Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Monday, December 11, 2017

FLASH Giveaway: MAD LIBRARIAN by Michael Guillebeau



Free Book and a Cup of Tea


I'm Mike Guillebeau, author of the MAD Librarian book which was reviewed here on The Book Diva's Reads. I'd like to thank all of the readers for your support, gauge your interest in the book, and offer you a small Christmas present from my MAD librarian and the other characters in the book. For the next week, anyone who would like a free Kindle book of MAD Librarian can send me an email (mike@michaelguillebeau.com). Let me know that you'd like a free Kindle ebook of MAD Librarian and that you heard about it on The Book Diva's Reads. I'll email you a $10 Amazon gift card, which will let you buy a MAD Librarian ebook for $7.99, and have enough left over for a cup of tea or coffee with your book.

Here's the kicker: I'll only do this for the first five from this blog. And I'm doing this at a couple of other sites. The first site to get five books will get five more.

Regardless of whether you take me up on this or not, thanks for your support for books in general, and The Book Diva. Review sites like The Book Diva's Reads are the lifeblood for readers like you and writers like me alike.



MAD Librarian by Michael Guillebeau
ISBN: 9780997205527 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780997205534 (ebook)
ASIN: B075LQD1LB (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 16, 2017 
Publisher: Madison Press


When the city cuts off funding for her library, Serenity Hammer embezzles from a neglected city fund to keep her library alive. The fund turns out to be a huge secret fund channeling all corruption and political funds for the state. Now Serenity has the money to build the library of her dreams--if she can spend it fast and stay alive.
Half of all income will go to madlibrarian.org to provide small grants to librarians trying to do something innovative for their communities using their libraries. 


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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Book Showcase: GUN KISS by Khaled Talib

Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib
ISBN: 9781772233490 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781772233483 (ebook)
ASIN: B077GF1Z67 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Imajin Books
Release Date: December 1, 2017


A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress, and international intrigue…
When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen. 
After Blake's return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn't expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.


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Read an excerpt: 

