This and that July 22, 2021

I have no new suggestions today. Some days are just like that and I’ve decided I’m OK with it.

I think my goal for the moment needs to be – reduce the line up of books waiting to be read.

It’s gradually gotten out of hand and I’m finding it overwhelming, if I’m being honest. I can hear someone saying – it took you long enough. What can I say. I’m a sucker for books 🙂 Anyway, I purposely haven’t done a deep dive today looking for bargains.

Moving on,

The last number of weeks I’ve spent a significant amount of time watching podcasts and while I’ve enjoyed them I’m realizing there is a down side to this kind of indulgence. Many (not all) of the sites I’ve subscribed to are built around the state of world news. Between opinions and an over abundance of information there comes a point where enough is too much. I feel weighed down, and distracted. There are other things requiring my attention and I haven’t been able to do them justice.

This blog has been affected the most by this stealing of reading/writing time. My mind feels foggy and empty. It takes a good amount of thinking time to have something to say. It takes input too. The trouble with the podcasts is the political subject matter. I don’t write about politics and the abundance of input produces no fruit in my world.

Reading, on the other hand, always spurs some kind of usable thinking.

I’m going on a podcast diet, cutting way back on time spent and it’s helping. With more time devoted to reading, the fog seems to be lifting enough to make comments.

During last nights post, I found I’d inadvertently started a new read with the novella belonging between books 1 and 2 in the Culper Ring series. I was too far into it to avoid the spoiler so I went ahead and finished it. Going back to the beginning, I’m now half way through book one and while the novella has given away one aspect of the ending it hasn’t spoiled the whole book for me. It is still a good read with lots of unexpected action.

Another decision in the back-to-reading restrictive diet was concerning my TBR list of neglected Non-fiction downloads.

Earmarking an hour devoted to Non-fiction reading seemed like a reasonable way to make some headway. The Power of Writing It Down is my pick for current read and I’m almost to the end of the first chapter.

This read definitely takes more work, that’s for sure. The author packs every single page full with thoughts, concepts, and information. A number of things stood out for me, right from page one.

I need time to chew on them before I can make comment.

There was one thought towering above the rest, though.

Research shows that thought patterns and tasks performed thousand of times create a rut or neural pathway and without conscious thought the mind automatically goes there. It’s discouraging to think that without thought these ruts lead us to unhealthy places. On the plus side: research also shows that with conscious choosing of different, healthier paths, performed enough times, over time they can overwrite and replace the old unhealthy paths.

This idea resonates with me more than usual. I think it’s because, even before reading this book, I’ve found myself practicing new patterns of thought and actions this summer. I’ve noticed myself making different decisions and choices and I’m pretty happy thinking about what it means going forward. I’ve been praying for healing and it appears to be on the way.

Read and current reads

Happy Reading y’all

Read and enjoyed July 21, 2021

This was my favorite read of the week. A story full of family secrets.

Going in, I never would have guessed how far they extended.

It seemed like many of the secrets started with a particular tragedy. If that heart breaking event could have been prevented, life would have been so much different. That was the general opinion.

But would it have, really?

On the surface you would think so but further down the road, the truth of that seemed much less likely.

There was nothing predictable about this story. The secrets seemed to multiply as the story went on. Details were allowed to filter out a little at a time. In some ways it was frustrating but mostly it was appreciated.

The characters were well developed and one couldn’t help but be drawn into their emotional struggles.

I could never have predicted the ending. A couple of details, maybe, but not the overall picture. Very nice.

Things Left Unsaid

Amazon quote:

An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.

Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.

But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.

Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.

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I would definitely read this book again.

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Currently I’m reading a book I shouldn’t be, I don’t think.

It’s a short story, I’m already 1/4 of the way through. I’m not entirely sure what is going on yet as details are being doled out sparingly.

Pulling up the cover to include in this post, I realize my mistake. It’s a novella, meant to be a bridge between book 1 and 2 in the series. Oops.

