Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Forgetting Place Blog Tour and Review

The Forgetting Place by John Burley
Publication date: February 10, 2015 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: Publisher for an honest review
Menaker State Hospital is a curse, a refuge, a prison, a necessity, a nightmare, a salvation.

When Dr. Lise Shields arrived at the correctional psychiatric facility five years ago, she was warned that many of its patients-committed by Maryland’s judicial system for perpetrating heinous crimes-would never leave.

But what happens when a place like Menaker is corrupted, when it becomes a tool to silence the innocent, conceal an injustice, contain a secret? Why is it that the newest patient does not seem to belong there, that the hospital administrator has fallen silent, and that Lise is being watched by two men with seemingly lethal intent? The answers are closer than she realizes and could cost her everything she holds dear.

In this chilling follow-up to The Absence of Mercy, author John Burley—a master at medical and psychological detail—showcases the many ways in which the dangers of the outside world pale in comparison to the horrors of the human mind.

My Take:

When the blog tour request for The Forgetting Place came through my inbox, I jumped at the chance to read and review the next book by John Burley. I read and reviewed his first book, The Absence of Mercy back in November of 2013 and just loved it. The problem with trying to review one of Burley's books is that there is always a twist and it isn't something that anyone would want to give away.

Lise Shields is a doctor working at Menaker State Hospital. She is dedicated at trying to help her severely mentally-ill patients and when the administrator of the hospital becomes too vague and illusive regarding a new patient's records, Lise becomes very concerned. It begins to seem like he is intentionally trying to keep her from being effective in her treatment of this mysterious patient. Lise, however, will not be deterred and continues to ask questions and search for information. What she uncovers is very unexpected.

I really enjoyed the writing and the way that the book reveals the reasons that Jason, the new patient, ended up in the hospital. Through the sessions with Lise, his story slowly unfolds and the reader learns more and more about Jason's life before he enters the hospital. We also get to learn more about Lise's past and her experiences at the hospital. The story flows wonderfully and Burley is a master at pulling the reader into the story as it gets more and more complicated.

 As with The Absence of Mercy, I found The Forgetting Place to be nearly impossible to put down. While I was reading it I could think of nothing else - it haunted my thoughts as I did dishes or laundry or whatever other chore that had to be done (as quickly as possible so I could get back to the book). After I finished reading the book, it still haunted me. Burley is extremely good at writing books that just don't let go. I did figure out the twist (or I was hoping I was right), but I still enjoyed the book and the twist when it was revealed immensely. I have and will continue to recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspense, mysteries, and psychological thrillers. This was such a great read and I will be reading it again soon.

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John BurleyAbout John Burley

John Burley is the award-winning author of The Absence of Mercy, which won the National Black Ribbon Award recognizing a new voice in suspense writing. He attended medical school in Chicago and completed his emergency medicine residency at University of Maryland Medical Center and R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. He continues to serve as an emergency medicine physician in Northern California, where he lives with his wife, daughter, and Great Dane.

Find out more about John at his website, and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

John’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, February 10th: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, February 11th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Thursday, February 12th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Friday, February 13th: The Reader’s Hollow
Tuesday, February 17th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, February 18th: Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, February 19th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, February 23rd: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, February 24th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, February 25th: A Book Geek

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Witch Hunter's Tale Blog Tour and Review

Please join Sam Thomas as he tours the blogosphere for The Witch Hunter’s Tale, the third novel in his Midwife Mysteries, from February 9-27.
witch hunter's tale_MECH_01.inddThe Witch Hunter's Tale by Sam Thomas
Publication date: January 6, 2015
St. Martin’s Press
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 320
Series: Book Three, The Midwife Mysteries SeriesGenre: Historical Mystery
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review.
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Sam Thomas takes readers back to Puritan England with midwife Bridget Hodgson, hailed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction.”
Winter has come to the city of York, and with it the threat of witchcraft. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike.
Bridget—accompanied once again by her deputy Martha Hawkins and her nephew Will Hodgson—finds herself playing a lethal game of cat and mouse against the most dangerous men in York, as well as her sworn enemy Rebecca Hooke. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?

My Take:

I haven't read the previous book in The Midwife Mysteries by Sam Thomas, but when the opportunity presented itself, I agreed to read and review The Witch Hunter's Tales because I am always interested in historical fiction dealing with the witch hunts. I was pleasantly surprised that the novel deals with more than just the hunting of witches though. I found Bridget Hodgson to be a complicated, intelligent and worthy protagonist and her deputy Martha is an admirable assistant.

