Weekly Wrap Up: October 13th through October 19th 2019

Books I’ve Read:

Christmas Angels

Followers

My Best Friend’s Sister

Ice Hard

The Widow of Rose House


Books with Pending Reviews:

Sweet Retribution—review coming September 17th


Books with Published Reviews:

Christmas in Harmony Harbor—Review Here

Sweet Retribution—Review Here

The Widow of Rose House—Review Here

Cilka’s Journey—Review Here

Lethal Nights—Review Here


NetGalley Requests:


Author/Publisher Requests:

Releasing Keanu (Instant ARC from author)

Jesse and The Return of Antheia (author request/not on Goodreads)

Jesse & The Thinkers (author request)

The Angel of Evil (author request)

The Wrongful Death (author request)

The Die of Death (author request)


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:

Winter’s Captive—Book Blitz

Sweet Retribution—Blog Tour

Kingdom of Thorns and Dreams Boxed Set—Book Blitz

Dark Faerie-–Cover Reveal

The Alchemist and an Amaretto—Book Blitz

Samba—Book Blitz

Grayton Beach Dreams—Book Blitz

The Ghost on Firefly Lane—Cover Reveal

Rhodes—Cover Reveal

Kingdom of Darkness and Light boxed set—Cover Reveal

Scorpion Blood—Excerpt

The Widow of Rose House—Blog Tour

Magic Harbor—Excerpt

Alfheim Academy—Book Blitz

To Kill a Fae—Book Blitz

Drowning Lessons—Book Blitz

Winter King—Book Blitz

Seven Letters—Excerpt

Tesoro—Book Blitz


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday


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Cilka’s Journey (The Tattooist of Auschwitz: Book 2) by Heather Morris

Cilka's Journey: A Novel (Tattooist of Auschwitz Book 2) by [Morris, Heather]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: October 1st, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

Series: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz—Book 1

Cilka’s Journey—Book 2

Where you can find Cilka’s Journey: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, comes the new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her life – and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.

After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child?

In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love. 


First Line:

Cilka stares at the soldier standing in front of her, part of the army that has entered the camp.

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

My Review:

I usually do not read books that are based on real events. I have found that my knowledge of the event overshadowed the book. I couldn’t help but compare what happened to what was going on in the book. I would almost always end up disappointed in the book. Then I read The Tattooist of Auschwitz, which is the first book in this series. I was taken away by Lale’s story. Cilka was introduced in this book. She was a mysterious and enigmatic character. I wondered what happened to her at the end of the book. What I read in Cilka’s Journey broke my heart.

Cilka was a child when she caught the attention of The Commandant. Which sickened me in the first book. In this book, I was still sickened. What he did to Cilka in those years was heartbreaking. But, it was what happened after Auschwitz was released that broke my heart.

Cilka was found to be a Nazi collaborator because the Russian Army found out that she was sleeping with The Commandant. Instead of earning her freedom, she was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in Siberia. I was outraged when I read that. She was traumatized at a young age, forced to watch friends and family die/killed, and then, instead of being able to heal, she was retraumatized on top of that.

I know that I am making a big deal about Cilka’s age in this book. She was 16 when she was sent to Auschwitz. She was around 20 when she was sent to Siberia. She suffered trauma after trauma in Auschwitz. So, yes, I was shocked when the Russian Army sent her to Siberia. She was forced to do what she had to survive, which mean becoming a camp wife of a soldier. I can’t tell you how that affected me. The abuse shook me. She suffered in both places. There were points where I wanted to hug her, take her away, and get her therapy.

The prison camp in Siberia was as bad as Auschwitz. But, and stress this, the prisoners could leave, if they survived to the end of the sentences. It was an awful place to live. Disease and violence were rampant. To my knowledge, I don’t think that I have read a book that takes place in one. I have heard of them and have seen them mentioned in books.

Cilka’s Journey was not an easy read. There were times I had to put the book down and walk away because I was that disturbed by it. The emotional impact that it had on me lasted days after I read it.