The tall buildings around Washington, D.C.'s 10th Street overshadowed the historic Ford's Theatre. Though the building had undergone refurbishment both inside and out, it still seemed slightly out of place in modern America. However, that didn't stop the throngs of tourists visiting the building that June morning as wispy clouds threaded through the cerulean sky.
It was a crowded weekend day when Abraham Lincoln, in his overcoat, and two Union soldiers, their faces covered with bandanas, stepped out of the van. They meandered past the theater's five historic doorways toward the modern glass entrance. Everyone assumed they were part of a promotion taking place at the museum. It was not uncommon to see park rangers and tour guides dressed in period costumes.
The man behind the Lincoln mask was Rick Walker—at least, that was the name he was currently going by. Highly educated, the thirty-six-year-old professional thief had a penchant for the fast life. If the assignment was a success today, he'd promised his girlfriend a nice holiday.
Two female park rangers stepped forward when Rick and his companions reached the front of the line.
"You have to get in line, sir. Also, you need to get tickets. Kindly remove the mask and bandanas before entering," one of the park rangers said.
"I do apologize, madam, but I'm in a bit of a hurry," Rick said. "I don't think I need a ticket, nor do I have to get in line given who I am."
"That's the only way you're going to get in," the park ranger said.
"Well, if you insist, madam, and once again, please accept my apologies." Rick bowed and tipped his hat, then extended a hand to the park ranger, who instinctively took it.
Rick grabbed her wrist tightly and locked it to his own with a steel cuff.
"What are you doing?" the park ranger yelled, trying to jerk her hand away.
"Getting acquainted," Rick said.
The park ranger reached for the walkie-talkie strapped to her belt, but Rick snatched it away from her. Frantically, she turned to the other park ranger. "Get security!"
One of the two Union soldiers dropped his prop rifle and grabbed the other park ranger's hand, then cuffed her wrist to his own. He pulled out a real gun tucked under his waistband and aimed it at her.
Rick unbuttoned the jacket of his three-piece suit and brandished the bomb strapped to his chest.
"Bomb! Bomb!" a young teenager in the line shrieked.
Pandemonium broke out as the screams of panic amplified. People ran in every direction. Those who moved slowly were slammed aside, or knocked over.
Rick pulled the ranger cuffed to him aside. "We're going downstairs, and we're going to take the Deringer. Obey your president," he said in a hollow voice.
"Yes, sir," the park ranger said as beads of sweat formed on her forehead.
They descended by elevator and emptied into an interactive museum. The wealth of history in the dimly lit space featured original artifacts in glass showcases, furniture, statues, murals, and narrative devices. The visitors already in the museum scattered wildly at the sight of a man in a Lincoln mask displaying a bomb strapped to his chest, a park ranger cuffed to his wrist.
"Show's over, folks," Rick yelled. "Go!"
The park ranger guided her captors to a section in the museum where the Deringer floated in an oblong glass case capped at both ends with wood. A mural behind it depicted John Wilkes Booth firing a single shot at Abraham Lincoln as he sat in the theater box.
The Union soldier not cuffed to a park ranger took out a glasscutter from his coat pocket and began to cut a circle in the glass. When it popped free, he inserted his hand inside and yanked out the Deringer.
"We're going to take you with us. Don't give me trouble. If you behave, you'll be back home in time for dinner with the family," Rick said, dragging the park ranger closer to him. "Understand?"
The park ranger nodded once, nervously.
"Excellent," Rick said.
They exited through the theater's main door and stepped out into the empty street. The crowd had dispersed. Some had regrouped tensely a few hundred meters away at both ends. "Cheer up—it's going to be a fun day," Rick said, walking toward the van.
The park ranger with Rick raised her voice. "Please, please, let us go. I don't want to die."
"Well, behave and everything will be fine." He opened the side, forced her in and jumped in after her. He shut the door after the accomplice had climbed in with the second park ranger.
The van began to move off.
"Hallelujah!" Rick yelled in excitement behind the mask as he sat at the back of the van. He removed the cuff from his wrist and secured the park ranger onto a railing.
"We'll be arriving in five," the driver said after a few blocks. "You know what to do."
"I sure do," Rick said as he removed the bomb strapped to his chest. Still wearing the mask, he looked at the hostages. "Don't worry about the bomb, it's fake."
He unhooked a tote bag from the wall and began removing the contents. Facing away from the hostages, he removed the Lincoln mask and slipped into casual attire. He hid his face by putting on a redbaseball cap and a pair of dark shades then stuffed the costume into the bag and swung it over his shoulder.
Rick looked again at the park rangers. "Look on the bright side—now you get to tell visitors a different story at the museum."
The Union soldier in the back with him handed over the Deringer, which Rick slipped into the bag.
The driver slowed down and stopped behind a parked car.
"All good outside?" Rick asked.
"Yeah…all good. I parked a few cars behind us," the driver replied, looking at the side mirror.
"Okay. Nice doing business with you guys." Rick pulled open a trapdoor in the center of the floorboard, slid out, and slithered under the parked car in front of the van.
The van pulled away from the curb and sped down the street. After a minute, Rick rolled onto the road, got up, and walked toward the park at Judiciary Square on the Red Line and descended into the Metro.

A day later, Rick sat at a café with his eyes glued to the screen of a laptop, drinking a hot latte with his back against the wall. He scanned the faces of everyone who entered. Though he wasn't expecting trouble, he remained vigilant.
"Is it in yet?" the tall blonde sitting across from him asked.
He scratched the roughness of his stubble as he continued to stare at the screen. "Not yet."
Moments later, the figures on his account changed. A new deposit had been registered: ten million dollars.
Rick lifted his eyes. "Darling."
"Yeah?"
"Remember, we're in a public place, so don't scream."
She leaned forward. "It's in?"
Rick wriggled his eyebrows. "Pack your bags. We're going on a holiday, as I promised." 

Excerpt from Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib. Copyright © 2017 by Khaled Talib. Reproduced with permission from Khaled Talib. All rights reserved.


Meet the Author:


Khaled Talib is the author of Smokescreen, Incognito, and Gun Kiss.

Born and raised in Singapore, Khaled is a former journalist with local and international exposure. His articles have been published and syndicated to newspapers worldwide, and his short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines.

The author is a member of the Crime Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers. Khaled's novel Incognito won the Silver award for the Authors DB Book Cover Contest 2017.


Connect with the author at his websiteFacebook, and Twitter



Book Blast: A MOTHER'S LIE by Jo Crow

A Mother's Lie

by Jo Crow

Book Blast on December 5, 2017



Synopsis:


A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow

When her child's life is at stake, a mother will do anything to save him.