Book 1 begins only 10 years earlier. Now, I’m not sure if I should stop and read book 1 first or carry on and take my chances.

I think I will be taking my chances.

I’m intrigued with the novella, I’m looking forward to book 1 being just as engaging.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Happy Reading!

Confessions of an abuse survivor

I decided to name this post, and any future posts like it, in a way that would provide a heads up for anyone wishing to avoid such emotional discussions. I’m not planning on raw, uncomfortable, tell-alls, I know difficult discussions can be had in a civilized manner.

Anyway, today’s post doesn’t include any of that.

This could be a this-and-that kind of day except my thoughts have been heavier than that this week. Confession seems to be a more appropriate label.

I debated including the term abuse survivor but decided it gives context to where my head is at with the topics. There is nothing frivolous in my contemplations.

Enough of that.

So here’s the thing I’m trying to figure out. Why?

That’s what I need to know. Why?

I haven’t come up with an answer, so far, and I doubt this writing exercise will be all that revealing but I have to try.

I’m reluctant to tell you what I’m referring to because when I think of putting it into words, in my mind it sounds silly. I’m afraid you will dismiss it as such if I tell you what I’m thinking.

So, partial confession. As I’m contemplating the why of my reluctance to take on a certain task I’m wondering if maybe a trigger is behind it. What thought or emotion is holding me back?

So, here’s the thing. In the last year or so, because of interviews and the like, I’ve been exposed to non fiction books, mostly related to my life experience with abuse. They struck me as useful in my healing journey and I put out a significant amount of money to obtain them.

I was excited to have them, paid full price for most of them, and yet I can’t seem to make myself take the time to read them.

Were they just another bright idea that didn’t survive the light of day?

Would my reluctance to tackle the challenge stem from deep insecurities? The fear of failure?

Could the reticence be linked to anticipated emotional responses to painful subjects?

Are there unidentified triggers going on?

I’ve faced head on the physical abuse attributable to my dad. At the same time, I will admit I don’t want to think about or deal with the emotional abuse stemming from my mother or my marriage.

Is that what this is about?

I’ve heard it said we must ask ourselves this question – Do you want to be healed, really want to be healed?

When we honestly ask ourselves this question we might be surprised to find that the answer is no. The price we would have to pay to find healing could seem too high.

If I’m really honest, I think when it comes to my mother and my marriage, my heart says the price is too high.

I do really want to be healed. I’m not acting like it.

I will keep on thinking and praying about this.

In the meantime…

Some of the books in the lineup.

The one I’m considering at the moment is The Power of Writing It Down

If you made it this far, thanks for listening.

A plug for Jerry Jenkins

Just so you know who he is…

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He’s giving away FREE writing advice so I doubt he will mind me sharing parts of today’s email with you.

The reason I’m inspired to share this? It’s a message I often wish I could deliver to promising authors. Their writing would be so much better if they learned this secret.

Well, I guess it’s not much of a secret, but there are still those who have yet to discover the difference this practice can make.

His email is long so I will pick and chose, to give you the idea.

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His email is jerry@jerryjenkins.com

Jerry says…

If I could give you ONLY one writing tip…

So here it is: Avoid on-the-nose writing.

This is one of the most common mistakes I see in otherwise good writing.

(I left out his next comment – a really long and detailed example of on-the-nose writing)

Here’s how that scene should be rendered:

Paige’s phone chirped. It was her fiancé, Jim, and he told her something about one of their best friends that made her forget where she was.

“Cancer?” she whispered, barely able to speak. “I didn’t even know Alyson was sick. Did you?”

Trust me, not one reader is going to wonder how she knew the caller was Jim.

We don’t need to be told that the chirp told her she had a call (duh), that her phone is in her purse, that her purse is over her shoulder, that she has to open it to get her phone, push a button to take the call, put the phone to her ear to hear and to speak, identify herself to the caller, be informed who it is…

…you get the point.