The end of Cilka’s Journey was informative. The author included a note about Cilka and her life after the prison camp. While the characters portrayed in the prison camp were fictional, the camp itself wasn’t. The author explained what happened to it and when it closed down.


I would give Cilka’s Journey an Adult rating. There is sex. There is mild language. There is graphic violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Cilka’s Journey. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

WWW Wednesday: October 2nd, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What I am currently reading:

Amy's Square by [Schunker, Dominic]

The world continues to let children die every day from thirst and starvation, poisoned water and disease, and the world continues to let the Earth die.

A man, destroyed by the desertion of his wife, comes out the other side and finds a mission. It’s bold. It’s crazy. He’s not totally sure what’s at the end of it but he has to follow it. It’s a terrifying leap away from his world but it ends up being a mission to rescue the very substance of life.

From the ancient Aztecs to the Moroccan desert, Spanish highways to the remote fields of Russia, clues appear, people die and someone gets ever closer to him.

The children, the generation who must eventually find the answer, silently guide him to the truth.

And it’s a truth that will change everything.

I started Amy’s Square last night. Honestly, the book did get off to a rough start. But I am beginning to like it!!

Amy’s Square is currently available for purchase. Be on the lookout for my review within the next few days.


I recently finished reading:

Highland Jewel: A Royal Highlander Novel by [McGoldrick, May]

The next book in the new lush Scottish historical series from USA Today bestselling author, May McGoldrick.

Maisie Murray is the picture of docility, quiet and compliant in the eyes of her family. To her activist friends, however, she’s a fearless crusader for women’s rights. In the wake of the Peterloo Massacre, Maisie and a friend found the Edinburgh Female Reform Society, and she carries the banner for universal suffrage.

Niall Campbell, a hero of the wars, a decorated officer of the Royal Highland Regiment, is battle weary and searching for stability in his life. A fierce warrior by training and a poet at heart, Niall walks away from the shining career that lies ahead of him, to the dismay of his superiors. In saving his sister when a protest turns violent, he meets Maisie. Their relationship begins as one of experience versus idealism, of scars versus hope. Soon, however, he finds in Maisie the heart he longs for.

When Niall’s sister is arrested and disappears, he quickly realizes his life is not his own, for the British authorities have a mission for him to accomplish in exchange for his sister’s freedom. Overnight, Maisie loses Niall, her friend, and her home. And the wake of the riots that sweep through the cities of Scotland, Maisie’s own sister Isabella is branded a traitor to the crown, and the family must flee to the Highlands. Here in the heart of the Highlands, Maisie runs into Niall again. He has a new name and carries a message of hope―but Niall has a task to complete―and their future rests on their ability to overcome the forces that divide them, or―for the future of Scotland―she must stop the man who owns her heart.

I loved this book and feel bad that I didn’t get to it sooner. I kept putting it off. But, once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. It was that good!!

Highland Jewel is currently available for purchase. Look for my review to be published within the next couple of days.


What books I think I’ll read next:

The Devil's Apprentice: The Great Devil War I by [Andersen, Kenneth B., Andersen, Kenneth Bøgh]

Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy. Philip is terrible at being bad, but Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training him in the ways of evil. Philip gets both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld—but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?

The Devil’s Apprentice is volume 1 in The Great Devil War-series.

The Earl of Smugglers' Cove: Regency Romance: An Exciting Tale of Romance and Smuggling in Regency Cornwall by [Carteret, Kate]

AN EXCITING TALE OF ROMANCE, MYSTERY, AND SMUGGLING IN REGENCY CORNWALL FROM AMAZON BEST-SELLING AUTHOR KATE CARTERET.

When Sir Edmund Tate dies, he leaves his daughter in the care of his old friend, The Earl of Northcott. He is a kindly guardian, one whom Clarissa grows very fond of. But he’s a man with a secret, and that secret sent his youngest son to live in the house on Smuggler’s Cove.

When the Earl hints at the secret in his last days, Clarissa wonders if she will ever discover the truth behind the rift which made father and son strangers for so many years and turned one brother against the other.

