Historical Fiction

Spotlight for The Outer Banks House and Return to the Outer Banks House, by Diann Ducharme

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About The Outer Banks House

Publication Date: June 8, 2010
Crown Publishing
Formats: Ebook, Paperback, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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As the wounds of the Civil War are just beginning to heal, one fateful summer would forever alter the course of a young girl’s life.

In 1868, on the barren shores of post-war Outer Banks North Carolina, the once wealthy Sinclair family moves for the summer to one of the first cottages on the ocean side of the resort village of Nags Head. Seventeen-year-old Abigail is beautiful, book-smart, but sheltered by her plantation life and hemmed-in by her emotionally distant family. To make good use of time, she is encouraged by her family to teach her father’s fishing guide, the good-natured but penniless Benjamin Whimble, how to read and write. And in a twist of fate unforeseen by anyone around them, there on the porch of the cottage, the two come to love each other deeply, and to understand each other in a way that no one else does.

But when, against everything he claims to represent, Ben becomes entangled in Abby’s father’s Ku Klux Klan work, the terrible tragedy and surprising revelations that one hot Outer Banks night brings forth threaten to tear them apart forever.

With vivid historical detail and stunning emotional resonance, Diann Ducharme recounts a dramatic story of love, loss, and coming of age at a singular and rapidly changing time in one of America’s most beautiful and storied communities.

Download the Lost Chapter of The Outer Banks House.

Praise for The Outer Banks House

“…There’s real darkness on the edge of this romance that hurls the lovers toward tragedy, as if the price to re-enter the innocence of Eden might afford Abby nothing but despair. This 2010 debut novel and portrayal of the historical Outer Banks offers a terrific option for beach reading; it’s the sort of novel that can be charming without requiring an abundance of character complexity and depth. Abby’s evolution ultimately parallels the positive aspects of how the South reconciled to change after the Civil War, a change that required a culture of ignorance to wash out to sea.”
— Style Weekly Review

“It’s 1868, and the natives of North Carolina’s Outer Banks think the Sinclairs’ summer residence on the beach at Nags Head is right peculiar. Seventeen-year-old Abigail Sinclair is enlisted by her parents to teach Ben Whimble, her father’s fishing guide, to read. Abby is being courted by medical student Hector Newman and is appalled at the dirty and perpetually barefoot Ben. But Abby is also restless and slowly sees in Ben more than just a willing pupil. Ben might be getting sweet on his teacher as well, but her father has involved him in a matter that doesn’t sit right with the Banker, knowing that freedmen and runaway slaves have long lived contentedly out on Roanoke Island. It’s just three years since the end of the war, and for some, that isn’t long enough. VERDICT First novelist Ducharme has laced her novel with the sounds and the smells of the North Carolina shoreline. Racism and Southern tradition run along parallel paths in this affecting debut, where gentlemen can be less than honorable and enslavement doesn’t always involve chains. Highly recommended for fans of Southern fiction.” – Bette-Lee Fox — Library Journal, Starred Review

“A heart-felt and engrossing novel about the coming of age of two very different young people in the South just after the Civil War: a curious upper-class girl from an almost bankrupt plantation and a handsome young barefoot fisherman “made of sand and seawater” who comes to her to learn to read. What they learn from each other about tolerance and caring in those turbulent times will change their lives forever. A beautiful sense of this place by the sea, of a country in conflict, of death and redemption, and of new love.” – Stephanie Cowell, Author of CLAUDE & CAMILLE:

“The Outer Banks House is a beautifully written and deeply moving story of a sheltered young woman’s awakening to life, love and the injustice of discrimination against former slaves. In theme and impact, shades of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn; in the evocative setting and fresh voice, a unique novel all its own.” – Karen Harper — Author of THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS

Buy The Outer Banks House

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Crown Publishing


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About Return to the Outer Banks House

Publication Date: December 10, 2014
Kill Devil Publishing
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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She was the spirited daughter of a North Carolina plantation owner, and he was a poor fisherman who she tutored on the porch of her family’s Nags Head cottage. When we last saw Abigail Sinclair and Ben Whimble at the close of The Outer Banks House, they’d overcome their differences in life stations and defied convention to begin their new life together.

