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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WWW Wednesday: October 16th, 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:

Christmas Angels: A Novel by [Naigle, Nancy]

The next heartwarming and inspirational Christmas story by USA Today Bestselling author, Nancy Naigle.

Growing up, Liz Westmoreland dreamed of taking over her grandparents inn located in the small mountain town of Angels Creek only for it to be sold before she ever got the chance. While browsing the internet, she stumbles upon a listing for what looks to be the picturesque inn and it’s set to go to auction. Liz places a bid, and by a miracle, wins the auction. But when she gets there she finds the property in significant disrepair.

When Matt Hardy narrowly lost the inn and property that butted his land, he just hoped it wasn’t another city slicker coming to make matters worse after the previous owners gutted the place for an art gallery. But the minute he recognized the sweet, freckle-faced girl from his childhood and heard her plans to reopen the inn, he jumps at the chance to help his childhood crush restore a place where he made so many fond memories.

While working on repairs, Liz and Matt discover her grandmother’s collection of angels in one of the cabins. When the angels start mysteriously showing up all over the inn, she begins to look at them as reassurance—that restoring the inn is what she’s meant to do. But when an accident leaves Liz feeling like she made a mistake, will Matt—and the residents of Angels Creek—be able to show Liz that she’s found a home? And possibly true love as well?

I am about a chapter into Christmas Angels and so far I like it. I needed to read a sweet romance and this seems to be what I needed.

Christmas Angels is currently available for purchase. Be on the lookout for my review within the next week.


I recently finished reading:

Followers

An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever.

Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it’s only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

This was an interesting book to read. Not going to get into the plotline but I can see something like what Marlow was doing happening in real life. And that is scary.

Followers is currently on pre-order. It’s expected publication date is January 14th, 2020. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.


What books I think I’ll read next:

A Hundred Suns by [Tanabe, Karin]

An evocative historical novel set in 1930’s Indochine, about the American wife of a Michelin heir who journeys to the French colony in the name of family fortune, and the glamorous, tumultuous world she finds herself in—and the truth she may be running from.

On a humid afternoon in 1933, American Jessie Lesage steps off a boat from Paris and onto the shores of Vietnam. Accompanying her French husband Victor, an heir to the Michelin rubber fortune, she’s certain that their new life is full of promise, for while the rest of the world is sinking into economic depression, Indochine is gold for the Michelins. Jessie knows that their vast plantations near Saigon are the key to the family’s prosperity, and while they have been marred in scandal, she needs them to succeed for her husband’s sake—and to ensure that her trail of secrets stays hidden in the past.

Jessie dives into the glamorous colonial world, where money is king and morals are brushed aside, and meets Marcelle de Fabry, a spellbinding French woman with a moneyed Indochinese lover, the silk tycoon Khoi Nguyen. Descending on Jessie’s world like a hurricane, Marcelle proves to be an exuberant guide to ex-pat life. But hidden beneath her vivacious exterior is a fierce desire to put the colony back in the hands of its people, starting with the Michelin plantations, fueled by a terrible wrong committed against her and Khoi’s loved ones in Paris.

Yet it doesn’t take long for the sun-drenched days and champagne-soaked nights to catch up with Jessie. With an increasingly fractured mind, her affection for Indochine falters. And as a fiery political struggle builds around her, Jessie begins to wonder what’s real in a friendship that she suspects may be nothing but a house of cards.

Motivated by love, driven by ambition, and seeking self-preservation at all costs, Jessie and Marcelle each toe the line between friend and foe, ethics and excess. Cast against the stylish backdrop of 1930s Indochine, in a time and place defined by contrasts and convictions, A Hundred Suns is historical fiction at its lush, suspenseful best.

Fever: A Dark Kings Novel by [Grant, Donna]

His kiss was fire and passion. She shivered, wondering how he knew just how to touch her, to send her spiraling into an abyss of pleasure…

For centuries, the Dragon Kings have lived among mortals, forsaking their true selves. But for Kelton, hiding in the realm of shadows—and existing only in the world of dreams—is no longer an option. A human woman claims to know that he, like other dark warriors of his kind, is real. That the legends about these powerful, seductive men with hearts ablaze are true. And that, with just one embrace, Kelton could destroy her…or love her until the end of time.