Despite the fact that I missed many of their previous adventures, I still enjoyed their story very much. There is enough background so that I didn't feel lost, but it also didn't bog down the current story. I enjoyed how complicated the story became after the idea of witches in their midst became the topic of conversation and sermons from the pulpit. The way the fear was stirred up and the flames of panic were fanned by the unscrupulous and conniving pair, Joseph Hodgson and Rebecca Hooke was quite masterful. That pair are just reprehensible and have no redeeming qualities -- which make them great villains. 

Despite the injustice of the situation, the fearful townspeople are willing participants in the hunts and I thought Thomas did a good job of explaining all the various motivations and complications that played into the situation. In the midst of all the chaos, and Martha are still performing their midwife duties, and that aspect of the novel was quite interesting as well. Sometimes we tend to forget how dangerous childbirth was and also how much of a community event it could be - with all the neighbor women or gossips gathered around. 

I liked the fact that neither Bridget or Martha are presented as perfect; they are presented as intelligent, caring, and wise to the ways of politics and government, but not without their own points of weakness. The history of their loss of faith in the workings of government are explained and it is hard to fault some of their decisions despite the unlawfulness of some of them. At the same time, they wrestle with the implications of their actions and the results. Needless to say, the book causes the reader to think - which is always a good thing. Unlike some books, things are not really black and white - no one is all good or all bad -- well, some people may actually be all bad. . .

I enjoyed the book and read it very quickly, but without the anxious feeling caused by some books. I was able to enjoy the mystery/crime solving while also enjoying the depiction of the historical period presented in the story. I have put the first two book in the series on my TBR list and I hope to read them in the near future. I definitely recommend The Witch Hunter's Tale to anyone who is interested in reading historical fiction in general, but especially about the witch hunts, or Puritan England and/or the English Civil War period. 

Praise for the Midwife Mysteries Series

“Sam Thomas has created one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction—a crime-solving, wealthy, widowed midwife in embattled 17th-century York, England. . . . Bridget is as fascinating, fun and fierce as ever.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer on The Harlot’s Tale”Besides making his heroine a plausible sleuth, Thomas conveys the challenges of midwifery without clumsy exposition.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Harlot’s Tale
“As pleasurable as his mystery is, the true thrill here is Thomas’s lively portrait of 1644 York and his unique heroine.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer on The Midwife’s Tale
“A briskly plotted historical mystery starring a pair of brave, tenacious, intelligent women who take no prisoners and make no apologies.” —Lyndsay Faye, author of Gods of Gotham
“Thomas is a historian by profession and it shows in the wealth of detail with which he recreates the city of York amid the turmoil of the English civil war.” —Rhys Bowen, author of the bestselling Royal Spyness series
“A heart-stopping page-turner coupled with a gritty and realistic portrayal of two strong and contrasting woman characters vividly depicted against the backdrop of the besieged city of York.” —Cora Harrison, author of I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend
“The gripping story, fascinating characters, and intriguing era make Thomas’s debut mystery a reader’s delight.” —Priscilla Royal, author of The Killing Season
“Thomas’s fiction debut is packed with fascinating information about a midwife’s skills and life during the English civil war. The ingenious, fast-paced mystery is a bonus.” —Kirkus Reviews on The Midwife’s Tale
“Everything rings true in historian Thomas’s superb first mystery. . . Authentic details of life in 17th-century York complement the whodunit’s intelligently concealed clues.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Midwife’s Tale

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About the Author03_Sam Thomas

Sam Thomas is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy. He has published articles on topics ranging from early modern Britain to colonial Africa. Thomas lives in Alabama with his wife and two children.
For more information please visit Sam Thomas’s website. You can also find him on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

The Witch Hunter’s Tale Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 9
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Spotlight at What Is that Book About
Tuesday, February 10
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, February 11
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing
Friday, February 13
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Monday, February 16
Review at Book Babe
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, February 17
Review & Interview at The Emerald City Book Review
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Wednesday, February 18
Review at Back Porchervations
Thursday, February 19
Interview at Back Porchervations
Friday, February 20
Review at Build a Bookshelf
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, February 23
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession
Tuesday, February 24
Review at A Book Geek
Wednesday, February 25
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, February 26
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Spotlight at Brooke Blogs
Friday, February 27
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes
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Friday, February 13, 2015

