Free book January 17, 2021

BookRunes has a FREE suggestion for us. I’ve downloaded a number of this author’s books and look forward to another one.

A Western Bond : Sacred Bond Guardians Book Five

Amazon quote:

Back in Miracle, Montana after escaping her stalker boss on the east coast, Serena Harrington is in desperate need of a job to support her and her adopted son. As luck would have it, Mark Stern, her teenage crush, is hiring.

As the new interim president of Agape College, Mark is on the hunt for a secretary. With the tarnished reputation of his womanizing predecessor, Mark needs someone who will make the right impression. And he needs to keep his past locked away.

Serena and Mark working together is a perfect situation, until they uncover a link between them that might be the perfect storm to destroy Mark’s career. Will the secret they share bond them together, or tear them apart?

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I’m between books again. I say this often. I think the reason usually is me not wanting to interrupt reading to share a post. Hence the between books situation. I would tell you what’s next but I’m not sure yet. Podcasts and jig-saw puzzles have more allure these days.

I did attempt, rather unsuccessfully, to browse for more books so our poor one wouldn’t be lonely.

Tomorrow could be better. Sometimes Monday is a profitable day with suggestions from multiple sources. Hopefully that will be the case tomorrow.

In the meantime, this new download can fight it out with the newly started jig-saw for my attention.

I wish I could read and do a jig-saw at the same time. So far, it’s not working out real well. May have to resort to audio books one day.

Happy Reading

What to say…

I’m at a loss for words. After missing several days in my daily blog I need to find something to say. I’m feeling emotionally wrung out, maybe that’s why my mind is empty. I’ll just have to start and see what happens. It will surprise me as much as it will you, guaranteed. It’s funny how one thing leads to another and rabbit holes appear out of nowhere…

Today was the day for our monthly writers group Zoom call. Since I’m part of the executive there is always a feeling of self inflicted pressure to be a good participant not just a passive observer. As an introvert, fly-on-the-wall is where I would rather be. I was trying to be rested and relaxed ready for the camera but it wasn’t working out all that well for me. I started out stressed, like it or not.

Going into the week, I didn’t have an active part in the meeting. That all changed when the agenda came out and I found I was down for a book review. In the end we had more than enough readers (to share stories that would be critiqued) and there was no time for the my contribution. It didn’t get used but it was good writing practice, working on the review was not a total waste.

It’s funny how things happen sometimes. I had been thinking several days ago about my style of writing and the type of critique I would like to have. The thing is, I’m often not sure if what I have to say makes sense. Feedback would be helpful. I think I assume people know certain things already and tend to write in note form with little detail. My first clue I do this is when, days later, I read what I’ve written. Sometimes I have no idea what exactly I was getting at. So, going back to the most recent review I’d posted I found myself with a chance to work on making sense.

The review definitely needed to be reworked and expanded. It was a good exercise in figuring out how much extra detail needed to be included. I’ll try to do better the next time I write something like a review or thoughts (like now maybe.)

So, getting back to today’s Zoom meeting. It did the heart good to see everyone again even though we couldn’t be in the same room together. Five members read their stories, each one personal and unique.

They were all good but the one I appreciated most tore us all apart. It was a very raw and real sharing of a lengthy journey with parkinsons. What she has been through, and will continue to go through, is heartbreaking. Yet she has such a positive outlook on life. We could see it cost her dearly to be honest with us. We felt honored to be trusted enough for the privilege of hearing her story.

Today was a day we will not soon forget.

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I’m going to pick up a fast food hamburger and then the mail (it’s been several weeks and I need to get out.) When I come back I’ll see if this still makes sense to me.

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Well, I’ve made changes. I’m not sure it’s enough but time’s getting away on me. At least I’ve finished supper, washed the pile of dishes waiting for me and played a few games on the computer while I was thinking.

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Tomorrow is story prompt day. The word is Resolution. Guess I’m not done thinking for the night quite yet.

One free book and a review January 14, 2021

BookBub has a FREE suggestion for us.

Forever After (Hanover Falls Series Book 2)

Amazon quote:

A fire killed his best friend and his lifelong dream of
BEING a firefighter. The same fire killed her husband AND
HER hopes for a family. Can new dreams replace old?