Clara McNair is running out of time to save her son, James. When the two-year-old is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, only an experimental treatment can save his life. She desperately needs money to pay for the surgery, but she'll have to travel back to the site of her darkest memories to get it.
Clara has escaped the demons of her youth—or so she thinks. It's been ten years since the mysterious disappearance of her parents. Widely suspected of murdering her mother and father, Clara fled west to start a new life. Now, a documentary film crew is offering cold, hard cash—enough to pay for James's treatment—in exchange for the sordid secrets of her past.
With no other choice but to delve into a long-ago tragedy, Clara must unravel the lies surrounding that terrible night. Facing hostile gossip, Clara is fighting to clear her name and learn the truth about what really happened. But how far will she go into the dark to save her son—and herself?


Book Details:


Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published by: Relay Publishing
Publication Date: November 29th 2017
Number of Pages: 310
ISBN: 978-1979295420
Purchase Links: Goodreads 


Read an excerpt:



Chapter One
Dense red clay was pushing between the teeth. Pond mist drifted across the manicured lawns, wisping through the dark eye sockets. Parts of the cranium were shaded a vile yellow-brown where decomposing leaves clung to its surface like bile expressed from a liver. The jawbone was separated from the skull, its curved row of teeth pointing skyward to greet the rising sun.
Two feet away, closer to the oak tree, other bones were piled haphazardly: a pelvis, high iliac crests and subpubic angle. A femur, caked with dirt, jammed into his empty skull. Sunlight decorated the brittle bones in long, lazy strips and darkened hairline fractures till they blended with the shed behind them.
It was peaceful here, mostly. The pond no longer bubbled, its aerator decayed by time; weed-clogged flowerbeds no longer bloomed—hands that once worked the land long ago dismissed. Fog blanketed the area, as if drawn by silence. Once, a startled shriek woke the morning doves and set them all into flight.
It was the first time in ten years the mammoth magnificence of the Blue Ridge Mountains had scrutinized these bones; the first song in a decade the morning doves chorused to them from their high perch.
A clatter split apart the dawn; the skull toppled over as it was struck with another bone.
In a clearing, tucked safely behind the McNair estate, someone was whistling as they worked at the earth. The notes were disjointed and haphazard, like they were an afterthought. They pierced the stillness and, overhead, one of the morning doves spooked and took flight, rustling leaves as it rose through the mist.
A shovel struck the wet ground, digging up clay and mulch, tossing it onto the growing mound to their left. The whistling stopped, mid note, and a contemplative hum took its place.
Light glinted on the silvery band in the exposed clay—the digger pocketed it—the shovel struck the ground again; this time, it clinked as it hit something solid.
Bone.
A hand dusted off decayed vegetative matter and wrested the bone from its tomb. Launching it into the air, it flew in a smooth arc, and crashed into the skull like a bowling pin, scattering the remains across the grass. With a grunt of satisfaction, the digger rose and started to refill the hole from the clay mound.
When it was filled and smoothed, and the sod was replaced over the disrupted ground, the digger lifted the shovel and strolled into the woods, one hand tucked in a pocket as they whistled a cheery tune lost to the morning fog.
***
Excerpt from A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow.  Copyright © 2017 by Jo Crow. Reproduced with permission from Jo Crow. All rights reserved.




More About Jo Crow:


Jo Crow

Jo Crow gave ten years of her life to the corporate world of finance, rising to be one of the youngest VPs around. She carved writing time into her commute to the city, but never shared her stories, assuming they were too dark for any publishing house. But when a nosy publishing exec read the initial pages of her latest story over her shoulder, his albeit unsolicited advice made her think twice.

A month later, she took the leap, quit her job, and sat down for weeks with pen to paper. The words for her first manuscript just flew from her. Now she spends her days reading and writing, dreaming up new ideas for domestic noir fans, and drawing from her own experiences in the cut-throat commercial sector.

Not one to look back, Jo is all in, and can't wait for her next book to begin.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Facebook !




Tour Participants:


Check out these other stops on the A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow blast!







Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jo Crow. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card AND 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow. The giveaway begins on December 5 and runs through December 11, 2017.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

2017 Book 409: STRONG TO THE BONE by Jon Land



Strong to the Bone (Caitlin Strong Novel #9) by Jon Land
ISBN: 9780765384645 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780765384669 (ebook)
ASIN: B06XK6QSKH (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 5, 2017 
Publisher: Forge


Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong takes on a gang of neo-Nazis in Strong to the Bone, an action-packed novel of the critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series by Jon Land
1944: Texas Ranger Earl Strong investigates a triple murder inside a Nazi POW camp in Texas.
The Present: His granddaughter, fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, finds herself pursuing the killer her grandfather never caught in the most personal case of her career a conspiracy stretching from that Nazi POW camp to a modern-day neo-Nazi gang.
A sinister movement has emerged from the shadows of history, determined to undermine the American way of life. Its leader, Armand Fisker, has an army at his disposal, a deadly bio-weapon, and a reputation for being unbeatable. But he's never taken on the likes of Caitlin Strong and her outlaw lover, Cort Wesley Masters.
To prevent an unspeakable cataclysm, Caitlin and Cort Wesley must win a war the world thought was over.  


