all what I had expected. Let me break it down for you.

This book was hard for me to get into. It made it hard for me to like the characters or to even sympathise with them. A lot of it was the narrator telling us about her problems, about what’s wrong with her marriage, about what’s right about her new man, but we don’t get to see, experience, and breathe it. We follow Hope’s story over a span of ten months, and what we’re given is very surface level. We get her perspective on her husband, but we don’t see much of the behaviour. We see how some things affect her children, but much of it is told to us. It’s hard to connect with her and her experiences without really getting to know the characters on a personal level.

That being said, I really liked her mother. Hope’s mother made the book for me. Everything she said was accurate and important and a lot of this book wouldn’t exist if Hope had just listened to her mom. That lady knew what she was talking about. From the beginning until the end, her mom is the voice of reason, and if someone were in this situation, she’s who they should listen to.

Onto the story itself – I’m not sure that one kind of almost thriller-like scene makes this book a thriller. I understand the idea behind this aspect of the book, but it was seemingly random. I wish we had seen a little more of this behaviour to fully understand the impact of this behaviour on Hope. A part of me believes it may have been better and more impactful had it been from Lisa’s point of view. The romance and courting is a mix of cute and whiplash-y. Hope is indecisive and she jumps back and forth, which also adds to the unpredictability of the book. It also added to my indifference and lack of commitment to the whole story. After the fourth or fifth switch, I began to turn the other cheek like, “Okay girl, I believe you.”

There are a lot of people who are in a similar position as Hope, where she’s fallen out of love with her husband, I think. While I don’t think her way of dealing with it was necessarily the best, I do think that it was important for her to acknowledge the brokenness of her marriage. As a whole, the lessons here are important, and I’m not going to deny that the twist was a surprise. However, I don’t think the book had as much as an impact on me because of the writing. Do I think this book is worth the read? Maybe. Do I think the lesson is something that is important to learn? Definitely.

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 2/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 3.5/5
Pacing: 2/5
Overall: 3/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.27/5

eBook obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBook

About the Author:

Co-owner of Acorn Publishing, Holly Kammier is a UCLA honors graduate and an accomplished content editor. With a background in journalism, she has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon.

Holly is the best-selling author of the novel, Kingston Court, and Could Have Been Hollywood, a memoir. She recently completed her third book, Choosing Hope, a spin-off from Kingston Court. Choosing Hope is a harrowing story of passion and deceit, and the things we do for love.

Holly resides in her hometown of San Diego, California, close to family and friends. A world traveler in her younger years, these days when she isn’t writing or working with new authors, she spends much of her time hanging out with her two boys, Josh and Alex. Holly is an avid reader with a passion for timeless books and beautiful writing. She also enjoys long walks with her Jack Russell Terrier, romantic movies, and making her mischievous sons smile wider.

Author Links:
Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway:

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Open internationally. Ends Nov 16/17.

Review: Zero Repeat Forever

Title: Zero Repeat Forever
Author: G.S. Prendergast
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Science Fiction
GoodReads

Synopsis:

He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival depends on trusting each other…

Review:

When they advertised this book as being similar to the 5th Wave and Beauty and the Beast, I jumped on the chance to read it and I wasn’t disappointed! Also, that cover is so beautiful.

The beginning of the story was maybe a little too similar to 5th Wave. We have a girl who’s fighting for her life, who’s injured by an alien. Then we have Eighth who wants to help her. However, where 5th Wave was a lot of action and romance, this book was smack full of character development. Right from the beginning we have the dual perspectives of Raven and Eighth, and we immediately get into their heads. There’s so many more layers to this story.

Unfortunately, the pacing was off for me. The first half of the book was a little slow and I couldn’t get that into. Yes, the story was interesting, and the characters were set up well, but there just wasn’t anything that captured me in the first half. I found myself more invested in just finishing the book than actually reading it – I checked how many pages were left to the book a lot of times during this half.

However, come the second half I was enthralled. This is where the Beauty and the Beast aspect comes in. All that character development and world building came to fruition and I was enamoured with the story. I cried, I laughed, I got to the end and groaned in absolute frustration that I need to wait for the sequel. I got swept away by the story and the characters and I loved it.

Was it a little predictable, sure, but I was surprised where the book ended off. Can I see where the story might be going? I have my theories, but I’m willing to read the second book because the characters have completely captured my heart.

Also, the meaning behind the book’s title got me – like my heart just could not handle it. This book was well thought out, well written, and well developed. I am so looking forward to the sequel!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Pacing: 3/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.97/5

eBook obtained via Simon and Schuster Canada via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult Fantasy Romance
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Review:

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT… I didn’t like it. At this point, I’ve read up until ACOWAR and I still didn’t like it…

Let’s start with the writing. Chapter 1 – we get it, it’s winter. Not only does Maas have the description of the crunching snow, how hungry Feyre is, and how cold she is, it is stated that it is winter, explicitly, three to four times. This was my first impression of the book and I wasn’t impressed to be honest.

Then there’s the story – comparing it to Beauty and the Beast is like comparing my foot to my dog’s foot. Yeah, sure they both have the same functionalities, and maybe some of the bone structure is the same (idk anatomy, so I can’t tell you how accurate that is), but at the end of the day if you swap ’em neither of us will be content. It’s the same thing here. Sure – there’s the father disappearing and the girl taken away by these supposedly dangerous creatures who are kind of cursed (honestly, there are worse things that can happen…), but that’s where the comparison ends really.

Now that we’re on the fae… Tamlin… oh Tamlin. There’s grass more interesting than Tamlin. He’s just there. Being silent and grumpy, and I can’t find anything to love about him. He’s an alright fellow if you like boring guys, but there’s not much there for ya. Lucien was more interesting to me than Tamlin. Her maidservant… Alice? I think her name was…. is also more interesting than Tamlin…

Side bar comment – HER SISTERS ARE SO ANNOYING LIKE HOLY. NOPE. (They get better, but ugh.)

