Hope City Tour – Review

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About the Book

Hope City: The Alaskan Adventures of Percy Hope by Neil Perry Gordon
Publication Date: May 31, 2020

Two teenage boys from San Francisco set off in the summer of 1898 into the goldfields of the Alaskan wilderness.

Warned by his father to conceal his Jewish heritage from the ruffians he may encounter, Samuel Rothman changes his name to the less conspicuous Percy Hope. This fateful decision gives a yet-unnamed mining village a new identity and catapults Percy into a world where the good and the righteous must face greedy and ruthless adversaries.

Along a waterway known as Turnagain Arm, the newly named Hope City and the more established Sunrise are like opposite sisters. The good and virtuous Hope, with a Catholic church led by the influential Reverend O’Hara, admonishes residents against committing the seven deadly sins. In Sunrise, villainous saloon owner Magnus Vega tempts prospectors with whiskey, gambling, and women.

Hope City weaves the tale of a young man falling down a rabbit hole of unexpected hardships and struggling to find his way out, amid a wild and unforgiving environment where ambitious men and women seek their fortunes.

This fast-paced adventure is full of unforeseen twists and will delight all readers looking for a rich and dramatic page-turner with a shocking twist.

Praise for Hope City

“… Gordon’s beautifully imagined prose has clarity and dimension, and he keeps the pacing relatively quick and does justice to the impressive array of characters. Samuel’s emergence from a typical teenage self-doubt is beautifully imagined. Ripe on unforeseen twists and shocking turns, this fast-paced adventure will delight action-adventure fans as well as lovers of nuanced coming-of-age tales. This is a complete entertainment package.” ~ The Prairies Book Review

“The hunt for gold was a time of discovery and excitement for many people. Neil Gordon Perry has crafted a story that takes this time period and allows readers to connect with two friends on their journey in Alaska. Hope City is the type of story that will remind people of the beloved stories like Call of the Wild that bring the adventures of the past to a present audience in an engaging way…” ~ The Nerdy Girl Express

“…But the real treasure in Hope City is to be found in its character development with Gordon once again demonstrating a gift for nuance that vividly brings his characters to life. A rich and dramatic page-turner with a shocking twist, Hope City proves a must-read and is highly recommended.” ~ Book Viral

Review

I feel like you can tell I’ve been watching a lot of adventure and treasure hunting shows lately based off of the books I’ve been reading. What can I say, I really find the subject enjoyable! Plus this is a story of adventure in Alaska, which is one of the places I want to visit the most. So yeah, this was a story that seemed to be made just for me.

And adventure abounds in this story. There are some twists that will keep you interested in finding out what will happen next. And the characters themselves provide plenty of entertainment while reading, helping to develop the plot and give a more realistic appeal to the hunt for gold in the Alaskan wilderness.

This is such a lush novel. The writing just has that something extra that really draws you in and makes you think. There were so many enjoyable moments and the plot really kept you on your toes and made you consider what life was like back then. And all in all, it’s just a really good story.

About the Author

Beginning with his debut novel in 2018–A Cobbler’s Tale, followed by Moon Flower, The Righteous One, The Bomb Squad and Hope City, Neil Perry Gordon has established himself as a well-respected and prolific historical fiction novelist. His story telling ability has earned him high editorial praise from the likes of Kirkus, Midwest Book Review and others, including hundreds of four and five star reader reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Neil attributes his love of the writing process from his formative education at the Green Meadow Waldorf School, where he learned that subjects such as music, dance and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths, were not simply things to be read about and tested, but lessons to be experienced.

His creative writing methods and inspiration have been described as organic; meaning that he begins his work with a general storyline for his characters, rather than working with a formal, detailed outline. This encourages his writing to offer surprising twists and unexpected outcomes, which readers have celebrated. His novels have the attributes of being driven by an equal balance between character development and face-paced action, which moves his stories along at a swift page-turning pace.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Origins Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

Origins by Nicole Sallak Anderson
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Literary Wanderlust
Paperback & eBook; 229 Pages
Series: Song of the King’s Heart, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction

This is the lost story of Lord Ankhwenefer, known to the Greeks as Chaonnophris the Rebel, the last native Egyptian Pharaoh. The brilliance and heartache of his rebellion weave a tale that history has forgotten.

Until now.

In the year 205 B.C., after centuries of Persian and Macedonian occupation, a rebel king rises from the south to take ancient Egypt back unto native hands. He will battle the Ptolemy line for twenty years, and rule almost eighty percent of Egypt, yet in the end, history will never mention his name.

Born Prince Ankhmakis, the last in a line of native Egyptian kings, he is raised with one purpose to help his father reclaim Egypt from the Macedonian occupiers and return their country to dynastic greatness. Fate, however, has its own plans. For lies and deceit live in the hearts of all involved, from his family to the priesthood, and the Greeks arenít the only ones who seek to destroy him.

Natasa is in training to become the High Priestess of the temple of Isis. Her task is to strengthen the royal family with the magic of the goddess through love and pleasure. She never thought the connection between her and Ankhmakis could be so strong, or carry a power coveted by those lurking in the shadows. Nor did she know that the child they would create would have her own great destiny to fulfill.