They Call Me Crazy Blog Tour and Review

They Call Me Crazy by Kelly Stone Gamble
Publication date: Novermber 12, 2014 by Red Adept Press
Source: Publisher for an honest review
Cass Adams is crazy, and everyone in Deacon, Kansas, knows it.  But when her good-for-nothing husband, Roland, goes missing, no one suspects that Cass buried him in their unfinished koi pond. Too bad he doesn’t stay there for long. Cass gets arrested on the banks of the Spring River for dumping his corpse after heavy rain partially unearths it.

The police chief wants a quick verdict—he’s running for sheriff and has no time for crazy talk. But like Roland’s corpse, secrets start to surface, and they bring more to light than anybody expected. Everyone in Cass’s life thinks they know her—her psychic grandmother, her promiscuous ex-best friend, her worm-farming brother-in-law, and maybe even her local ghost. But after years of separate silences, no one knows the whole truth. Except Roland. And he’s not talking. 

My Take:

They Call Me Crazy is an interesting, darkly funny and distinct kind of book. The first chapter sets the tone and the reader is alerted that this isn't going to be like a lot of other books. It is a bit difficult to decide if it is a dark comedy or a mystery -- or a darkly comedic mystery perhaps.

Cass is the main character and we get to read her narrative about her life and her actions. The reasons for them and exactly what they were are only revealed gradually. Cass has a reputation in her small town as being crazy. She comes by it naturally though, since her mother was crazy too. Or so the town rumor mill says. Cass may be crazy, but she is extremely funny and feisty and much sharper than most people - including her jerk of a husband, Roland - think she is. Cass doesn't lie and she doesn't try to get away with anything -- she tells everyone honestly what happened. There is a problem though, she has been very over medicated and her brother-in-law the big city lawyer is going to be sure she gets fair treatment. The local police chief isn't too pleased by this situation since he has an election to worry about.

The reader is treated to the viewpoints of several characters as the story is revealed. Each one is a bit quirky and has their own personal history to tell that helps explain some of their own version of "crazy". We get to hear from the police chief; Maryanne, Cass's ex-best friend; Clay, Cass' brother-in-law and a few others. Each narrative gives a different spin on the events and the complex relationships between the people of this small town.

I found myself laughing out loud quite often while reading this fun, crazy, wild and ultimately heartwarming book. I found myself wondering how so many of the other characters didn't see their own crazy, but were so quick to put that label on Cass. The over-medication of mental issues is addressed within the context of Cass' situation and helped to highlight some of the attitudes people have towards mental problems.

I think that They Call Me Crazy will appeal to anyone who likes dark humor, mysteries, stories about small towns and the people who live in them. This was a fun, fast-paced book that I read in a day. I just want to add that I really like the cover of the book too.

About the Author
Kelly Stone Gamble was born and raised in the Midwest… all over the Midwest. By the time she graduated from high school, she had run away from home twice and attended twenty-two different schools. To bring that total to twenty-five, she obtained an undergrad degree and two graduate degrees. There are stories in those experiences, and she chose to use them for fictional inspiration.

 For the past twenty years, Kelly has lived in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nevada. She recently accepted a full-time position with Southeast Oklahoma State University to teach Literature and Professional Speech and will soon be a resident, again, of the Midwest.

 Look out, tornadoes. You have competition.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Long and Faraway Gone Blog Tour and Review

The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
Publication date: February 10, 2015 by William Morrow
Source: publisher via TLC Book Tours for an honest review

In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie-theater employees were killed in an armed robbery, while one inexplicably survived. Then, a teenage girl vanished from the annual State Fair. Neither crime was ever solved.

Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those unsolved cases quietly echo through survivors’ lives. A private investigator in Vegas, Wyatt’s latest inquiry takes him back to a past he’s tried to escape—and drags him deeper into the harrowing mystery of the movie house robbery that left six of his friends dead.

Like Wyatt, Julianna struggles with the past—with the day her beautiful older sister Genevieve disappeared. When Julianna discovers that one of the original suspects has resurfaced, she’ll stop at nothing to find answers.