Left in the care of Philip Ravenswood, the successor to the Earldom of Northcott, Clarissa finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into a secret friendship with his handsome but unconventional brother, Felix, visiting the beautiful Smugglers’ Cove more and more. She is a little afraid of his reputation, but cannot stop herself falling for him.

When smugglers return to the old cove, dangerous men determined to keep Cornwall’s old tradition alive, can Clarissa find the truth and stop suspicion falling upon Felix. And can she uncover the biggest secret of them all to lift the veil from the lie the Northcott Estate has sheltered beneath for so long?

A tale of love, excitement, and mystery on the rugged, beautiful, and sometimes unforgiving Cornish Coast.

Lethal Nights: A Brute Force Novel by [Leigh, Lora]

Ilya Dragonovich is no stranger to the dark side. As a safe-house owner for security agency Brute Force, Dragon knows that the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man―and, sometimes, a beautiful woman…

Emma Jane Preston needs help. After her marriage crumbled, she believed she could get back to a normal, happy life. But her ex-husband moved among some shady characters, and now she needs the kind of protection that comes at a cost―one that only someone like Dragon can provide. But can Emma Jane trust this handsome, undercover operator to keep her safe when she is in danger of falling into the arms of the deeply seductive, fiery Dragon. . .and never letting go?

 

Cilka's Journey: A Novel by [Morris, Heather]

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, comes the new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her life – and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.

After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child?

In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

Christmas in Harmony Harbor: Includes a bonus story by [Mason, Debbie]

Fans of RaeAnne Thayne and Debbie Macomber will love this USA Today bestselling author’s latest holiday romance about enemies-to-lovers who fall for each other in a small Massachusetts coastal town.

Evangeline Christmas will do anything to save her year-round Christmas store, Holiday House, when high-powered real-estate developer Caine Elliot uses his money and influence to push through his competing property next door. When her last desperate attempt to stop him fails, she gambles everything on a proposition she prays the handsome, blue-eyed player can’t refuse.

Caine agrees to Evie’s bargain because how hard can it be to fulfill three wishes on the Angel Tree at Holiday House? The wishes have him reliving the Christmases of his past and taking part in the holiday festivities of Christmas present. But just when he begins to believe Evie might be his Christmas future, dark secrets from his past are revealed.

Will the last wish on the Angel Tree be enough to give Caine and Evie the happy ending they deserve?

Delicious Disasters by [Anderson, Isabella Louise]

When Tessa Markham’s bookstore gets bought out, she is forced to face an uncertain future. After her best friend challenges her to start baking, she accepts—even if the last time she baked wasn’t what she would call a delicious success.

After a small kitchen fire, Tessa’s life begins to change. She finds encouragement from a sexy fireman, agrees to a questionable ruse to help another business owner with a complicated situation, and needs to be there for her best friend now more than ever.

Can a delicious disaster lead to a new future and a successful baking career?

Naked Mole Rat Saves the World by [Rivers, Karen]

Can Kit’s super-weird superpower save her world?

Kit-with-a-small-k is navigating middle school with a really big, really strange secret: When she’s stressed, she turns into a naked mole rat.

It first happened after kit watched her best friend, Clem, fall and get hurt during an acrobatic performance on TV. Since then, the transformations keep happening—whether kit wants them to or not. Kit can’t tell Clem about it, because after the fall, Clem just hasn’t been herself. She’s sad and mad and gloomy, and keeping a secret of her own: the real reason she fell.

A year after the accident, kit and Clem still haven’t figured out how to deal with all the ways they have transformed—both inside and out. When their secrets come between them, the best friends get into a big fight. Somehow, kit has to save the day, but she doesn’t believe she can be that kind of hero. Turning into a naked mole rat isn’t really a superpower. Or is it?

Small-Town Secrets (Door County Book 1) by [Watson, Margaret]

KENDALL’S IN FOR A SHOCK. TWO, ACTUALLY.

Gabe Townsend has a lot of nerve to show up after seven years and book in to her B and B. It hadn’t been easy for Kendall Van Allen to move on after her husband was killed. But she’d persevered, picking up the pieces, running a successful business and raising two girls on her own. She’s put aside the guilt over her part in Carter’s death. But she’ll never forgive herself … or Gabe.