Together, Ankhmakis and Natasa must defend the potential of their love from those who would seek to use it for their own gain. Theirs is a world of magic, power, riches, and lust, and there are those within the court who would do anything to keep Ankhmakis and Natasa apart. Between mystical forces, murder, and illicit schemes–only the gods know if theyíll survive.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for Origins

“ORIGINS is an enthralling, cinematic tale set in Ancient Egypt, seeping with magic, intrigue, treachery, and romance. I was hooked from the beginning and holding my breath until the very last page.” ó Stephanie Diaz, author of the Extraction Series

“Nicole Sallak Anderson’s detailed research of costumes, history, and rituals illuminate a long-vanished culture and makes it interesting and she has skillfully breathed life into mere hieroglyphs turning them into vibrant people whose lives are filled with love, jealousy, intrigue, and ambition. A must-read for anyone fascinated by Egyptology or who just wants to read a great story.” – Nancy Lynn Jarvis, author of the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series and the PIP Inc. series.

Review

Gah, it’s been so long since I’ve read such a solid historical fiction piece on Ancient Egypt. There’s just obviously so much history and research that went into this story, but there’s also still that mysticism and magic that comes with anything related to Ancient Egypt. And the best part is that it’s superbly written and not a dry historical fiction. There is a wonderful story within these pages that will pull on your interest.

But yeah, there’s some romance, of course some drama, lots of action and political intrigue, and so much more in between. This story definitely does not disappoint and you will never find yourself bored. If anything it’ll just make you want to read faster and faster so that you can find out what happens next. But yeah, the romance in this one is good! And that’s all I’m going to say on that because I don’t want to spoil anything.

Also, I think it’s fair to note that this is the first installment in the series. So you know I’m going to be eagerly awaiting book two. But that also means that there will be plenty more to enjoy from this story and world!

About the Author

Nicole Sallak Anderson is a Computer Science graduate from Purdue University, and former CTO for a small Silicon Valley startup, turned novelist and blogger, focusing on the intersection of technology and consciousness. She currently lives in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains in California with her husband, where she raises goats and bees. She enjoys spinning, knitting, playing the bass, and dancing, particularly the tango.

You can keep up with all her latest writing by following @NSallakAnderson on Facebook, Twitter and Medium or her website www.nicolesallakanderson.com. Feel free to contact her, she almost always answers to any query or comment!

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 24
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, August 25
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, August 26
Review at YA, it’s Lit

Thursday, August 27
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, August 28
Review at Books and Zebras

Monday, August 31
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, September 1
Review at Books Cooks Looks

Wednesday, September 2
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, September 3
Review & Excerpt at Journey in Bookland

Monday, September 7
Feature at I’m Into Books
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Friday, September 11
Review at Jessica Belmont

Wednesday, September 16
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Friday, September 18
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Origins! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Origins

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Glorious Boy Tour – Review

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About the Book

Publication Date: May 12, 2020
Red Hen Press
Paperback & eBook; 344 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

On a remote island in British India, a mute four-year-old and the local girl who cares for him disappear on the eve of Japanese occupation, forcing the boy’s parents, a young anthropologist and her physician husband, to take drastic measures to save the children.

It’s 1942. The Japanese have invaded Burma and are closing in on India. After five years in the remote Andaman Islands, aspiring anthropologist Claire Durant and her husband Shep, a civil surgeon, must evacuate with their beloved but mysteriously mute four-year-old, Ty. They cannot, however, take Naila, the local girl whose ability to communicate with Ty has made them dangerously dependent on her. The morning of the evacuation, both children disappear. With time running out, Shep forces Claire onto the ship while he stays behind to find their son. But just days after landing in Calcutta, Claire learns that the Japanese have taken the Andamans—and cut off all access to her missing family. In the desperate odyssey that follows, Claire, Shep, and Naila will all take unimaginable risks while drawing deeply from their knowledge of these unique islands to save their beloved “glorious boy.”

Praise for Glorious Boy

“With nuanced descriptions of diverse characters, and a wrenching portrait of the well-meaning Durants’ limited power, Liu upends the clichés of the white savior narrative…[a] sharp take on a lesser-known part of WWII history.” — Publishers Weekly

“A novel about family, communication, and colonialism in a rarely discussed sphere of World War II conflict.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An absolutely gorgeous historical novel about ambition, culture clash, love, atonement, and one silent boy, set against the backdrop of a tribe in the Andamans struggling with British rule. So blisteringly alive, you feel the swampy heat and the bugs; so emotionally true, it grips at every page. Just magnificent and not to be missed.” —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World

“In Glorious Boy, Aimee Liu tears a forgotten footnote from the history books and brings it to life in an epic tale of a family caught in a clash of cultures and loyalties during World War II. Set in a penal colony on the remote Andaman Islands, Glorious Boy is the whirlwind story of vanishing cultures, unbreakable codes, rebellion, occupation, and colonization, all swirling around the disappearance of a mute four-year-old boy on the eve of the Japanese occupation of Port Blair. A stirring indictment of the brutality that humanity is capable of, Liu’s heartbreaking new novel of love, betrayal, and sacrifice is also a testament to how far we will go for the ones we love.” —Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, author of Shadow Child and Hiroshima in the Morning

“No doubt Aimee Liu’s ambitious novel, Glorious Boy, will be praised, deservedly, as historical fiction, an adventure novel, even a ripping yarn, but the heart of this book is what it means to be a mother. Liu’s sympathetic and complicated protagonist, Claire Durant, finds herself challenged when it comes to connecting with her atypical son, and the book asks us all to consider whose responsibility it is to be better with and to other human beings, especially those with whom we’re most intimate. How do we learn what isn’t instinct? How do we protect ourselves and others from our own best intentions? With a generous and exacting eye, Liu explores these questions and more, and we, lucky readers, get to go along for the ride.” —Karen Shepard, author of Kiss Me Someone

Review

This is one of those books that is going to stick with you for a while. After reading it, you’ll find yourself repeatedly and randomly thinking about it. It’s one of those hauntingly realistic books that forces you to think about what you would do if you were in the same position as the characters. Add in that is covers a part of history that isn’t often at the forefront of any story and you have an utterly alluring tale.