That being said then, how on earth does Feyre come to love him? It’s so forced that I just could not deal with their romance and what triggers the latter section of the book.

On that note, I’ll tell you now that you’ll need to get through about two thirds of the novel to get anywhere with this book. Even Rhysand didn’t save this for me, but he’s a lot more entertaining than Tamlin. In the end, his character’s presence in the next two books is the only thing that kept me reading this series, but even then I can’t say I loved the other two book either…

I’d say this series is just over-hyped. There’s no other way to describe it. Like you have to love it ’cause everyone else does, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t even just me. My roommate and my sister tried reading this book and they were both left wondering how it was as popular as it is… We’ll see what else she has in store, but I can’t say I’m quite sold on the Maas hype.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing: 2/5
Pacing; 1/5
Overall: 2/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.28/5

Review: It Started with Goodbye

Title: It Started with Goodbye
Author: Christina June
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Blink
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance Retelling
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

Review:

As a whole, this book was cute, but if you know me, cute doesn’t quite cut it.

Let’s start with the Cinderella idea – I honestly wouldn’t have instantly thought this book was a modern day retelling, but don’t worry! If you forget, the book will beat you with that fact repeatedly.

Tatum isn’t a helpless Cinderella per say. She is absolute piss at defending herself, but she manages to start her own freelance business which helps her make her own money. That’s like the the equivalent of teenage success. However, she was at the wrong place at the wrong time and she gets punished for being in the driver’s seat of a car. And honestly – I get it. When your parents need to pick you up at the police station, you know there’s a punishment at the end of the car ride home. She ends up grounded and her travels are limited to baby sitting, her community service, and her sister’s school events. Colour me surprised…

I get it though – some of the rules that were implemented were a little much, but I’ve heard of those punishments before in other books. Maybe it’s ’cause my parents are more restrictive than most, but I didn’t find the whole thing that weird or restraining. I get why she thought it was unfair, but her defence on the matter sucked. She barely stood up for herself and I wouldn’t have sided with her either if I’d been her parents.

With all that being said, I really liked the idea of Tatum being independent and earning her own money from baby-sitting and freelancing. She took something she excelled at and pursued it. I really like that this part was in the book as it’s the gate to a lot of what comes later, but also because it shows that if you enjoy something you should explore it and see where it leads!

The character development in this book was also pretty great. There are a lot of lessons to be learned here and I really liked how the characters grew with the story and how more and more is revealed about each character as time goes on. It’s so easy to judge people and I enjoyed seeing how the characters grew and changed from the MC’s perspective.

As a whole, this was a cute, light story that is fairly conservative when it comes to the romantic aspects of the novel. With all the more graphic romance books out there for teens, this was a breath of fresh air!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Pacing: 4/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.82/5

 

eARC obtained via Blink via NetGalley.

Book Tour + Review: Just Friends

Welcome to the Just Friends Book Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

Title: Just Friends
Author: Tiffany Pitcock
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Debut author Tiffany Pitcock delivers a spot-on depiction of first love and the high school rumor mill in Just Friends, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads.

Buy Links:
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Review:

As a debut novel, it was pretty good. The subjects broached here are real and hard to deal with and I think Pitcock really treated them with respect and care.

The book starts off a little oddly. Immediately, we have a sense of who the characters are and we get a odd game of pretend. It’s weird. I can’t really see a “good girl” and a “bad boy” doing that together and doing it well. That being said, you immediately see some of the chemistry the characters have with each other. Broaching the subject of “bad boy” and “good girl”, I can’t say they needed the labels. Chance was kind of a player, but there was nothing really “bad” about him. This definitely wasn’t a Katie McGarry sitch where the he’s part of a gang or the wrong side of town, he was just hot and girls liked him. Back to their chemistry though, the characters played off each other well, and I felt like their relationship was really natural.

The story itself was good. Labels aside, the characters were pretty down to earth and seeing into their worlds really brought the story to life. My heart actually hurt for some of them, ’cause honestly life sucks, but they dealt with it well enough. To be honest though, a lot of the story and problems the characters had could have easily been solved with this magical thing called communication. It was all just assumptions, overheard conversations, and jealousy, though I guess that’s kind of what high school is anyway. I don’t know guys, was high school really like this for you guys??

One thing that always drives me bananas is when the protag ditches her best friend for a guy. I get that it was a little different here, but her best friend plays a very peripheral role in this book, and she even states that she never sees Jenny anymore.

After typing all that out, you wouldn’t know what’s good about that novel, but honestly, there was something in the writing that kept me reading. The chemistry between the characters is great and the banter is funny, and as a whole, this book made me feel for the characters and their experiences. Is it a little cliche, sure. Is it super deep, not really. But I think it’s a good book to keep you company because you can’t help but smile while reading it.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 3.5/5
World Building: 5/5
Pacing: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.76

eARC obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Links:
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

About the Author:

23. Writer. Reader. Sarcastic.

I was born and raised in Arkansas, which isn’t terribly exciting. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I used to sit in class and write stories in my notebooks, thinking that everyone did. It turns out, everyone didn’t. I love writing because it means I’m putting my thoughts, feelings, and soul out there for someone else to read – for someone else to feel. The fact that someone can read my words, and empathize with my characters – characters that wouldn’t exist with out me, that I created from my mind – is such a wonderful concept to me. I could happily write for the rest of my life as long as there was one person out there who was affected by my words.

Author Links:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway:

Enter to win a print copy of Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock! Open to US/CAN.