But now it’s seven years later, and Return to the Outer Banks House finds the couple married and in hard times—riddled by poverty, miscarriages, and weakened family ties. The strong bonds that once held them together have eroded over time, and their marriage threatens to unravel, particularly when relationships from the past and ambitions for the future find their way into the mismatched couple’s present predicament.

Can their love survive? Or are the challenges they face insurmountable? Return to the Outer Banks House carries readers back to 1875 to answer these questions and explore the ebb and flow of a rocky marriage set against the enchanting North Carolina shoreline. Replete with history, intrigue, and plenty of maritime drama, it’s an evocative tale of struggle in the Reconstruction-era South.

Praise for Return to the Outer Banks House

“…Set between 1875 and ’76, Ducharme’s story—this being the sequel to The Outer Banks House (2010)—is about love and its many faces, from young and reckless to unrequited. Specifically, she explores the unlikely passion that forms between smart, affluent Abigail Sinclair and uneducated, penniless Benjamin Whimble. The people of this tightknit island community on the Outer Banks, off the coast of North Carolina, are connected by their collective poverty and abiding love for the sea. Outsiders are generally unwelcome…” – Kirkus Reviews

Buy Return to the Outer Banks House

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About the Author

Diann was born in Indiana in 1971, but she spent the majority of her childhood in Newport News, Virginia. She majored in English literature at the University of Virginia, but she never wrote creatively until, after the birth of her second child in 2003, she sat down to write The Outer Banks House. She soon followed up with her second book, Chasing Eternity, and in 2015 the sequel to her first novel, Return to the Outer Banks House.

Diann has vacationed on the Outer Banks since the age of three. She even married her husband of 10 years, Sean Ducharme, in Duck, North Carolina, immediately after a stubborn Hurricane Bonnie churned through the Outer Banks. Conveniently, the family beach house in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina provided shelter while she conducted research for her historical fiction novels.

She has three beach-loving children and a border collie named Toby, who enjoys his sprints along the shore. The family lives in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, counting down the months until summer.

For more information visit Diann Ducharme’s website. You can also follow Diann on her blogTwitter, and Goodreads.

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The Outer Banks Series Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Raven Haired Girl

Tuesday, May 26
Guest Post & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, May 27
Review (Book One) at Back Porchervations

Thursday, May 28
Review (Book One) at In a Minute

Friday, May 29
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Saturday, May 30
Spotlight at Becky on Books

Sunday, May 31
Review (Book One) at Book Nerd

Monday, June 1
Review (Book Two) at Let them Read Books
Spotlight at I’d So Rather Be Reading

Tuesday, June 2
Review (Book One) at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, June 3
Review (Book Two) at Back Porchervations

Thursday, June 4
Spotlight & Giveaway (Book One) at View from the Birdhouse

Friday, June 5
Review (Both Books) at Bibliotica

Sunday, June 7
Review (Book One) at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 8
Review (Book One) at Ageless Pages Reviews
Guest Post at Curling Up With A Good Book

Tuesday, June 9
Review & Giveaway (Book One) at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, June 10
Review (Both Books) at Unshelfish
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, June 11
Review (Book Two) at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, June 12
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Sunday, June 14
Review (Book Two) at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 15
Review & Giveaway (Both Books) at Genre Queen

Tuesday, June 16
Interview at Books and Benches
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, June 17
Review (Both Books) at Luxury Reading

Thursday, June 18
Review (Book One) at Books and Benches
Interview at Layered Pages

Friday, June 19
Spotlight at Build a Bookshelf
Review (Book Two) at Ageless Pages Reviews