The characters in this book will sweep you off of your feet. They’re all so different yet they’re all written with such attention to detail. And given the high stakes atmosphere of this story it is so interesting to see the lengths and measures that these characters go in protecting not only Ty, but each other. For to protect Ty they all must make it out alive. It is interesting to see what a father, a mother, and a young girl with a strange affinity to understand Ty will do in order to protect him and make it out of this dangerous area.

I really loved the setting and prose of this book. They were blended so well together that it made the whole story seem lyrical in a way. This is a story of survival, war, and family. It chronicles the emotions and motivations behind individuals and adds in a historical depth.

About the Author

Aimee Liu is the bestselling author of the novels Flash House, Cloud Mountain, and Face and the memoirs Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders and Solitaire. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, published as a Literary Guild Super Release, and serialized in Good Housekeeping. She’s received a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, a Bosque Fiction Prize, and special mention by the Pushcart Prize. Her essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times, Poets & Writers, and many other periodicals and anthologies. A past president of the national literary organization PEN Center USA, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College and is on the faculty of Goddard College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program at Port Townsend, WA. She lives in Los Angeles.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Face of Fortune Tour – Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Face of Fortune by Colleen Kelly-Eiding
Publication Date: February 1, 2020
Phase Publishing
Paperback & eBook; 405 Pages
Series: The Shadows of Rosthwaite, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Charlotte Pruitt, an auburn-haired beauty whose soul is as wild as the northern mountains she loves, lives day to day, hoping against hope that James Clarke still lives. The love of her life and father of their son had attacked a nobleman whom he caught attempting to rape Charlotte. Pursued by soldiers and attempting to escape, James plunged into a raging river and was last seen being pulled under by the torrent.

James who had fought to protect her and little Jack, is gone. Courage, strength, intellect, and a keen wit would have to be her guardians now.

A weaker person would crumble under the pressure of running a business, raising a child alone, fending off unscrupulous men, while always aware that the horrific villain, Edward Hawkes is still alive and bent on her destruction. Instead, Charlotte focuses on those less fortunate than herself. She becomes dedicated to helping Jane Rourke, a weaver, who is falsely accused of crimes and sentenced to death. Charlotte is offered a way to save Jane Rourke, but at a terrible price to herself. And what of Hawkes? How will she save herself and little Jack?

From the dark and gritty streets of Spitalfields, hiding secrets both good and evil, to the haunted moors of Devon, and to the perilous heights of the northern English mountains where Charlotte’s greatest test will come, this epic saga of human kindness, passionate love, and horrifying evil never ceases to enchant…and terrify.

Available on Amazon

Review

While I love historical fiction stories that are character driven, I also sometimes like reading ones with lots of action. It helps even out the types of stories I read! This is definitely one that falls into the action packed category, I mean it will leave you flipping those pages and fully consumed! Plus the villains are perfectly villain-y, which you know I love!

I really enjoyed reading about Charlotte. There’s something that’s so great about reading such an amazingly written female character. I also enjoyed seeing how her character developed and how she survived on her own. Charlotte is definitely one of those characters that can’t seem to catch a break but she continues to persevere and become a better and stronger person because of it.

This is the second book in The Shadows of Rosthwaite series and (yay) a third one is on the way! I’m really looking forward to continuing this series and seeing where the story leads. Based off of the first two books I’m sure there will be plenty more drama, development, and page turning excitement!

About the Author

Colleen Kelly-Eiding is a member of the Screen Actors’ Guild-American Federation of TV and Radio Artists, and Actors’ Equity. Her husband is an actor, as are their two adult daughters. Theatre, acting and above all, storytelling, are part of her family’s DNA.

Colleen, was in the first class of women at Kenyon College in Ohio when the school went co-ed. She also studied drama and political science at the University of Manchester in England. She later received an MFA in acting from the University of Minnesota. She has been an actor, director, casting assistant, 3rd grade teacher, and audiometrist.

Favoured by Fortune and Face of Fortune have been occupying Colleen’s imagination for a quite a long time. After both daughters graduated college, she and husband Paul became empty nesters. The time seemed right for Colleen to bring young Ms. Pruitt, our heroine, to life and let Charlotte tell her story.

During her time in Manchester, Colleen fell in love with the country. When she returned to England to do research for her series, she was beyond elated. She interviewed a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, spent time researching indictment records from the 1760‘s at the Guild Hall in London, and walked the route that the carts of the condemned travelled from Newgate Prison to the Tyburn Tree. Visiting the tiny village of Rosthwaite, located in the beautiful Borrowdale Valley in the Lake District, where much of the action takes place, helped give context and inspiration to Colleen.