Bernadette Davies is an anthropologist who knows better than to fall into the arms of a Dragon King. But how can she resist Kelton when he’s so willing to share his secrets and bear his soul? He hasn’t met a beautiful, trustworthy woman like Bernadette in…forever. But once they give into their mutual desire, their worlds will never be the same. Soon Bernadette must face her dilemma: Should she expose the truth about Kelton in the name of science? Or join him in his battle with the dark forces—in the name of love?

Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore (A Twisted Fairy Tale: A Young Adult Fantasy) by [Märgen, Birgitte]

“We all need someplace to escape, and sometimes the mind is just as good of a place as any.”

A trailer park Alice. A hole that traps souls. The white rabbit’s a tricky hare. And the world is upside down. This fairy tale just got twisty . . .

Rule One: Don’t eat or drink.
Rule Two: Never, ever tell anyone your name.
If ya do – your soul will be lost there forever.

How do I know? I been there myself. This is my story.

There was a full moon brimmin’ that night, and that meant strange things could happen. As I walked through the woods, I reckon I shoulda known by the way my hair stood up on end like Uncle Red’s toupee —that I shoulda coulda stayed home. I call it the willies, but grandpappy calls it premonition. One thing I can tell ya as a girl from the wrong side of the tracks: If you’re fix’n to wander way over yonder —it’s important to know the right direction.

What direction ya ask? Well, ya have to read the story to find that one out.

* * *

AFTER FALLING INTO a dark hole when she was running through the forest, Evie finds herself trapped in a strange new world that mirrors our own. Her only guide is a compass stick given to her by an angry gnome who lives in an ancient knobby tree. As she travels through the lands of this upside-down world she happens upon creatures that are twisted versions of fairytale folklore. A place where fairies bite, unicorns charge, mermaids are menacing, and nightmares are more than dreams. A world where the souls of those who could not follow the unspoken rules are trapped forever.

As a southern girl born on the wrong side of the tracks, Evie relies on the wisdom passed down by her grandpappy and the haunting memories of her mama to teach her perseverance of the soul. She learns that things are rarely what they seem as her world is turned upside down.

Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5's Secret Nazi Hunter by [Hutton, Robert]

This is the incredible tale of Operation Fifth Column, a Second World War MI5 operation so secret that its existence was only revealed by the National Archives for the first time in 2014.

It’s the true story behind Kate Atkinson’s “Transcription” and Anthony Quinn’s “Our Friends In Berlin”.

Throughout the war, “Jack King” – in reality, a bank clerk named Eric Roberts – pretended to be a Gestapo agent to whom hundreds of British-based Nazi sympathisers and informers passed their secrets, thinking that he was sending them back to Germany. Many were put on a salary by what they thought was the Third Reich and some were even ‘awarded’ Iron Crosses for their services to the Fatherland; they never found out the truth.

Among the secrets they tried to pass were: a tip-off about Bletchley Park; details of the deadly Mosquito bomber; complete plans of a highly effective anti-radar technology codenamed WINDOW. The larger-than-life characters who populate the book include Roberts himself, the deceptively ordinary-seeming bank clerk; Maxwell Knight, who recruited Roberts; Victor Third Baron Rothschild, Roberts’ spymaster, who did a sideline in bomb disposal using his Cartier screwdrivers; Theresa Clay, the distinguished biologist who co-ran the operation with Rothschild, but because she was a woman was only ever classified as an ‘assistant’; Marita Perigoe, possibly the most dangerous of the fascists, who despite having her suspicions about Roberts, continued to recruit spies for him and pass him secrets to the end of the war.


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 9th, 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:

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?

I started Christmas in Harmony Harbor last night but didn’t get far into it. I read about 2-3 pages before falling asleep. But, from what I read, I like it.

Christmas in Harmony Harbor is currently available for purchase. Be on the lookout for my review within the next week.


I recently finished reading:

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?

I had to fan myself after reading Lethal Nights. Talk about steamy!! Plus, I liked the storyline.

Lethal Nights is currently available for purchase. Be on the lookout for my review within the next week.

Cilka's Journey: A Novel (Tattooist of Auschwitz Book 2) 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.

Be prepared to have your heart ripped out of your chest and trampled upon. Cilka’s Journey did that to me. I wasn’t expecting to stay up until 11pm reading this book.

Cilka’s Journey is currently available for purchase. Be on the lookout for my review within the next week.


What books I think I’ll read next:

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?

Snowfall on Cedar Trail: Two full books for the price of one (Sweetwater Springs Book 3) by [Rains, Annie]

From a USA Today bestselling author comes a heartwarming holiday romance between the a small-town florist and the handsome chief of police. Includes a bonus novel by Miranda Liasson!