If you’ve fallen into on-the-nose writing (and we all have), don’t beat yourself up. It shows you have the ability to mirror real life.

That’s nice. Now quit it.

Leave that to the amateurs.

Separate yourself from the competition by noticing the important stuff.

Dig deep.

Go past the surface.

Mine your emotions, your mind and heart and soul, and remember how it felt when you got news like that about a friend or loved one.

Don’t distract with minutia. Give the readers the adventure they signed up for when they chose to read your story.

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Jerry has a free workshop coming up if you are interested in hearing more from him…

P.S. Watch your inbox Thursday around noon Central for my next email. We’ll talk about what to do if you post your writing online and no one responds.

P.P.S. If you liked today’s little writing tip, you’ll love this: Join me Monday at noon or 7 p.m. Central, when I’m hosting a special FREE workshop How I Write Bestselling NovelsYou can reserve your seat by clicking here—only 3000 spots available per session!

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Sign up for his email, he’s always giving away free advice.

And… he knows how to WRITE.

Most of all, remember today’s writing tip.

as promised, Chautona Havig free and bargain books for this week

Author Chautona Havig has a FREE book-a-day happening this week in an effort to cool us off during this hot summer we are having. Each book is free for two days.

Here is yesterday and today. Both Free.

Next will be the bargain books

Hmmmm. I’ve checked them out and they are not showing up as bargains, yet.

I’ll check again tomorrow. Sometimes things don’t go through as requested. Hopefully it will be resolved.

In the meantime there is a popular collection on pre-order. There was a move on, trying to get the numbers up enough to be on a best sellers list. I’m not sure if it happened, maybe we can still help them out. I’ve done my part, ordering my copy back in December. Many of these authors are on my favorites list so I’m excited about it. Order your copy to help out too.

This was what the December version of the cover looked like.

This is the newest image, which is nice because you can gain a little inspiration by seeing the contributing authors.

Save The Date will be released on September 14, 2021

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That’s all I have for now

Happy reading y’all

Bargain books July 19, 2021 Part two

I’m not sure how it happened. Despite seeing a number of tempting books we only ended up with two. I just had to go back for another look. I found two MORE.

I’m a little unsure about one of them but not enough to cut it from the lineup.

Since we started the day with Christmas, we will continue and start this post that way as well. I know and like some of the authors in this collection and it made the selection choice easy. This book is on pre-order and will be released in October.

Christmas in Mistletoe Square: Christmas Romance Novella

Amazon quote:

Christmas is in the air in Kedgewick Creek, North Carolina, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Will romance find four couples in the month of December or will the pressure to keep the festivities Mistletoe Square is known for keep these couples apart?

Find out in this collection of four novellas from inspirational authors Pepper Basham, Cara Putman, Janine Rosche, and Teresa Tysinger.

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This next book is a complete change of subject and will be a deep dive by the looks of it. I’m excited to see what this one is about.

Things Left Unsaid 

Amazon quote:

An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.

Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.

But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.

Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.

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This next book is in a similar vein but I’m not sure if the dive is as deep.

When It’s All Said and Done

Amazon quote:

As sisters, they couldn’t be more different, but can they count on each other when it’s all said and done?

Ruth Webber’s only focus in life is saving the business her late father left behind and, since her capricious younger sister doesn’t care about family legacy, she must do it alone. When a long weekend trip presents an opportunity to advance the family interests, Ruth won’t let anything stand in her way, not even her sister’s drama or the smile of a handsome new friend.

Despite what Ruth thinks, family means a great deal to Angela, but the unexpected loss of her husband ended her dreams of having one of her own. Now, her only chance of building a new dream lies in her writing career, if she has the strength to act on it. All she needs is a weekend away to clear her thoughts.

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This one is a different flavor all together. Except, is it really? Maybe not.