Colleen continues to act for stage and film. She studies sculpting and ceramics. And enjoys traveling to Comic Cons around the world, where her husband is a frequent guest.

Her series of historical novels is titled The Shadows of Rosthwaite. The second book in the series, Face of Fortune, was released on February 1, 2020. Published by Phase Publishing, LLC.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 20
Review at Passages to the Past
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Tuesday, April 21
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, April 22
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Friday, April 24
Review at Books and Zebras

Monday, April 27
Feature at I’m Into Books
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Wednesday, April 29
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, April 30
Review at Jessica Belmont
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Saturday, May 2
Review at Historical Graffiti

Monday, May 4
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Tuesday, May 5
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, May 7
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks (Book #1)

Friday, May 8
Review at A Darn Good Read
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks (Book #2)

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Face of Fortune! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Face of Fortune

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

The Witch of the Wild Beasts Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

Witch of the Wild Beasts by Catherine Stine
Publication Date: March 11, 2020
Konjur Road Press
Paperback & eBook; 294 Pages
Genre: Historical Fantasy

When Evalina is imprisoned for witchcraft, will her supernatural bond with animals be her curse or salvation?

In 1854, Evalina Stowe witnesses the murder of her brother by Dr. Dowdrick, an enraged client at the tailorís where they work. Desperate to stop him, she rouses a swarm of wasps that sting the doctor while she stabs him with scissors, and then flees. At a subsequent job when birds race to her defense, Evalina is declared a witch and sent to Philadelphiaís Eastern State Penitentiary.

While imprisoned, Evalina is horrified not only to learn that Dr. Dowdrick is still alive, but heís experimenting on inmates. Determined to get inside his Eclectic Medical School, to expose his nefarious activities, sheís passionate about protecting fellow prisoners, especially Lewin, a child thief who knew her brother, and Birdy, a kind, resilient Welsh man serving time for a workerís death while blasting granite for the railroad.

Evalina, her friends and her ìwild beastsî work against time to unmask Dowdrickís crimes when she participates with him in a symposium, showcasing Philadelphiaís premium doctors. If they fail, not only will the doctorís evil deeds continue unchecked but Evalina and her crew will surely be hung. Actual historical figures such as Dr. Thomas Mutter and Charles Dickens spice up this fantastical thriller brimming with historical gems set in Philadelphiaís renowned penitentiary. Won a second place spot in The 2019 Valley Forge RWA Sheila contest.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Review

This book is just so cool! I mean not only is the cover gorgeous, but the story is just so interesting! I love the mix of fantasy and historical fiction along with the setting of this one. I have a thing for books set in either asylums or penitentiaries way back when. They were just such terrible places and I think it is important to shed light on the horridness that was these locations.

The magic system in this book was done really well. It was there but it wasn’t oversaturated throughout the story, which made it fit better. It was honestly such an intriguing story and I couldn’t put the book down. It was a historical and fantasy but also had a little bit of suspense to it. But then again I do love everything gothic.

The characters were all so engaging. There was such a varying cast of good and evil that you were kept on the edge of your seat throughout the read. I would definitely recommend this book to so many different types of readers as I could see it appealing to many different genre lovers.

About the Author

Catherine Stine is a USA Today bestselling author of historical fantasy, paranormal romance, sci-fi thrillers and young adult fiction. She lives in Manhattan, grew up in Philadelphia and is known to roam the Catskills. Her most recent novel, Witch of the Wild Beasts won a second prize spot in the 2019 Valley Forge RWA Sheila Contest. Other novels have earned Indie Notable awards and New York Public Library Best Books for Teens. Before writing novels, she was a painter and childrenís fabric designer. Sheís a visual author when it comes to scenes, and she sees writing as painting with words. She loves edgy thrills, perhaps because her dad read Edgar Allen Poe tales to her as a child. Catherine loves spending time with her beagle Benny, writing about supernatural creatures, gardening on her deck, traveling and meeting readers at book fests.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | BookBub

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 6
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, April 7
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, April 8
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, April 9
Feature at I’m Into Books

Friday, April 10
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Monday, April 13
Review at Captivated Pages

Tuesday, April 14
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, April 15
Review at Historical Graffiti

Thursday, April 16
Review at The Nerdy Bookworm

Friday, April 17
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Monday, April 20
Review at The Magical Pages

Tuesday, April 21
Review at Momfluenster
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, April 22
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Foals, Fiction and Filigree
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a signed copy of Witch of the Wild Beasts + an eBook of Witch of the Cards + $40 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

ñ Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on April 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
ñ Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
ñ Only one entry per household.
ñ All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
ñ The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Witch of the Wild Beasts

Eden Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

Eden by Brennan McPherson
Publication Date: April 1, 2020
McPherson Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 332 Pages

Genre: Biblical/Historical

ìYou want me to tell of how I broke the world.î

Itís the year 641 since humanity was formed in Eden, and after Eve passes away, Adam is the only man left on earth who remembers everything from the beginning of the world.

When Enoch, Godís newly appointed prophet, decides to collect the stories of the faithful from previous generations, he finds Adam in desperate need to confess the dark secrets heís held onto for too long.

Beside a slowly burning bonfire in the dead of night, Adam tells his story in searing detail. From the beginning of everything, to how he broke the world, shattered Eveís heart, and watched his family crumble.

Will Enoch uncover what led so many of Adamís children away from God? And will Adam find the redemption and forgiveness he longs for?