Last Christmas was tough for Halona Locklear and her seven-year-old son Theo, who hasn’t spoken a word since his father’s death. This year, Halona wants nothing more than to give him a good holiday and to hear his sweet voice again. Enrolling him in the Mentor Match program might help, but when Theo gets matched with Sweetwater Springs Chief of Police, Alex Baker, Halona realizes that the handsome hero might know secrets about her past that she is determined to keep buried.

Chief of Police, Alex Baker, re-opens his father’s hit-and-run cold case every December, hoping to finally solve it. This year, his plate is full with being a Mentor Match to a young seven-year-old boy as well. His biggest obstacle, however, is fighting his attraction to the boy’s mother, Halona. As Alex gets close to solving his father’s cold case, he learns that those closest to him may be in danger — including Halona. Alex has already lost one of the most important people in his life; he isn’t about to lose her too, even if it means walking away to keep her safe.

Ice Hard: A New York Nighthawks Novel by [Goodwin, Tracy]

Hockey’s resident bad boy is hell on skates. But when he falls in love, he falls hard.

“Tracy Goodwin is an author to watch.”—Kelly Jamieson, USA Today bestselling author of the Aces Hockey series

Nick: As one of the New York Nighthawks, I’ve got it all: fame, success, wealth, plus I’m handsome as hell.
As for my relationships? They could be better.
I know how to do one-night stands, but I’m starting to crave something more.
Then I meet Camille Benetti.
She’s sexy, smart, sarcastic—totally my kind of girl.
The only problem? Cami doesn’t date hockey players.
But she’s never met me. . . .

Cami: Nick George is impossible to resist. Not only is he scorching hot, he’s kind, he’s funny, and he wants me bad.
But I learned my lesson the hard way: no jocks.
So why do I agree to be Nick’s date to the wedding of the year?
One night . . . that’s our deal.
He is the best man, after all.
But Nick is crystal clear about his intentions. He wants a relationship.
And he’s tempting me to break all my rules. . . .

Tracy Goodwin’s seductive New York Nighthawks novels can be read together or separately:
ICE HOT • ICE HARD

This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

My Best Friend's Sister: A Forbidden Romance (The Masons Book 1) by [Kelly, Hazel]

I’m not an anxious person, but Quinn Draper has always made me nervous.

Okay, so that’s a lie. I am an anxious person. Always have been. And no one reminds me of that more than my brother’s best friend.

He’s the walking, talking opposite of my comfort zone, and he sees through my false bravado. Senses my insecurities. I think that’s why I feel so vulnerable when he’s around. So…under-clothed.

Which is ridiculous. He doesn’t even know me.

Still, every bone in my body senses danger when he’s around. Like he’s always about to push me under a spotlight I’m not ready to squint into, a spotlight that would expose me for the awkward introvert that I am.

Yet he never says more than two words to me. As if he knows that’s the surest way to drive me crazy.

And I hate him for it. Always have.

Always will.

Author’s Note: This standalone romantic comedy is the first book in a new series by best-selling author Hazel Kelly. If you like feisty women and funny men, you’ll love this forbidden romance about two unlikely roommates and the trouble they get into when big brother stops watching…

Followers: A Novel by [Angelo, Megan]

An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever.

Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it’s only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

Christmas Angels: A Novel by [Naigle, Nancy]

The next heartwarming and inspirational Christmas story by USA Today Bestselling author, Nancy Naigle.

Growing up, Liz Westmoreland dreamed of taking over her grandparents inn located in the small mountain town of Angels Creek only for it to be sold before she ever got the chance. While browsing the internet, she stumbles upon a listing for what looks to be the picturesque inn and it’s set to go to auction. Liz places a bid, and by a miracle, wins the auction. But when she gets there she finds the property in significant disrepair.

When Matt Hardy narrowly lost the inn and property that butted his land, he just hoped it wasn’t another city slicker coming to make matters worse after the previous owners gutted the place for an art gallery. But the minute he recognized the sweet, freckle-faced girl from his childhood and heard her plans to reopen the inn, he jumps at the chance to help his childhood crush restore a place where he made so many fond memories.

While working on repairs, Liz and Matt discover her grandmother’s collection of angels in one of the cabins. When the angels start mysteriously showing up all over the inn, she begins to look at them as reassurance—that restoring the inn is what she’s meant to do. But when an accident leaves Liz feeling like she made a mistake, will Matt—and the residents of Angels Creek—be able to show Liz that she’s found a home? And possibly true love as well?