Defending My Heart – Clean, Christian Football Romance: (A Texas Tornados Single Author Sports Romance Book 1)

Amazon quote:

The man who broke her heart. The second chance she’s not sure if she wants.

Emmitt Brown’s demons are even bigger than he is, and as a defensive lineman for a pro-football team, that’s something. When the team captain tasks his defensive line to go home for Christmas and get rid of their biggest past regret, Emmitt finds himself returning to the small town he grew up in to find the woman he never should have left. Too bad she hates him and tells him to go away.

Mia Carter can’t believe Emmitt Brown is back in town. She does not need this right now. Especially since he’s been the ghost who won’t leave her conscience alone for the past five years and especially since she recently lost her husband. But when the pro football player steps up and offers to help her son fight cancer, she finds herself reluctantly agreeing.

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OK. This is definitely It for today. Anything else will have to wait for tomorrow.

I will stay far far away, there will be no more looking and books.

Happy Reading!

Free and bargain books July 19, 2021 Chautona Havig

One of our regular authors had a brilliant thought in the middle of the hot spell. She was dreaming of snow, lots of it, enough to swim in. One thing led to another, in her mind, and she came up with book deals on her Christmas books.

Her name is Chautona Havig, and she has so much going on with this idea that I am going to quote the relevant parts of her email.

Here we go…

I set all my Christmas books either on sale or to go FREE this week.

No joke. Merry Christmas in July to me… and you. And honestly, I’m going to open up Liz Johnson’s Christmas at the Red Door Inn and read that one myself. A blizzard sounds pretty amazing right now.

So here’s the deal… or maybe I should say, here are the deals… 😉

Free books!

  • Monday (that’s today): 31 Kisses
  • Tuesday: The Second Noel
  • Wednesday: Carol and the Belles
  • Thursday: Advent
  • Friday: Merri’s Christmas Mission
  • Saturday: The Ghosts of New Cheltenham
  • Sunday: Silenced Knight

Each book is on sale for two days. So 31 Kisses will be free Monday and Tuesday, The Second Noel on Tuesday and Wednesday, and so forth.

This is Monday’s book

When one plus one equals thirty-one…

It happens every day.
Guy meets grandpa–and girl.
Guy knocks grandpa off ladder
Guy kisses girl to make it “all better.”
Every day.
For a month.
Just your normal, average, all-American romance…

Meet Chessie and Carson. She goes “all out” for Christmas (and every other holiday including Columbus Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Flag Day); he doesn’t own a single thing that could be considered decorative–unless you count the stickers he stuck to his dresser back when he was three.

Neither of them have ever had a serious relationship; both are opposed to frivolous expressions of affection. How on earth did they get tangled up in a “kiss-a-day-during-December” pact?

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Here are the bargain books… They won’t be on sale until Tuesday so I’ll mention them again tomorrow. Here we go again with her words …

AT THE SAME TIME…

The following books are on sale for just $0.99 starting tomorrow (#becauseKindleRules) and will be through next Thursday! SQUEE!

  • 12 Dates of Christmas
  • Christmas Party in a Box 1
  • Christmas Party in a Box 2
  • Christmas Party in a Box 3
  • Christmas Party in a box 4
  • Christmas Stalkings
  • Snow-Crossed Letters
  • Tarnished Silver
  • Sand & Mistletoe
  • The Matchmakers of Holly Circle

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May these seasonal books provide a little respite, at least the illusion of cool, on these hot days of summer.

It was predicted here as hot for today but so far it’s only in the low 20s Celsius. We have a cloud cover of smoke from nearby forest fires, maybe that’s a contributing factor to the lower temps.

Whatever it is we’ll take it.

Enjoy the deals.

Happy Reading.

This and that July 18, 2021

I’ve discovered it’s best to date these things. They all merge together otherwise. Indistinguishable.

It’s warm out there! That the biggest thing on my mind at this moment. Usually it starts to cool off a little by 7 PM but not tonight. I went out to do some watering and quickly changed my mind. Later.