Praise for previous work by Brennan McPherson

ìBrilliant, erudite, breathtaking.î ñ Tosca Lee, NYT best-selling author

ìI think weíll be hearing more of Brennan and his stories.î ñ Charles Martin, NYT best-selling author

ìA soul-searching, heart-rending, deeply satisfying story.î ñ Mesu Andrews, ECPA Book of the Year award-winning author of Love Amid Ashes

ìHow do you take a centuries-old story and put a new spin on it, inviting readers into an evocative world they thought they already knew? Brennan McPherson figured out the way. Flood will entertain you, yes, but also take you deep into your soul and make you ponder both the vastness and the intimacy of God.î ñ James L. Rubart, Christy Book of the Year award-winning author of The Five Times I Met Myself

Review

Well, isn’t this a different genre for me to read! I’ve said it multiple times, but part of my goal for this year was to try out new genres. And this is probably one genre that I have never checked out before! But I’m really happy this was my first introduction, because Eden was so amazing!

Now, I may not have the BEST knowledge of the Bible but the tale of Adam and Eve is pretty memorable. I really liked how this book told the story from the perspective of Adam and gave the story a human centered basis. If that makes any sense. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it took it from a zoomed out story to a more person focused one. It helps make the story seem more relatable.

I also have to point out that the author took a lot of liberties with the story. While this didn’t bother me in the slightest (it probably helped me like it more), some people may not be greatly appreciative of all of the changes. So, take this story as a story and not as a restating of the original story.

About the Author

Brennan McPherson writes epic biblical fiction with an imaginative twist. With heart-pounding plots and lyrical prose, McPherson crafts a different sort of biblical fiction for readers who like to be challenged to think.

Website |†Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 6
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Tuesday, April 7
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, April 8
Review at Jessica Belmont
Review at McCombs on Main

Thursday, April 9
Review at The Nerdy Bookworm

Friday, April 10
Review at NurseBookie

Saturday, April 11
Feature at What Is That Book About
Interview at Passages to the Past

Sunday, April 12
Review at Tales from the Book Dragon

Monday, April 13
Review at Historical Graffiti

Tuesday, April 14
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Wednesday, April 15
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, April 16
Review at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Giveaway

To celebrate the publication of Eden, Brennan is offering a paperback copy of every book published by McPherson Publishing (with the exception of EDEN), including the 3 Psalm Series novella books, one by Mesu Andrews, one by Carole Towriss, one by me; a copy of FLOOD: The Story of Noah and the Family Who Raised Him and BABEL: The Story of the Tower and the Rebellion of Man; and a non-fiction book The Simple Gospel and How it Works in Us.

Giveaway Rules

ñ Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on April 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
ñ Paperback giveaway is open to US only.
ñ Only one entry per household.
ñ All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
ñ The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Eden Blog Tour

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Metropolis Tour – Review & Giveaway

Click the image to see my booksta post!

About the Book

Metropolis by Ellie Midwood
Publication Date: January 31, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 238 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Weimar Berlin, 1924

Unemployed actors, profiteers, cabaret girls, and impoverished aristocracy – out of this wild set of characters populating Weimar Berlin, Margarete Gräfin von Steinhoff belongs to the latter category. Having lost everything due to hyper-inflation, she considers jumping into the freezing waters of the Spree rather than facing the humiliating existence shared by millions of her fellow Germans. However, a chance meeting makes her change her mind at the last moment and offers her a chance to rely on the help of the metropolis itself, where anything can be sold and bought for money and where connections are everything. The bustling nightlife of cosmopolitan Berlin, with its casinos and dance halls, brings good income for the ones who don’t burden themselves too heavily with morals.

After a New Year’s Eve party, Margot finally meets her ever-absent and mysterious neighbor, Paul Schneider, who makes a living by producing a certain type of film for his rich clientele. Under his guidance, Margot discovers a new passion of hers – photography and soon, her talents are noticed by the prominent newspaper, Berliner Tageblatt itself. But being an official photographer of the most celebrated events of the La Scala and most famous Berlin theaters no longer satisfies Margot’s ambitions. As soon as the chance presents itself for her to get involved with the cinematography on the set of “Metropolis” – the film with the highest budget ever produced by the UFA – Margot jumps at it, without thinking twice. At the same time, Paul becomes involved with a rival project, “The Holy Mountain,” which stars an as yet unknown actress and an emerging director in, Leni Riefenstahl. As the two women meet, professional rivalry soon turns into a true friendship, fueled by their passion for cinematography. However, due to the economic woes facing Germany, both projects soon run out of money and now, both film crews must go to extreme lengths to save their respective productions.

Set against the backdrop of a decadent, vibrant, and fascinatingly liberal Weimar Berlin, “Metropolis” is a novel of survival, self-discovery, and self-sacrifice, in the name of art, love, and friendship.

Available on Amazon

Review

Well dang this book was good! I mean, I was transported to Berlin circa 1920s. It was both a bleak time as well as a time for an amazing artistic movement! This was a time of survival for many people in Berlin and it was so interesting to see both the gritty side of the city as well as the vibrant and rich side. Where some people were hanging over bridges, pockets full of rocks, others were attending parties full of drugs, sex, and raw wildness.