The Widow of Rose House: A Novel by [Biller, Diana]

A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age debut novel

It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam.

Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history―and her heart.

Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.

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?

WWW Wednesday: September 25th, 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:

Snowfall on Cedar Trail: Two full books for the price of one (Sweetwater Springs Book 3) by [Rains, Annie]

From a USA Today bestselling author comes a heartwarming holiday romance between the a small-town florist and the handsome chief of police. Includes a bonus novel by Miranda Liasson!

Last Christmas was tough for Halona Locklear and her seven-year-old son Theo, who hasn’t spoken a word since his father’s death. This year, Halona wants nothing more than to give him a good holiday and to hear his sweet voice again. Enrolling him in the Mentor Match program might help, but when Theo gets matched with Sweetwater Springs Chief of Police, Alex Baker, Halona realizes that the handsome hero might know secrets about her past that she is determined to keep buried.

Chief of Police, Alex Baker, re-opens his father’s hit-and-run cold case every December, hoping to finally solve it. This year, his plate is full with being a Mentor Match to a young seven-year-old boy as well. His biggest obstacle, however, is fighting his attraction to the boy’s mother, Halona. As Alex gets close to solving his father’s cold case, he learns that those closest to him may be in danger — including Halona. Alex has already lost one of the most important people in his life; he isn’t about to lose her too, even if it means walking away to keep her safe.


I recently finished reading:

What Rose Forgot: A Novel by [Barr, Nevada]

In New York Times bestselling author Nevada Barr’s gripping standalone, a grandmother in her 60s emerges from a mental fog to find she’s trapped in an Alzheimer’s Unit in a nursing home. How does she convince anyone that she’s not actually demented? Her relatives were the ones to commit her, all the legal papers were drawn up, the authorities are on the side of the nursing home, and even she isn’t sure she sounds completely sane.


What books I think I’ll read next:

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

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.

Amy’s Square by Dominic Schunck (Not on Goodreads or Amazon yet)

Followers: A Novel by [Angelo, Megan]

An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever.

Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it’s only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

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?

Shantallow by [Martin, Cara]

Tanvi isn’t the girl of Misha’s dreams; she’s the girl from his nightmares. She has appeared in his chilling dreams before he even meets her; when he DOES meet her, he falls for her.

Their relationship turns stormy, bordering on abusive, and takes a dramatic turn when they are held captive by a group hoping to extract money from Tanvi’s wealthy family.

But there is something more sinister at work, and the kidnappers and their victims find themselves struggling for survival as a supernatural force from Misha’s nightmares makes itself known in the real world.

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.

Diamond City: A Novel by [Flores, Francesca]

Welcome to Diamond City, where secret magic could save your life or get you killed.

Meet Aina Solís, whose wit is as sharp as her blade.

At twelve years old, Aina Solís was pulled off of the streets she slept on and trained to be one of the most feared assassins in Sumerand, a kingdom founded by immigrants and built by magic―and in recent years transformed by an industrial revolution. When Aina is given the most lucrative and dangerous job of her career―killing a wealthy industrialist named Kouta―she knows it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leave her impoverished roots in her past once-and-for-all: the payout is enough to free her from under her boss Kohl’s thumb. But when the job goes wrong and Kouta escapes, she is left without a penny to her name and in the crosshairs of Kohl, who is eager to show the world what happens to those that fail him.

With Kohl on her heels, Aina is running out of time to find Kouta and finish what she started. But the closer she gets to killing him, the more she begins to ask the questions assassins are never meant to ask: who wants Kouta dead? And why? In a city full of half-constructed subway tunnels, hidden magical dens, secret weapons markets, and wolf-sized spiders, Aina discovers a conspiracy that could rewrite her city’s history and―if it isn’t stopped―sink her country into a catastrophic war.

Ice Hard: A New York Nighthawks Novel by [Goodwin, Tracy]

Nick: As one of the New York Nighthawks, I’ve got it all: fame, success, wealth, plus I’m handsome as hell.
As for my relationships? They could be better.
I know how to do one-night stands, but I’m starting to crave something more.
Then I meet Camille Benetti.
She’s sexy, smart, sarcastic—totally my kind of girl.
The only problem? Cami doesn’t date hockey players.
But she’s never met me. . . .