And Gabe hasn’t even told her the whole truth. But the more he’s around Kendall and the children, the more he grows to love them and want what’s best for them. Can he really tell them the truth?

Weekly Wrap Up: August 11th through August 17th, 2019

Clicking on titles under Books I’ve ReadNetGalley Requests,and Author/Publisher Requests will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on titles under Books with Pending Reviews and Books with Published Reviews will take you to Amazon.

Clicking on titles Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz will take you to that specific blog post.

Clicking on links under Giveaways I’ve Entered will take you to that giveaway

Clicking on the titles under Freebies I Scored will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on the links under Weekly Posts will take you to that specific blog post.



Books I’ve Read:

Song for a Lost Kingdom (Book 2)

Song for a Lost Kingdom

The Last Hope


Books with pending reviews:


Books with published reviews:

Aelia—Review Here

The Red Death—Review Here

The Last Hope —Review Here

Things You Save in a Fire —Review Here

Campusland —Review Here

Disorder —Review Here


NetGalley Requests

The Look-Alike

Fever


Author/Publisher Requests:

Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore

Big Lies in a Small Town

Westering Women

The Vanished Birds

Twisted Betrayal

Small-Town Secrets


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz:

Midnight—Book Blitz

Holding on to Forever—Cover Reveal

The Last Hope—Blog Tour

Steal My Heart—Excerpt

The Lost Girl—Cover Reveal


Giveaways I’ve Entered:


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Catch Up Sunday

Music Monday

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

Theme Thursday


Weekly Wrap Up: August 4th through August 10th 2019

Clicking on titles under Books I’ve ReadNetGalley Haul,and Email Haul will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on titles under Books with Pending Reviews and Books with Published Reviews will take you to Amazon.

Clicking on titles Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz will take you to that specific blog post.

Clicking on links under Giveaways I’ve Entered will take you to that giveaway

Clicking on the titles under Freebies I Scored will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on the links under Weekly Posts will take you to that specific blog post.


Books I’ve Read:

Aelia

The Red Death

Disorder

Return of the Long Lost Earl


Books with pending reviews:

I Wanna Sext You Up—Review coming August 20th


Books with published reviews:

Dark Alpha’s Redemption—Review Here

Return of the Long Lost Earl—Review Here

The Kilwade Tragedy—Review Here

The Escape Room—Review Here

Because You’re Mine—Review Here

We Are All Good People Here—Review Here

The Perfect Wife—Review Here

Keeping Lucy—Review Here

Jake’s Redemption—Review Here

T-Minus—Review Here


NetGalley Haul:

Once Upon a Cowboy Christmas

A Hundred Suns

Cilka’s Journey

Ice Hard

The Jumbie God’s Revenge


Email Haul:


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz:

Dirty Player—Sale Post

Reckless Love—Sale Post

The Escape Room—Blog Tour

T-Minus—Blog Tour


Giveaways I’ve Entered:


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Catch Up Sunday

Music Monday

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

Theme Thursday

Bethlehem by Karen Kelly

Bethlehem: A Novel by [Kelly, Karen]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of Publication: July 9th, 2019

Genre: Historical Fiction

Where you can find Bethlehem: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Synopsis:

With the writing chops of Ian McEwan and the story-craft of Lisa Wingate, Karen Kelly weaves a shattering debut about two intertwined families and the secrets that they buried during the gilded, glory days of Bethlehem, PA.

A young woman arrives at the grand ancestral home of her husband’s family, hoping to fortify her cracking marriage. But what she finds is not what she expected: tragedy haunts the hallways, whispering of heartache and a past she never knew existed.

Inspired by the true titans of the steel-boom era, Bethlehem is a story of temptation and regret, a story of secrets and the cost of keeping them, a story of forgiveness. It is the story of two complex women—thrown together in the name of family—who, in coming to understand each other, come finally to understand themselves.


My review:

Joanna Collier has reluctantly moved to her husband’s childhood home in Bethlehem, PA. What Joanna doesn’t know is that there are secrets that have laid dormant. Secrets that could tear her family apart.