Margot is a survivor. She may have her moments of doubt, but there is a lust for life in her eyes. I instantly fell in love with her character. She had such life but she was also so realistic. I’ve always been intrigued by the Twenties, so it’s interesting to read a book set in Berlin in the Twenties. It seemed like a completely different time period from what you normally read because Midwood made sure to incorporate more to the story than just the lavish parties that seemed to be constantly going on in the time. I think that aspect is what made this book stand out so much to me. The story was real instead of purely a work of fiction. This was real life, and yes there were wild raucous parties and a vibrant artistic movement, but it was also a time of struggle.

From the moment you open this book the story hooks you and drags you into the pages. I can completely understand why Midwood is a favorite author to many. She has such a way with words and laying out an amazing story. I really look forward to checking out her other books!

About the Author

Ellie Midwood is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning historical fiction author. She owes her interest in the history of the Second World War to her grandfather, Junior Sergeant in the 2nd Guards Tank Army of the First Belorussian Front, who began telling her about his experiences on the frontline when she was a young girl. Growing up, her interest in history only deepened and transformed from reading about the war to writing about it. After obtaining her BA in Linguistics, Ellie decided to make writing her full-time career and began working on her first full-length historical novel, “The Girl from Berlin.” Ellie is continuously enriching her library with new research material and feeds her passion for WWII and Holocaust history by collecting rare memorabilia and documents.

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, January 31
Review at Passages to the Past
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Monday, February 3
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, February 4
Feature at Comet Readings

Wednesday, February 5
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Friday, February 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Saturday, February 8
Excerpt at Robin Loves Reading

Wednesday, February 12
Review at Books and Zebras
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Thursday, February 13
Review & Guest Post at Tales from the Book Dragon

Friday, February 14
Review at Clarissa Reads it All
Feature at I’m All About Books

Sunday, February 16
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, February 17
Review at Nurse Bookie

Wednesday, February 19
Review at Historical Graffiti

Thursday, February 20
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, February 21
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Metropolis! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Metropolis

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

A Rational Attachment Tour – Review & Giveaway

Click the image to see my booksta post!

About the Book

A Rational Attachment by Lauren Gilbert
Publication Date: December 26, 2019
AuthorHouse
Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction

The daughter of a wealthy business man in York, Anne Emmons knows her father wants her to marry well. Anne, however, has always dreamed of marrying for love. Set in the Regency period, Anne’s introduction to London Society is made difficult by her personal ambitions as well as her family’s lack of aristocratic connections. In time, Anne finds her way aided by family and friends and the surprising support of one of the Ton’s leading figures. Will she succeed in finding the love she desires, or will she settle for a marriage transaction?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Review

I have been a fan of regency pieces for an extremely long time. However I often find that they are hit or miss for me as to whether I can get into the story. And I am beyond glad to say that A Rational Attachment fit in perfectly with my taste! I was immediately smiling and just enjoying the story.

This is a story about Anne and her desire to marry for love in a time where women were expected to marry for their position and (for lack of a more accurate word) money. Women were stifled during this time period and love was a scarce commodity. Marriage was a business transaction and perhaps you would wind up finding love in it, if you were lucky. In this story Anne must fight against the ambitions of those around her with her own ideologies.

I really liked Anne as a character. Rarely do you see stories about a quiet and shy girl that would rather stay at home than go out to lavish parties and dinners. Which is interesting, because I feel like most book worms tend to be like Anne? Just saying, haha. Even though I love reading about these powerhouse murderous females, I also sometimes want to just sit down and relax with a character that I know would also enjoy sitting down and relaxing with me.

About the Author

An avid reader, Lauren Gilbert has always dreamed of writing books, and has written all her life. She enjoys non-fiction (especially history) and fiction alike. Favorite authors include James Thomas Flexner, Alison Weir, Diana Gabaldon, Sharon Kay Penman, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and, of course, Jane Austen. Lauren is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, and has delivered presentations for chapter meetings, as well as a break-out session at the 2011 JASNA Annual General Meeting. Now semi-retired after a career spanning almost 30 years, HEYERWOOD: A Novel is her first published novel. Another novel, A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT, has just been released and a non-fiction work is in process. Lauren is a contributor to the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, and has several articles in CASTLES, CUSTOMS, AND KINGS True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors volumes 1 and 2. Lauren Gilbert lives in Florida with her husband.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 17
Review at Books and Zebras
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, February 19
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Thursday, February 20
Feature at I’m Into Books
Interview at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, February 21
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Monday, February 24
Review at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away one eBook and one paperback copy of A Rational Attachment! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 24th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

A Rational Attachment

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Matamoros Tour – Review & Giveaway

Click the image to see my booksta post!

About the Book

Matamoros by James Kahn
Publication Date: December 20, 2019
Pen Wild Press
Paperback & eBook; 442 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Western

In the U.S. Civil War, by 1862 the Union had blockaded all Confederate ports. Just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, Matamoros was the only harbor where the South could ship its cotton to Europe, and smuggle in arms for the rebellion. So it was a haven for Yankee and Rebel spies and diplomats, gunrunners and cotton smugglers, runaway slaves, bandits, Texas Rangers, and rogues of every stripe.

But Matamoros was also full of French Foreign Legionnaires – because that same year, Napoleon III had invaded Mexico, to install Archduke Maximilian of Austria as Emperor.