The highlight of the week was last night’s family Zoom call. Most of us live thousands of miles apart. We enjoy one another but we are not good at staying in touch. In all honesty, I’d have to admit that would be a gross understatement. Since we’ve committed to a Zoom call once a month, we are doing much better at connecting and we are having a lot of fun. The next call is going to fall on my birthday, how nice is that!

So, the other thing on my mind this week was tied up with a comment I made the other day about a writing project I had in mind. I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time but even more so lately. It seemed like it was time to do something about it so this weekend I did put some hours into it and wrote something. In the end, I didn’t use any of it.

I’m surprised about the level of unexpected relief I felt.

Part of the impetus for this writing project was to have a place where I could fill the need to rant and rave once in a while. I couldn’t do it here, didn’t want to do it here, I felt like it would spoil everything.

Anyway, I created another space, wrote an introductory piece with a small rant at the end, and struggled with getting the site set up the way I wanted it. No matter what I did nothing was going right.

By the time I decided to give it all up and deleted the new blog, my rant had lost it’s steam and I felt a lightness I didn’t have earlier.

Sometimes it’s healthy to visit the dark places but sometimes it’s not. There already is an over abundance of negative self-talk going on in my head I don’t need more. It feels healthier, for the most part, to stick to the lighter side of things in my communications with the world.

Part of my reason for wanting a place to rant was to work my way through some of the life long issues that surface from time to time. Writing and talking can be very therapeutic.

The subject of my short rant was acknowledging, for the first time, that my parents were selfish, immature teenager/young adults making unhealthy decisions and choices without a worry over whose life would be negatively affected. I can’t believe that they would unthinkingly do what they did.

While it was healthy to face this truth, I could see that to camp on the negative side of my life, while creating content for a new blog on a regular basis, would be injurious to my emotional health.

I’m so glad I’ve got that all figured out.

Maybe for future needs, I can work through the issue in my mind and then reduce it to a short paragraph. That should take care of everything

There is one more truth recently discovered but I’ll save that topic for another time. It’s a very encouraging truth. I must share it with my brothers.

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Currently I’m reading book one in a three book collection.

A Family to Love by Cindy M Amos and several others

Skinny Ranch Romance – Cindy M. Amos
When a hometown parade explodes with violence targeted at obese onlookers, District Judge Ilie Walton is forced to team with former classmate Traynor Henning for a trial reduction program for the victims. None too pleased over the partnership with Tray, Ilie claims to remain blind to his Zach Efron good looks in the name of justice. As the fence lengthens and the pounds melt off volunteer participants, Tray’s devotion softens her resolve, launching a romantic partnership. When new evidence emerges on a cold case involving a death at their senior class party, Ilie insists that justice prevail, though it threatens to sever their tenuous relationship. Tired of bearing the guilt, Tray faces off with his buddy Rex about what really happened that day in his boat. When the cold case turns red hot, will Ilie stand with the hardworking rancher—or do justice and reconciliation take two separate paths?

The scales of justice possess keen discernment, yet love never needed a final verdict to overcome.

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This is the one recently finished

Dearly Loved: Second Chance Christian Romance

The lovesick daydreams of Meredith Ambrose’s teenage years for neighborhood heartthrob David Steller have faded into uncomfortable memories-until he lands in a hospital bed in her unit where she works as an R.N.

David came to the Northwest to look her up-he just didn’t plan on their reunion occurring with him on a gurney. Can he prove he’s really changed after all these years? (Christian romance)

Happy Reading!!

Free and bargain books July 17, 2021

BookBub has a bargain suggestion for us. I’ve seen this author before, she writes some interesting stories and this one looks promising.