What She Left Behind, by Ellen Marie Wiseman

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I remember buying this book last year and knowing that it was going to be one of my reads for 2014, but somehow it got lost in the shuffle. I recently came across it again and I am glad that I jumped in. (There are no spoilers here)

Basically this book alternates between two women: one in the late 1920’s and the other in 1995. Clara is a teenager in the 20’s who comes from a prestigious family: her father owned half of the largest bank in Manhattan and her mother was an heiress who had a lot of money. Because her father controlled her and her brother’s life, in attempts to secure his money, her brother committed suicide. But being a family of power and virtue (and by virtue, I really mean denial), the parents chose to not see what happened as a suicide and once Clara conveys this to them when she has been told that she can no longer see the man she is in love with, she is stigmatized as insane, because again her parents chose to deflect any guilt or wrongdoing from their stances and blame anyone who challenges them. As a result, she is sent to a home for the mentally ill and from there a state run insane asylum-Willard.

Izzy, short for Isabelle, has been in foster care since she was a child. She is fortunate enough to live with a family who truly cares for her and her well-being. Somehow they are in charge of digging through some old suitcases at Willard (where Clara stayed) that were left behind. That’s when Izzy comes across the story of Clara and wants to find out more. She seems to be attached to this because her own mother was institutionalized for killing her father. She never knew why and her attachment to Clara, she hopes, will give her some insight and peace of mind.

This is an interesting story and I was hooked almost immediately. The author is fantastic at visual writing because I could see the setting and actions so clear in my mind. She set up the scene just enough without going overboard and pulling me out of the story. She is also great at writing dialogue that seemed natural and flowed along without being distracting. The best however, was how she could set up scenes that were so intense that I was on the edge of my seat. But be warned that if you are looking for a warm and fuzzy type of read that you should not expect to find that here. This reads as real life would have been in the late 20’s and early 30’s, women weren’t always treated as well as today and it has the potential to really piss you off. It did me, but I like a book that stirs me up yet makes me appreciate how lucky I am today and respect those who paved the way for our rights on this side of the world. This made me more aware that there are other woman out there in other countries who aren’t as lucky and I can only hope that they too will see change in the near future.

The Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant

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This is the story of 85-year-old Addie Baum, told in an interview with her grand daughter. It is a sweet tale of a time when Addie’s family was new to the country and she was the only one to be born in the US out of them all. She was born in Boston before the first World War and being Jewish she didn’t have it as easy as many others would. This is a great story of family, friendship, career, and love.

This book is so incredible at establishing a well-rounded character that I found myself double checking at the end to see if it was actually fiction. I felt Addie was so real that I found myself wishing that she were my own grandmother. I didn’t have a hands-on lovey dovey grandmother and the one that would’ve been died before I was born so I’ve always felt that I’ve missed out on having that special bond, therefore it is great books like this that give me a sense of how wonderful it could be.

The Tudor Vendetta, by C.W. Gortner

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This is an amazing story set in the first months of Elizabeth I’s succession to the English thrown. However, it is not told from her point-of-view but from Brendan Prescott- her personal private eye who in some ways is very much connected to the Tudor lineage as well. With an underlying theme being secrets, it is Queen Elizabeth who seems to be playing a game of chess and using Brendan as her personal pawn to aid in disclosing her most cherished secret that could be her ruin if it were to come to light. She doesn’t divulge her secret to Brendan but has enough faith in him to play his moves accurately in order to preserve the queen in the end. He goes into her mission blind and discovers the truth about her each step of the way and plays his pieces accordingly.

I have read so many books based around the Tudor family that I honestly wasn’t sure that this book was going to hold my interest but I was thrilled when my expectations were exceeded and I had difficulty putting the book down. The author, C. W. Gortner, has a natural gift of storytelling that never takes you out of the book and it was so easy for me to get lost in the pages. One thing that particularly stood out for me, and that I enjoy when I can find great authors, is how he was able to set the mood with such ease through conversations and the characters actions instead of endless descriptives. It was amazing when Brendan went to the Vaughan household how I could just visualize a dark and depressing place where it seemed that the sun would never shine.