As fate brings these damaged souls together, their obsessive quests spark sexual currents neither can resist. But will their shared passion and obsession heal them, or push them closer to the edge? Even if they find the truth, will it help them understand what happened, that long and faraway gone summer? Will it set them free—or ultimately destroy them?

My Take:
When the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for The Long and Faraway Gone was presented to me, I was eager to read and review the book for a few reasons: much of the story takes place in Oklahoma City and the author teaches at a couple of universities in Oklahoma - including my Alma mater, University of Oklahoma. The premise of the story intrigued me and I thought it might be fun to read a novel that takes place in Oklahoma.

So, even though I originally wanted to read it mostly for nostalgia, I ended up being drawn into the lives and tragedies of Wyatt and Julianna from the very first chapter. I enjoyed the way the story jumps from 1986 to 2012 and from Wyatt's to Julianna's perspective. For me, it was a nice blend of history contrasted with the changes in scenery and the growth of the characters.

Wyatt and Julianna were both affected by two separate crimes that took place a few months apart in 1986 in Oklahoma City. Both crimes were violent and shook up the city, but were not related except for the unanswered questions. Wyatt can't figure out why he was the only one left alive. It just doesn't make sense. And Julianna just can't stop trying to find out exactly what happened to her sister all those years ago.

The Long and Faraway Gone is a difficult book to discuss without ruining the story, the slow unfolding of information. While the plot itself is engaging and exciting, I thought the character development and exploration was also extremely well done. Besides Wyatt and Julianne, there are several really interesting supporting characters; some of these characters are from 1986 and some are from 2012, but they all feel real and complex.

I really loved the detailed descriptions of life in Oklahoma City during both time periods - Berney is obviously very familiar with the area. His descriptions of the state fair made me smile (and then cringe) in recognition. I especially like the descriptions of summer and the storms - anyone who has lived through spring time storms in Oklahoma will recognize his descriptions.

I won't say anything about the end of the book except to say that I found it to be quite satisfying, if not quite what I was expecting when I started reading the book. I have already recommended this book to several people, but I will be hanging on to my copy because I foresee a reread in the near future. I can - and will -- recommend The Long and Faraway Gone to pretty much anyone who enjoys reading crime fiction, thrillers, mysteries, or general fiction. I would say it is probably one of the best books I have read in a while. I think the book should get bonus points for the title alone -- I just love the title.

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About Lou Berney

Lou BerneyLou Berney is an accomplished writer, teacher, and liar who has written feature screenplays and created TV pilots for Warner Brothers, Paramount, Focus Features, ABC, and Fox, among others. His short fiction has appeared in the New YorkerPloughshares, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and other publications. His first novel, Gutshot Straight, was named one of the ten best debut crime novels of the year by Booklist and nominated for a Barry Award.

Find out more about Lou at his website, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Lou’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, February 10th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, February 11th: The many thoughts of a reader
Thursday, February 12th: A Book Geek
Friday, February 13th: Vivacious Hobo
Monday, February 16th: BoundbyWords
Tuesday, February 17th: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, February 18th: More Than Just Magic
Thursday, February 19th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, February 23rd: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Tuesday, February 24th: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, February 25th: JulzReads

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Blood of the Fifth Knight Blog Tour and Review

The Blood of the Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell
Publication date: January 1, 2015 by Thomas & Mercer
Source: author for an honest review
England, 1176. King Henry II has imprisoned his rebellious Queen for attempting to overthrow him. But with her conspirators still at large and a failed assassination attempt on his beautiful mistress, Rosamund Clifford, the King must take action to preserve his reign.
Desperate, Henry turns to the only man ,he trusts: a man whose skills have saved him once before. Sir Benedict Palmer answers the call, mistakenly believing that his family will remain safe while he attends to his King.
As Palmer races to secure the throne for the King, neither man senses the hand of a brilliant schemer, a mystery figure loyal to Henry’s traitorous Queen who will stop at nothing to see the King defeated.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and a worthy follow-on to E.M. Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight.

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My Take:

The opportunity to read and review the next book after The Fifth Knight, arose, and naturally, I jumped at it. The Blood of the Fifth Knight begins at King Henry II's public penance for the death of Thomas Becket. Benedict and Theodosia Palmer are living a quiet, hard-working life but they are happy together with their young son.