I almost didn’t accept the invite to review for Bethlehem. The blurb didn’t sell the book. I also decided to read some of the reviews on Goodreads before making my decision. What made my decision for me was the cover. I thought it was beautiful.

I thought that Bethlehem was well written. The author did a great job of bringing the characters to life. The writing was descriptive and drew me right in. I love it when a story does that.

My issue with the book fell with the characters. While they were well written, I couldn’t connect with them. I must connect with at least one character in the book.

I did like the plotlines. I thought that they were well written and flushed out. I was able to immerse myself in the plotline. I also liked the dual plotlines.

There were dropped storylines and characters that seemed to disappear. The storyline that I am referring to was the one with Daniel and Joanna. I did think that it was going in a specific direction. Then it was dropped, and Daniel was never heard from again. Drove me nuts. I needed to know what happened to Daniel!!

I didn’t like Joanna. She didn’t try to cultivate a relationship with Savannah or Hedy. She kept to herself. She pursued a relationship with Daniel instead of focusing on fixing the one with her husband. She flipped out when Gigi gave the kids their Christmas presents. Her attitude was horrible. She did start to change about halfway through the book, but I couldn’t change my view of her.

I did figure out what was going on with Susannah about halfway through the book. I did think that it was sucky what she did to Wyatt. But, at the same time, she did remain true to herself.

The end of Bethlehem didn’t sit well with me. It seemed rushed. Joanna’s change of heart was not believable. I did like how the author brought together the main storylines. That wasn’t rushed.


I would give Bethlehem an Adult rating. There is sex (mentions of it, nothing graphic). There is not language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread Bethlehem. I am also on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends. I would read other books by the author.


I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Bethlehem.

All opinions stated in this review of Bethlehem are mine.


Have you read Bethlehem?

What are your thoughts on it?

Would you be able to uproot your life for your SO?

Let me know!!

Realm by Alexandrea Weis

Realm by [Weis, Alexandrea]

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

Date of publication: May 14th, 2019

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction

Where you can find Realm: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

Based on a true story.

When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.

Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.

Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.

However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.

History tells his story. This is hers.


My Review:

When I read the blurb for Realm, I was intrigued. Like everyone else, I have heard of Alexander the Great. I have watched movies made about his life. I have read books about his exploits. But I had never heard of Roxana. There were mentions of a beautiful Persian princess, but no details were given. So, when I read that this book was about that mysterious Persian princess, I needed to read the book. I am glad that I read it because I got an insight into what being a woman was like back in those times. I also got a great insight into what being the wife and consort of Alexander the Great was like too.

Realm was hard to read at times. I am not a shrinking violet when it comes to violence, but I couldn’t get past certain scenes. An example would be Roxana witnessing the execution of some of Alexander’s troops. I was disgusted by the description. I will never be able to look at elephants feet the same way again.

I did like Roxana at first. I liked how she handled Alexander from the moment she met him. She wasn’t afraid to back down. But, after he died, her spirit dimmed. She wasn’t outspoken enough, in my eyes. I mean, she was being used as a political pawn. All because she was the mother of Alexander’s child. She did regain some of her fire in the middle of the book. Only to lose it at the end. I was disappointed by that. I would have loved to see her fire present the entire book.

I liked how Alexander and Roxana’s relationship was allowed to go at its own pace. There was no Instalove, well at least on Roxana’s part. It took her a long time to develop feelings for Alexander.

I know that many marriages were common back in those days. I loved how the author chose to portray Roxana’s reaction to it. Loved it!!

Once Alexander died, the book became confusing and boring for me to read. I know that the author was following timelines and real events but still. It became a dry read for me. There were only so many assassinations, murders, and generals out for themselves that I could take. But, it did illustrate how trapped Roxana was. I couldn’t even imagine living as she did. After her son was born, she was on the run for seven years. I can’t even imagine doing that.

The end of Realm broke my heart. I knew what was going to happen and was hoping so bad that the author would put her spin on things. Of course, it didn’t happen, and my heart broke into tiny little pieces.


I would give Realm an Adult rating. There is sex. There is violence. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Realm. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**