This is a very quick and fun read. I highly recommend it!


To win a complete set of CW Gortner’s Spymaster Chronicles Trilogy (The Tudor Secret, The Tudor Conspiracy, and The Tudor Vendetta) please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on November 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on November 29th and notified via email.

Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Please join C.W. Gortner as he tours the blogosphere for the release of the third book in his Spymaster Chronicles Series, The Tudor Vendetta, from October 20 – November 28, and enter to win a complete set of the trilogy!

The Tudor Vendetta

Publication Date: October 21, 2014

St. Martin’s Press

Formats: eBook, Paperback

Series: Spymaster Chronicles

Genre: Historical Mystery

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Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.

Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen’s behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queenís coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry’s disappearance, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendettaó one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth’s doom.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.

The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner’s Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.

Praise for The Tudor Vendetta

ìFast paced and exciting, with a most engaging hero . . . So vivid, you feel are there!î – Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series

ìC.W. Gortner has done it again! Full of breathtaking action, dark twists and unexpected revelations, this is an unputdownable read.î – Michelle Moran, bestselling author of Madame Tussaud

ìSuspense, intrigue, betrayal and deadly rivalry: What more can you ask for? A swashbuckling, perilous adventure.î – M.J. Rose, bestselling author of The Reincarnationist

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About the Author03_CW Gortner

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin’s Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information please visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube.

The Tudor Vendetta Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 20

Review at The Maiden’s Court

Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, October 21

Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 22

Review at Back Porchervations

Review at Always With a Books

Thursday, October 23

Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Friday, October 24

Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Interview at Back Porchervations

Monday, October 27

Review at JulzReads

Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, October 28

Review at Beth’s Book Reviews

Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, October 29

Review at Making My Mark

Review at Writing the Renaissance

Guest Post at Bookish

Thursday, October 30

Review & Guest Post at Drey’s Library

Review & Interview at The Copperfield Review & From Meredith Allard

Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Friday, October 31

Review at Book by Book

Monday, November 3

Review at Mari Reads

Review & Gues Post at JM Ledwell Writes

Tuesday, November 4

Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 5

Review at One Book at a Time

Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, November 6

Review at Booktalk & More

Friday, November 7

Review at Build a Bookshelf

Monday, November 10

Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, November 11

Review at A Book Geek

Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, November 12

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, November 13

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 14

Review at Book Nerd

Spotlight at Paranormal Book Club

Monday, November 17

Review at Broken Teepee

Review at The Never-Ending Book

Tuesday, November 18

Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Guest Post at What is That Book About

Wednesday, November 19

Review at Kate Forsyth’s Blog

Thursday, November 20

Review & Interview at The Tudor Enthusiast

Friday, November 21

Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Monday, November 24

Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Review at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, November 25

Review at Historical Tapestry

Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, November 26

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, November 28

Review at Books in the Burbs

Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

A special thanks to Amy Bruno, C. W. Gortner, and St Martin’s Griffin for the advanced copy for review.

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

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I am doing a book giveaway for a paperback copy of Bitter Greens Sept 23-29.  Send me an email if you want me to add you in the drawing or just click the like button (here or on my goodreads review) and you will be automatically entered! (US residents only)

This is a retelling of the most famous fairytale, Rapunzel. It is told from the girl with the long hair’s POV, the witch’s POV, and the author of the story (Charlotte-Rose de la Force) from the late 1600’s POV. Somehow all three are told simultaneously yet individually and woven together so extraordinarily; just like Rapunzel’s long hair. I found myself grateful to be a woman during this time and age and having the freedoms to make my own choices as opposed to being independent and stuck in a time where you had to choose between being a nun, whore, or wife. And at that time all three were a form of imprisonment.