The Rose of Winslow Street

Amazon quote:

Romance and Drama to Capture the Heart in This Emotional Tale

The last thing Libby Sawyer and her father expected upon their return from their summer home was to find strangers inhabiting a house that had been in their family for decades. Widower Michael Dobrescu brought his family from Romania to the town of Colden, Massachusetts with a singular purpose: to claim the house willed to him long ago. Since neither party has any intention of giving up their claim, a fierce legal battle ensues between the two families.

When important documents go missing from the house, Libby suspects Michael is the culprit. Determined to discover the truth behind the stolen papers, Libby investigates, only to find more layers of mystery surrounding Michael and his family. Despite their rivalry, Libby finds herself developing feelings for this man with the mysterious past.

As a decision about the house looms in the courts, Libby must weigh the risks of choosing to remain loyal to her family or give her heart to a man whose intentions and affections are less than certain.

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This first book led to another that caught my interest. I’ve read this author as well but it’s been a while. I’m excited about this story because I’m partial to lady spies.

Ring of Secrets (Culper Ring Book 1)

Amazon quote:

This exciting romantic spy novel from Roseanna M. White combines fascinating cloak-and-dagger secrets with a tale of love and intrigue during the Revolutionary War.

Winter Reeves is an aristocratic Patriot forced to hide her heart amid the Loyalists of the City of New York. She has learned to keep her ears open so she can pass information on British movements to Robbie Townsend, her childhood friend, and his spy ring. If she’s caught, if she’s hung for espionage…well, she won’t be. Robbie has taught her the tools of the trade: the wonders of invisible ink, drop locations and, most importantly, a good cover.

Bennet Lane returns to New York from his Yale professorship with one goal: to find General Washington’s spy hidden among the ranks of the elite. Searching for a wife was supposed to be nothing more than a convenient cover story for his mission, but when he meets Winter, with her too-intelligent eyes in her too-blank face, he finds a mystery that can’t be ignored.

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This next one is a FREE novella that bridges books 1 and 2 in the Culper Ring series

Fairchild’s Lady (Culper Ring) 

Amazon quote:

This bonus romantic novella is set in the intervening years between Ring of Secrets and Whispers from the Shadows by Roseanna M. White.

In 1789 General Isaac Fairchild travels across the Channel on a very special assignment. After surviving the American Revolution, he is now gathering information on life at King Louis XVI’s court. But he must also locate a countess and her grown daughter and escort them back to England before revolution explodes in France.

He knows danger is in the task set before him, but when he meets the beautiful Julienne, a new peril beckons him deeper into the intrigue of Versailles.

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This has been an excellent day for books.

In the meantime, I have a little writing on my mind. I’ll let you know if it turns into anything.

Happy Reading

Read and enjoyed July 16, 2021

It’s time to do another read and enjoyed post.

I don’t have a favorite of the week this time but all four were still good reads.

Of these first two, Rock and a Hard Place was my favorite. There was substance to the story, the characters were well developed. The story moved along well and was believable. There was more angst than I would like but aside from that it was a good experience.

The next two were also good reads but my favorite was Faith in the Mountain Valley. The secrets were revealed layer upon layer, which is the best, in my estimation. There was a great cast of characters and in the end I loved them all. Even the villains.

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I’ve just started a new book. I’m not far enough along, though, to make a judgement call on the story but since it’s by one of my favorite authors I’m expecting to love it. It is still a bargain too.

I won’t make it through this read as quickly as I did on the last four. This one is nearly 400 pages long.

I’m not complaining.

Oath of Honor (Blue Justice Book #1) 

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. With three brothers and two sisters, she’s never without someone to hang out with–or fight with. And she knows they’ll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Determined to discover exactly what happened, Izzy’s investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll–including someone from her own family. With her dead partner’s handsome homicide detective brother Ryan shadowing her every move, Izzy’s head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she’s had a secret crush on for years won’t leave her side?

With her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Lynette Eason invites readers into a captivating new series where justice is a family affair.

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Happy Reading on a happy Friday.

Mind you it’s nearly over. Maybe I should just say have a good weekend!