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Caitlin Strong, Texas Ranger, is back and starts things off with a blast...of water. Caitlin's current day story begins in Austin, Texas where she has delivered a speech to law enforcement officers. After she and her lover, Cort Westley Masters, eat dinner and attend a show, there's a ruckus down the street at Stubb's Barbeque when a university party gets out of control and a woman has been sexually assaulted. It's virtually impossible to get inside, so Caitlin commandeers a fire truck and uses a fire hose to blast the drunken collegiates out of the way. She finds the assault victim, shooting a suspect in the process, and considers her job done. Until she's told the DNA from this assault victim matches the DNA collected from her rape kit 18-years ago. That's one blast from the past that Caitlin could have done without. Now, she's told she can't investigate the assault case by none other than Jones at Homeland Security, but when does Caitlin ever truly follow orders. If that isn't enough to contend with, the medical examiner, along with Captain D.W. Tepper, and even Jones fill Caitlin in on one of her grandfather's cases from 1944 dealing with the Nazis in prison camps in Texas. Just to throw a little icing on the cake, so to speak, Cort Westley's eldest son, Dylan, is still on sabbatical from college and is working at a garage with a Mexican-Americans of the legal and illegal variety AND he's started mouthing off to a bunch of neo-Nazis harassing schoolgirls and others in the community. Things quickly go downhill from there with the neo-Nazi international drug cartel, the rape/assault cases, and more. Can Caitlin deal with the emotional and psychological trauma of her rape while continuing to investigate the current assault case, even if she's not supposed to be investigating said case? What will happen to Dylan if he continues to stand up for what is right against insurmountable odds? What could possibly link Earl Strong's 1944 case with the 2017 investigation into the neo-Nazis?

Strong to the Bone by Jon Land is another amazingly fast-paced, thrill-packed, and suspense-filled read. Mr. Land packs quite a punch when he presents his Caitlin Strong stories and I love every single one of them. Strong to the Bone, as most Caitlin Strong stories, begins with an older story about the Texas Rangers (usually one featuring Caitlin's father or grandfather) that loosely ties to the current story being told. Each section of the book is prefaced with a bit of Ranger history or lore. Then we get to Caitlin, who is a throwback to the Rangers of yore, and doesn't always do things "by the book" (I'm not even sure she's read the book, but it works for her). I love reading each new Caitlin Strong book because I feel as if I'm visiting long-lost friends, such as Cort Westley Masters, Caitlin's lover; Colonel Guillermo Paz, Caitlin's erstwhile friend and protector and former would-be assassin; Captain D.W. Tepper, Caitlin's boss and Texas Ranger leash-holder; and Jones (formerly Smith) with Homeland Security. Does it seem strange that Caitlin has a long list of friends and protectors and they're all male? Not to me, she doesn't really need these protectors because she can definitely take care of herself, but she inspires that sense of loyalty in people, especially men. Strong to the Bone introduces us to some really nasty bad guys along with returning cast of favorites. Armand Fisker took over the Aryan Brotherhood from his father and grew it into what is basically the equivalent of a Fortune 500 international business (without the taxes). Davey Skoll is a former hedge fund manager turned pharmaceutical company owner. He raised the prices of several older drugs almost 10,000% in order to make a profit (sounds vaguely familiar) and is also in cahoots (love that word) with Fisker to supply Oxycodone and Vicodin in massive quantities. Yes, there's a lot going on in Strong to the Bone, but everything intersects towards the end (no, I won't tell you how...read the book!). I enjoy the multiple storylines, the characters (even the bad guys), the action, and the settings. I know that I've said it before with this series, but if you enjoy reading suspense thrillers then you really need to read this book and this series. I've probably told you that about four or five times now already. What on earth are you waiting for?! Start from the beginning and work your way up to Strong to the Bone or read this and then go back to the beginning. I'm looking forward to reading the next Caitlin Strong story because I need to know what happens next! Before I forget, yes I enjoyed reading Strong to the Bone and will probably be rereading it along with the others in this series before the next book is released.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the author/publisher via Partners In Crime Tours. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Author Bio:


Jon Land
Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of 43 books, including eight titles in the critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series: Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance, Strong Rain Falling (winner of the 2014 International Book Award and 2013 USA Best Book Award for Mystery-Suspense), Strong Darkness (winner of the 2014 USA Books Best Book Award and the 2015 International Book Award for Thriller, and Strong Light of Day which won the 2016 International Book Award for Best Thriller-Adventure, the 2015 Books and Author Award for Best Mystery Thriller, and the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award for Best Mystery. Strong Cold Dead became the fourth title in the series in a row to win the International Book Award in 2017 and about which Booklist said, "Thrillers don’t get any better than this," in a starred review. Land has also teamed with multiple New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham on a new sci-fi series, the first of which, The Rising, was published by Forge in January of 2017. He is a 1979 graduate of Brown University and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Catch Up With Our Author On:


Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !




Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jon Land. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card AND 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Strong To The Bone by Jon Land. The giveaway begins on December 4 and runs through February 2, 2018.

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Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads | Macmillan 



Sunday, December 3, 2017

2017 Book 404: MAD LIBRARIAN by Michael Guillebeau

MAD Librarian by Michael Guillebeau
ISBN: 9780997205527 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780997205534 (ebook)
ASIN: B075LQD1LB (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 16, 2017 
Publisher: Madison Press


When the city cuts off funding for her library, Serenity Hammer embezzles from a neglected city fund to keep her library alive. The fund turns out to be a huge secret fund channeling all corruption and political funds for the state. Now Serenity has the money to build the library of her dreams--if she can spend it fast and stay alive.
Half of all income will go to madlibrarian.org to provide small grants to librarians trying to do something innovative for their communities using their libraries. 

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Library budgets are being slashed everywhere, and that thought brings little consolation to Serenity Hammer when the Maddington Library budget is cut to the bone. Now, she has three days to figure out where to find funds to pay the library's internet bill. When she approaches the mayor and city council for a restoration of the library's budget, she's basically laughed out the door. If Serenity was upset before, she is beyond pissed now. Thanks to the fact the city council has every librarian doing double-duty, Amanda Doom, is now also the town accountant and she and Serenity come across a secret fund, a secret fund with plenty of money. Initially, Serenity just takes enough money from the fund to pay the internet bill and a few other outstanding library needs, like having the plumbing fixed. When she checks the fund again and realizes large quantities of money are coming into the account, she does the unthinkable and has the money channeled to the library and goes on a massive spending spree. The library's expansion project is not only greenlighted by Serenity but is given a massive upgrade. There's just one little catch, all of the work has to be done in seven days. This new library will not only be a library, but a community resource with a business incubation center, employment center, daycare center, homeless shelter, and more. The only problem is that someone wants their money back and have started to threaten Serenity. This wouldn't ordinarily be a problem since she is married to a police officer, but she can't confide in him about what she's doing or can she? That argument becomes moot when there's a murder of a former FBI-agent in the library during a forensic accounting study ordered by one of the city councilmen. Will Serenity tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to the love of her life? Will Maddington get it's brand new MAD built before the money guys kill more people?

MAD Librarian was a fast-paced read. Serenity reminds me of the broadcaster in the movie Network that says: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." Well, Serenity and the citizens of Maddington are MAD about their new library, the MAD, and they're willing to do whatever it takes to protect the MAD. Okay, back to the book and the characters: Serenity Hammer is anything but serene; Amanda Doom, walks around in clothing with assorted protest messages and her favorite tagline is "By Any Means Necessary"; Joy Quexnt is the third librarian, a former police officer, and tattoo afficionado; Joe Hammer, local law enforcement officer and Serenity's husband; the hapless mayor; the library's pet rat (the rat wouldn't leave so they decided to keep it); and one city councilman that is also a practicing pediatrician and when townfolk want to discuss city business when he's at work bills the talk as a patient visit. There's a lot of action in the book, they are trying to build a library in seven days! There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor in MAD Librarian as well as outright humor, drama, and some violence. Obviously, there's quite a bit more going on in the story and if you really want to know more then read the book! If you're looking for something different to read, and I do mean different (in a good way) and want to support small libraries then I urge you to grab a copy of MAD Library to read, you'll get a madcap read and do some good as well.

Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."