Lucas Vermontez was a proud firefighter like his father. Now, not only has he lost his father and his best friend, Zach, in the fire at the Grove Street homeless shelter, but the devoted rookie can no longer do the work he loves after being crippled in the tragic event. When friendship with his buddy’s beautiful widow turns into more, he wonders what he could possibly offer Jenna? Jenna Morgan is trying to grieve her husband’s death like a proper widow, but the truth is, she never really loved Zach. His death feels more like a relief to her. But that relief is short-lived when she loses her home and the financial support of her in-laws. Now the secrets of her past threaten to destroy her future.

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Yesterday we had an interesting looking download but I wasn’t sure what to think about it. The author was new to me, the first chapter or two looked good but it was difficult to tell.

Amber Waves of Grace 

Amazon’s synopsis:

After her father’s accident, Corrie Lancaster moves back to the family farm just in time to help with the harvest. With a bumper crop of wheat waiting, the farm’s only hired hand quits, leaving Corrie with no choice but to accept the help of her old boyfriend’s older brother, Aaron Tuttle. It seems like the perfect plan until Corrie realizes ex-flame Luke isn’t over her. But even with Luke’s apologies and attempts to rekindle their romance, Corrie can’t forget his past betrayal.

Between harvesting, keeping tabs on her younger siblings, and watching her parents’ marriage crumble, Corrie leans on Aaron for emotional support. Wading through jealousy was never on Corrie’s to-do list, but as she navigates the choppy waters, she finds herself falling for Aaron’s good looks and charming wit.

Just when Corrie thinks she has everything under control, a stranger seeking shelter comes to the farm, and an old nemesis returns for revenge. As destructive forces align against her, Corrie must decide which man’s love will bring her back to life and restore her faith in herself, her family, and her purpose.

I wasn’t sure abut it at first but it turned out to be a good choice.

It was well written with good character development. It was engaging in a can’t-put-it-down kind of way. Of my recently read books this is my favorite. My only complaint was the number of crisis points. When Author Jerry Jenkins teaches on the elements of an engaging story he lists the necessity of crisis. He tells you how many and the degree of severity needed (it needs to vary for interest sake.) Jessica Berg did a good job with this element of the story but there could have been one or two less, to be perfect. When the reader thinks not-another-one, you know there are too many.

Other than that I loved the book and was itching to tell you about it, even before I reached the end. I did finish first though, in case you’re wondering.

It’s still a bargain price if you are interested.

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Two favorite things in one day, a podcast and a book, this was a very good day.

A favorite episode from a favorite podcaster

I just have to share this podcast episode. I love it, it makes so much sense.

Patrick Lencioni on How to Discover Your Working Genius

There are two reasons:

Carey Nieuwhof has a gift for asking insightful questions and then listening intently with great follow-up questions. It seems every interview ends with him saying this has been so good. And it has been, every time.

Today’s topic is about giftings in relation to work life. This is one of my favorite topics in the world and it has been for decades. Not just for work but life in general. The more I understand about myself and others the better life goes for me. Today focuses on work life and it makes so much sense.

If you want to know more, Patrick Lencioni has a website with testing material available and he is even offering a discounted price on orders resulting from this podcast. I’ll let him give you the details at the end of the podcast.

So here it is: I hope you find it as helpful and I did.

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Bargain book January 13, 2021

BookBub has a bargain suggestion for us. It’s an author I’ve never read and while it’s listed as clean the first few pages seem a little edgy, I’m not sure what to expect. It’s well written, so far anyway, so I’d like to give it a chance.

Amber Waves of Grace

Amazon quote:

After her father’s accident, Corrie Lancaster moves back to the family farm just in time to help with the harvest. With a bumper crop of wheat waiting, the farm’s only hired hand quits, leaving Corrie with no choice but to accept the help of her old boyfriend’s older brother, Aaron Tuttle. It seems like the perfect plan until Corrie realizes ex-flame Luke isn’t over her. But even with Luke’s apologies and attempts to rekindle their romance, Corrie can’t forget his past betrayal.

Between harvesting, keeping tabs on her younger siblings, and watching her parents’ marriage crumble, Corrie leans on Aaron for emotional support. Wading through jealousy was never on Corrie’s to-do list, but as she navigates the choppy waters, she finds herself falling for Aaron’s good looks and charming wit.

Just when Corrie thinks she has everything under control, a stranger seeking shelter comes to the farm, and an old nemesis returns for revenge. As destructive forces align against her, Corrie must decide which man’s love will bring her back to life and restore her faith in herself, her family, and her purpose.