This book was written beautifully and at times I didn’t even notice myself being swept away into the enchanted world that Kate Forsyth created. I remember when reading the synopsis for Bitter Greens and thinking it sounded interesting and how could I go wrong since I love historical fiction so much. I had no earthly idea that I was stepping into three completely different worlds (yet somehow woven together) and the disappointment that I would feel when I had to put the book down and step back into the real world. Books like this one are so rare to come by that I am lost for where to go when I am finished reading because I know it will be awhile before I can match another one like it or even come close.

One thing that made this book so great for me was that I wasn’t at any point distracted by my own thoughts or anything going on around me, I never thought: Why is this book going so slow? at any moment, and I seriously got lost in the words as though I were in a trance…I’m not kidding!

I highly recommend this book, especially to those who love historical fiction and fairytales!!

Thank you Amy Bruno, St. Martin’s Press, and Kate Forsyth for the advanced copy for an honest review!

Jane Austen’s First Love, by Syrie James

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I haven’t read that many “romance” novels as of late, but it was so refreshing to read this historical fiction of Jane Austen and her first love, Edward Taylor. With Austen’s love of life and adventurous side, this book wasn’t smothered in romance but quirky and fun in addition to the excitement of courtship in the late 1700’s.

This novel was written very well and although I received this book through Netgalley, I will more than likely buy the audiobook just to get swept away again with those lovely British accents of this time period. I highly recommend this book, especially for those who love Jane Austen novels.

You can start reading this fantastic book today by clicking on the book cover below:


The Butterfly and the Violin, by Kristy Cambron

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Young Adele is a prodigy in her country of Austria in the late 30’s early 40’s. She has a talent when it comes to playing the violin, so much so that as a teenager she occasionally is invited to play with the Vienna Philharmonic.

It is during her time with the Philharmonic that she meets Vladimir, the son of a merchant who is beneath what her parents would expect her to date, yet she falls in love with him.

During this time in Austria, Hitler declares war and curfews are set in motion and the Jewish population are either in hiding or have been sent on a train to what they want people to believe is a working camp. Due to certain circumstances, Adele ends up on the wrong side of the war and gets to see what the concentration camps are really all about.

The story then changes to modern day where a young woman who owns an art gallery is in search of an original painting that she saw as a young girl of Adele and her violin and is also in search of what became of Adele and whether or not she died during her time as a prisoner.

I thought that the story of Adele was so captivating that when it would change to Sera and a guy named William who is helping her find this painting that I would lose interest in the book. I thought that the other tale of Sera was not cohesive enough to be intertwined with the story of Adele. I believe that if the book had been only Adele’s story that I would have given it a strong five stars. Toward the end when everything seemed to come together, I wasn’t so invested because I wasn’t as interested in Sera but was instead reading about Sera while Adele’s life was summarized in conversation where it would have been stronger to rid of Sera’s story and see Adele’s through action. But of course that is my opinion.

I suppose that it’s hard to switch stories when one is so gut-wrenching. I also had trouble with the believability that Sera at such a young age owns an art gallery in New York City and that William is in charge of liquidating his families assets when he is so young as well. It is possible, yes, but for the two to come together it just seemed unlikely to me and I just didn’t get into them so well.

As the story went along, I picked up on the fact that it was a Christian book and in most cases this can be distracting to me if it becomes too preachy or has a slew of Bible verses. In the story of Adele and Sera it is presented in a way that isn’t distracting and actually makes you stop and think about how Adele’s role as a Christian while being imprisoned with other Jewish women didn’t sway Adele’s views or the other women’s about accepting each other, but how they used their own religions to unite and keep each other strong.

Although I wasn’t crazy about the joining of a modern day story because I was so invested in Adele’s story, I still highly recommend this book. It is a great tale of love, acceptance, and turning fear into bravery.

A special thank you to Netgalley and the the publisher/author for the advanced copy for review

Click on the book cover below to start reading this book today!