Set against the backdrop of two wars, this is the story of Clay – an expatriate Southern gentleman running a gambling hall – and Allie, his ex-con artist partner, bringing her cotton train to market – in a star-crossed affair that may or may not survive their conflicted allegiances amidst the tides of battle.

Praise for Matamoros

“A historical novel offers an in-depth view of the machinations surrounding the Civil War battle for Texas. Kahn’s descriptive prose delivers powerful images…Strong leads star in a passionate war tale filled with political intrigue, violence, and scoundrels.” – Kirkus Reviews

“The author does a wonderful job of capturing the different elements of the setting, exploring the historical and social aspects. The prose is beautiful and highly descriptive, and readers will enjoy the social commentaries that punctuate the narrative. This is an awesome read, fast-paced and filled with action. The author paints exciting images of a town flourishing in times of war and makes readers feel as though they were part of it.” – Readers Favorite, 5 stars

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for Matamoros CD

“The music paints a powerful but poignant portrait of these disparate renegades, outlaws, and outcasts, each intent on their own survival. The sumptuous paintings included with the CD add a bonus element as well, and given the complete packaging — story, music and art — it confirms the fact that concept and creativity far outweigh the amorphous nature of digital downloads. More than that, Matamoros is an album for the ages, both heartbreaking and affecting in equal measure.” – Lee Zimmerman, The Daily Ripple

“Few songwriters have the determination to tell full-length stories through their songs. Greats, like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, are a couple of notables in this limited group coming immediately to mind. Therefore, James Kahn has placed himself in a uniquely special group with this song collection. These songs are so good, in fact, they make you want to read Kahn’s novel to learn even more, which makes this album a storytelling gem.” – Dan MacIntosh, The Daily Ripple

“Kahn excels in the diverse composition of story-songs that capture not only the emotional and historical intricacies of their lyrical subject matter but also the natural sonic accompaniment for their travails. The lyrics are intelligence, the performances are skillful, and Kahn works within the limits of his voice to communicate with the heart and mind of the listener. Matamoros subverts the American addiction to instant gratification, and pop culture’s resistance to complexity and nuance, and while doing so, gives his listeners songs that they can sing.” – David Masciotra, The Daily Ripple

Review

Oh how I love Westerns. I always forget how much I love them, then when I pick one up I get swept up into the world of the Wild West. It was a lawless time, and while it might not have always been a fun time to live in it’s at least always a fun time to read about! And this is one hefty volume, so there is plenty of time to get some wild antics! Make sure you also check out the accompanying CD to listen to while you read!

So, I have to say that I absolutely loved the opening to this book. I love a good storytelling and I think it was genius to have this start out with a good old fashioned bragging session! As you can probably tell, this was a fun read. The writing was easy to follow and you were able to focus on the antics that flow through the pages.

While the story was easy to read, it was still complex. There were multiple storylines and side characters that added to this book. But I think what this story does best is stick to the time period and the characters within.

About the Author

James Kahn is an ER doctor, novelist, TV writer-producer, and singer-songwriter. In addition to many original novels (including the sci-fi trilogy World Enough and Time, Time’s Dark Laughter, and Timefall) he authored the novelizations of Return of the Jedi, Poltergeist, The Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

His television credits span the genres, from St. Elsewhere, to William Shatner’s TekWar, to Xena: Warrior Princess. He was a Supervising Producer on Star Trek: Voyager, Co-Executive Producer on Melrose Place, Emmy-nominated for his work on All My Children, medical advisor on Spielberg’s ET: The Extraterrestrial; and produced the feature film The Bet, which won Best Feature at the LA Femme Film Festival, 2013.

He’s previously released four Americana music CDs, including Waterline, The 12th Elf, Man Walks Into A Bar, and The Meaning of Life. Matamoros is the first simultaneous novel and CD release, and his first foray into deeply researched historical fiction.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | YouTube

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 10
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Tuesday, February 11
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Wednesday, February 12
Review at Historical Graffiti
Excerpt at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, February 14
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Sunday, February 16
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 18
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, February 20
Review & Guest Post at Tales from the Book Dragon

Friday, February 21
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Sunday, February 23
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Matamoros! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 23rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Matamoros

Wolf Tour – Review & Giveaway

Click the image to see my booksta post!

About the Book

Wolf: A Novel by Herbert J. Stern & Alan A. Winter


Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Skyhorse
Hardcover & eBook; 552 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

    In the Great Tradition of Herman Wouk, Author of Winds of War and War and Remembrance, Wolf is a Thoroughly Researched and Illustrated Historical Novel about a Man who is Not Yet a Monster . . . but Will Soon Become the Ultimate One: Adolf Hitler. Perhaps no man on Earth is more controversial, more hated, or more studied than Adolf Hitler. His exploits and every move are well-documented, from the time he first became chancellor and then-dictator of Germany to starting World War II to the systematic killing of millions of Jews. But how did he achieve power, and what was the makeup of the mind of a man who would deliberately inflict unimaginable horrors on millions of people?

Meet Friedrich Richard, an amnesiac soldier who, in 1918, encounters Hitler in the mental ward at Pasewalk Hospital. Hitler, then a corporal, diagnosed as a psychopath and helpless, suffering from hysterical blindness, introduces himself as Wolf to Friedrich and becomes dependent upon Friedrich for assistance, forming an unbreakable bond between the two men.