Cami: Nick George is impossible to resist. Not only is he scorching hot, he’s kind, he’s funny, and he wants me bad.
But I learned my lesson the hard way: no jocks.
So why do I agree to be Nick’s date to the wedding of the year?
One night . . . that’s our deal.
He is the best man, after all.
But Nick is crystal clear about his intentions. He wants a relationship.
And he’s tempting me to break all my rules. . . .

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.

An Unorthodox Match by Naomi Ragen

An Unorthodox Match: A Novel by [Ragen, Naomi]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: September 24th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Religion

Where you can find An Unorthodox Match: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

California girl Lola has her life all set up: business degree, handsome fiancé, fast track career, when suddenly, without warning, everything tragically implodes. After years fruitlessly searching for love, marriage, and children, she decides to take the radical step of seeking spirituality and meaning far outside the parameters of modern life in the insular, ultraorthodox enclave of Boro Park, Brooklyn. There, fate brings her to the dysfunctional home of newly-widowed Jacob, a devout Torah scholar, whose life is also in turmoil, and whose small children are aching for the kindness of a womanly touch.

While her mother direly predicts she is ruining her life, enslaving herself to a community that is a misogynistic religious cult, Lola’s heart tells her something far more complicated. But it is the shocking and unexpected messages of her new community itself which will finally force her into a deeper understanding of the real choices she now faces and which will ultimately decide her fate.

An Unorthodox March is a powerful and moving novel of faith, love, and acceptance, from Naomi Ragen, the international bestselling author of The Devil in Jerusalem.


First Line:

Leah Howard sat there facing Rabbi Weintraub’s empty chair, rehearsing what she was going to say to him.

An Unorthodox match by Naomi Ragen

My Review

When I got the invite to review An Unorthodox Match, I almost didn’t accept it. I do not read books that are straight, religious books, even those that are masked as women’s fiction. But the blurb caught my attention, and I decided to read An Unorthodox Match.

Having grown up in a community that was Jewish, I assumed that I knew a lot about the religion. I always knew that there was an Ultraorthodox part of the religion but knew nothing about it. Then I read An Unorthodox Match, and my mind was blown. There was so much that I didn’t know and so much that took me by surprise. It was learning about the Ultraorthodox religion that made this book for me.

I liked Lola/Leah. But I do wish that her backstory had been told better. I got a little irritated because her backstory was broken up. The author did say at the beginning of the book that Lola/Leah had been through a lot as a child and an adult. But after that, it was fragmented and drove me nuts. It wasn’t until that important scene with Yaakov at the end of the book that everything was put together in chronological order. I also thought that Lola/Leah was too lenient with Shaindele after what that twit put her through. But I will get to that in a little bit.

I liked Yaakov and felt awful for him. I guessed what had happened to his first wife early in the book. His grief and guilt came off the page. I wanted to hug him and tell him it wasn’t his fault. I liked that the author made him human. He had three children at home who he needed to take care or and provide for. He did what he had to, which included giving up his studies, to care for them. That included going to someone to help find a wife (which is done in this religion).

I do have to mention Shaindele, Yaakov’s oldest daughter because she played a massive part in Lola/Leah and Yaakov’s relationship. I didn’t like her. I found her behavior disrespectful throughout the book. I did feel bad for her. Losing her mother the way that she did and not being told the truth about how/why she died was traumatic. But it did not excuse how she treated the younger children or Lola/Leah. Which is why I was surprised that Lola/Leah talked Yaakov out of doing what he wanted to do.

I did find how hard it was for Lola/Leah to be accepted into the enclave fascinating. I had no idea that it was so hard for converts to be accepted into the Ultraorthodox enclaves. I had no clue that even if they did marry, that their children would never be accepted. The prejudices were outlined perfectly in this book. There was a point where I thought Lola/Leah was fighting a losing battle.

The romance angle of the book wasn’t up and in your face. Lola/Leah and Yaakov had to overcome a lot even to meet. But once they met, I could see the attraction. What I liked also is that there was zero sex. No kissing. Per the religion, Yaakov couldn’t even touch Lola/Leah. So kissing her was out of the question. I loved watching their romance develop without that. It was refreshing.

The end of An Unorthodox Match pulled at my heartstrings. It was a typical HEA that made me tear up. What I appreciated was that the author included a glossary with all the Jewish and Yiddish terms that were used in the book. I was getting a bit frustrated and ended up googling 90% of those terms. I wish I had known about it earlier. It would have saved me a whole lot of frustration.


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

I would reread An Unorthodox Match.  I would recommend it to family and friends.

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