Of course, this hard but peaceful life won't last long, there are still agents of the Queen who want to put her on the throne and will stop at nothing to hurt Henry and anyone loyal to him. Benedict is called to figure out who is the threat to the king and he must leave his little family to do so. Of course, this will be the start of some very bad times for Benedict and Theodosia. They just can't seem to get a break.

I don't want to go into too much detail, because that might ruin the fun, but let me just say that E.M. Powell manages to come up with even more villainous villains and just-by-the-skin-of-their-teeth-escapes than the first book - which is saying something. I knew something was up with one of the characters, but she totally fooled me on two others.

This was another wild ride of a book -- there were several times especially towards the end of the book where I had to put it down, walk around the house a couple of times before I could pick the book up again. I enjoyed the intricacy of the plot against Henry even though it made me very anxious while reading. This was another fun, but nerve-wracking book. I think Powell might just hate Palmer and Theodosia, because they go through a lot. I doubt their story is finished yet and I will be anxious to find out what else is in store for them.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight would probably appeal to any historical fiction enthusiast, and especially those who like fast-paced, crazy-wild adventures and political intrigue.

About the Author
E. M. Powell is the author of medieval thriller The Fifth Knight, which was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she now lives in the northwest of England with her husband and daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society (HNS), International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America, as well as a reviewer of fiction and nonfiction for the HNS.
Her latest book is the historical mystery/thriller, THE BLOOD OF THE FIFTH KNIGHT.

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Red Fury Revolt Book Blast

02_Red Fury Revolt_CoverPlease join author J.F. Ridgley as her novel, Red Fury Revolt is featured around the blogosphere and enter to win a copy of the book plus a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Publication Date: January 31, 2015 R Pride Publishing eBook; 412p ASIN: B00QJJFCYK Genre: Historical Fiction Series: Book One, The Agricola Series
Something keeps drawing G. Julius Agricola to Britannia again and again? This is where it starts? book one, Red Fury?Revolt A.D. 60? Camulodunum! Londinium! Verulaneum! Three towns writhe under the Iceni queen?s wrath, as she leads her warriors intent on destroying all things Roman ? be it Roman temples, Roman villas, or entire families sympathetic to Rome. At stake is Suetonius Paulinus?s reputation. With only 80,000 legionaries, will he destroy Boudica or will he endure the disgrace in Rome for losing?to a woman? Julius Agricola-Rome?s tribune, and Rhianna-Boudica?s youngest daughter, become ensnared in this horrific historical revolt against Roman injustice. Just as Julius and Rhianna reveal their love to each other, they are hurled back into the harsh reality of their differing worlds that are determined to destroy each other. Who will survive? Book two in the Agricola series, Red Fury Rebellion, coming 2016!

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Praise for Red Fury Revolt

Ms. Ridgley has done very well at telling her story, while being respectful to the events that devastated Britannia, and even shook the Roman Empire itself, in 60 to 61 A.D.? - James Mace, Author of ?Soldier of Rome ? The Artorian Chronicles?

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03_Author JF RidgleyAbout the Author

Ms Ridgley loves the ancient world. Even after years of researching and many trips to the sites of her stories, she is still fascinated by what she can use for her next story. One thing she does enjoy more is bringing this world to life in her award-winning stories of power, greed, violence, and love. Be sure to stop by her website to discover her books and novellas available on Be sure to sign up for her newsletter to stay up with her next book or her next giveaway! You can also connect with JF Ridgley on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.

Book Blast Schedule

Saturday, January 31 - Release Day!
Back Porchervations
Flashlight Commentary

Sunday, February 1
Book Nerd 100 Pages a Day

Monday, February 2
A Literary Vacation
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Tuesday, February 3
Passages to the Past

Wednesday, February 4
Let Them Read Books

Thursday, February 5
CelticLady's Reviews
A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus

Friday, February 6
What is That Book About
The Never-Ending Book

Saturday, February 7
A Book Geek
Just One More Chapter


To enter to win a copy of Red Fury Revolt and a $25 Amazon Gift Card, sponsored by author J.F. Ridgley, please complete the giveaway form below.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on February 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via GLEAM on February 8th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Please email Amy @ with any questions.
Red Fury Revolt Book Blast  photo d4cce036-3067-40e9-ba9c-a7ba127be0c4.jpg

A Man of Honor Blog Tour and Review

  A Man of Honor, or Horatio's Confessions by J.A. Nelson Publication Date: December 9, 2019 Quill Point Press Paperback, eBook & ...