Follow Friedich—our protagonist—who interacts with real people, places, and events, through the fifteen-year friendship that witnesses Hitler turn from a quiet painter into a megalomaniacal dictator. Using brand-new historical research to construct a realistic portrait of the evolving Hitler, Wolf will satisfy, by turns, history buffs and fiction fans alike. And as this complex story is masterfully presented, it answers the question of how a nondescript man became the world’s greatest monster.

Praise for Wolf

“Adolf Hitler anointed himself with the name, Wolf, then plotted and connived with remorseless determination to become Der Fuhrer, Dictator, Savior of the Fatherland. As in ancient Greek drama, we know the ending to the story. The riddle is how we get there….A Hitler we did not know existed emerges page by page, all his bits and pieces, certain of his role as Savior of Germany, evil, driven, shrewd, an unrepentant, serial seducer of teenage girls, surrounded by toadies as ruthless as himself but not nearly so smart—his rise and words an unnerving parallel as we witness the continued erosion of democracy today in our own sweet land. Put this book on the shelf with Ludlum, Michener, and Clavell. Wolf deserves to be in their company.” —Stephen Foreman, author of Toehold, Watching Gideon, and Journey, and screenwriter of The Jazz Singer, Hostage, and America the Beautiful

“Based on extensive research, the extraordinary novel Wolf, by Herbert J. Stern and Alan A. Winter, lifts the curtain so that the reader can observe through the eyes of a fictional character how a seemingly unremarkable corporal who was denied a promotion for lack of ‘leadership ability’ became dictator of Germany. The result is a gripping page-turner, a masterful historical novel.” —The Jewish Voice

“Wolf offers a front row seat to the Nazi Party’s early years, expertly using the fictional protagonist Friedrich Richard to take the reader on a fifteen-year journey from the end of the First World War to Adolf Hitler’s seizure of absolute power in Germany. The reader experiences the gradual death of democracy in Weimar Germany like a slow-motion train wreck, equally fascinated and horrified. We all know how Hitler’s Thousand Year Reich ended, but Wolf shows us how the nightmare began. A compelling, thoroughly researched, and important work. Wolf is an impressive achievement. Exhaustively researched and richly detailed, it draws on new historical research to paint a fascinating portrait of Adolph Hitler that is more human and recognizable than most depictions—and thus even more chilling and sobering.” —Alex DeMille, co-author of The Deserter with bestselling author Nelson DeMille

“Wolf will incite intense discussion in historical circles and book clubs alike. It is a poignant, persuasive, and ultimately terrifying story of how one man came to bend the path of history through oppression and genocide by taking one step at a time.” —Amy Wilhelm, senior writer, Book Club Babble

Review

What happens when you find out the man you considered a friend is actually a monster? Wolf tells a story that is rarely touched upon in books, the story of the rise of Adolf Hitler. Told through the lense of a fictional character, Wolf takes us on a journey from the end of the first World War to the rise of one of history’s most atrocious leaders. It is truly a terrifying look into how easily one person instilled fear and hatred amongst an entire country of people.

At this point I feel as if it has almost become taboo to talk about Hitler himself. The holocaust was one of the most horrific events in history, but rarely do we talk about the man who caused it. My knowledge of Hitler’s early life were solely that he was a painter and that his relationships with Jewish individuals were not necessarily what you would expect. But, what caused him to snap? What led him to want to wipe out an entire group of people?

I believe that these questions are why reading Wolf is almost like reading a horror story. We know what is coming, but now we are learning a bit more on the mechanics behind the future. The fact that this book is also extremely well researched adds to the horror, as much of the story is based on facts and not entirely fiction. It is honestly quite a chilling look into the human character, or lack thereof.

As you can see by my photo, this is a time period that I have read a lot about. However, my knowledge on the events from the end of WWI are very much lacking. Knowing about one time in history is one thing, but learning all aspects of the event is another. I think it is just as important to learn about what created such a monster as knowing the atrocities he accomplished.

About the Authors

Herbert J. Stern, formerly US attorney for the District of New Jersey, who prosecuted the mayors of Newark, Jersey City and Atlantic City, and served as judge of the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, is a trial lawyer. He also served as judge of the United States Court for Berlin. There he presided over a hijacking trial in the occupied American Sector of West Berlin. His book about the case, Judgment in Berlin, won the 1974 Freedom Foundation Award and became a film starring Martin Sheen and Sean Penn. He also wrote Diary of a DA: The True Story of the Prosecutor Who Took on the Mob, Fought Corruption, and Won, as well as the multi-volume legal work Trying Cases to Win.

Alan A. Winter is the author of four novels, including Island Bluffs, Snowflakes in the Sahara, Someone Else’s Son, and Savior’s Day, which Kirkus selected as a Best Book of 2013. Winter graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in history and has professional degrees from both New York University and Columbia, where he was an associate professor for many years. He edited an award-winning journal and has published more than twenty professional articles. Alan studied creative writing at Columbia’s Graduate School of General Studies. His screenplay, Polly, received honorable mention in the Austin Film Festival, and became the basis for Island Bluffs.

Tour Schedule

Monday, February 3
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, February 4
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Wednesday, February 5
Excerpt at Donna’s Book Blog

Friday, February 7
Review at Tales from the Book Dragon

Saturday, February 8
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, February 10
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads It All

Tuesday, February 11
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, February 12
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Thursday, February 13
Review at Impressions In Ink

Friday, February 14
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Wolf! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Wolf https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*