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One book is all we have for today. My sources haven’t come through for us and browsing isn’t working well. It’s behaving strangely today, not sure what that’s all about. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

My current read is a mystery box set. I’m having trouble engaging with it so when I get to the end of the current book I’ll switch over to today’s download. Normally I like this author so I’m not sure what’s going on with this series. It’s bogged down in details that are confusing and don’t seem to matter in advancing the story. I’m disappointed but I guess it’s not possible to have a winner every time.

Maybe the breakdown comes because the main focus is on addressing societal issues rather than the story itself.

Kennedy Stern Christian Suspense Box Set (Books 1-3) (Christian Suspense 3-Book Box Set 1)

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Well, with or without books it’s still a good day.

It’s true, all is not right in our world these days. Aside from all the regular stuff there is the virus and political upheaval. A encouraging thought crossed my mind this morning. Pressure brings out strength in us. We will never be a hero until we face desperate situations. In this pressure time we are discovering our strengths. It’s pretty cool to discover we are capable of much more than we ever thought possible.

On that encouraging note.

Happy reading.

Read and enjoyed January 12, 2021

This first one was my favorite read this week. It was insightful, well written, with interesting well developed characters and a great story line. It was new and fresh, I’ve not read another story similar too it.

Everything Behind Us: A Murphy Brothers Story (Book 3)

Connor Murphy lives by a code of honor and service. Dignified, duty-bound, and responsible, he’s spent the past eight years as a single enlisted airman, determined never to mess up another person’s life the way he did Sadie’s. As long as he follows orders, does his job well, and avoids romantic entanglements, he’ll do just fine. Of course, that last part was easier before Sadie rolled back into town.

Sadie Allen never intended to return to Sugar Pine—her hometown hosts too much regret—but she can’t face her health crisis alone. Not with a four-year-old depending on her. Even so, Connor Murphy’s proposal of a marriage of convenience wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. She can’t fault his reasoning—her prognosis is grim and her son could use a father—but her heart aches at the thought of a marriage without romance. Especially to the one man she’s never gotten over.

The day-to-day challenges of Sadie’s illness are enough to strain the strongest relationships, let alone one hastily conceived in the shadow of past mistakes. Will the pressure be too much for their marriage to withstand, or will they allow God to forge something beautiful through their pain?

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The next two were favorites as well

A Christmas Peril (The Teacup Novellas Book 5) and Because of You (Christmas Heirloom Novella Collection)

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A few more read and enjoyed

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There has not been much action from the usual sources for suggestions so I have nothing new to offer at the moment.

I’m between books again and I’ve read everything I was excited about. Maybe I should go back to a partially read collection. In this one collection it looks like I switched to another read while in the middle of a book instead of at the end of one. I don’t usually do that and I probably shouldn’t have this time. I have no idea what the book is about and it took awhile to figure it out. Now that I have, sort of, I’d better stick with it and finish.

It’s not that the collection isn’t good. Five suspense books in a row is just such a daunting task.

The Rock Harbor Mystery Collection: Without a Trace, Beyond a Doubt, Into the Deep, Cry in the Night, and Silent Night (Rock Harbor Series)

Without a Trace

Bree thinks a plane crash took the lives of her husband and young son, but her son Davy survived the accident. Can she find him before it’s too late?

Beyond a Doubt

Evidence of a violent crime in Bree’s basement causes police to re-open a cold case. Can she and her K-9 search dog, Samson, stop the killer before he strikes again?

Into the Deep

When Bree’s dog Samson goes missing, it’s just the beginning of her life turning upside down.

Cry in the Night

Bree and Samson discover a crying infant in the snowy Rock Harbor forest. But where are the baby’s parents? And how did she get there?

Silent Night

As Christmas day nears, Bree and her faithful search-and-rescue dog Samson follow the trail of a troubling mystery into the snowy forests of Rock Harbor.

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Happy Reading

Free and bargain books January 11, 2021

1531 Entertainment has an interesting bargain suggestion for us. It’s a 3 book box set, books 1-3 and as I researched I found that the 3 book box set for volumes 4-6 is also available as a bargain. Recently we had books 6 and 7 as suggestions and I found them to be enjoyable reads.

Hope Springs Books 1-3: (Hope Springs Box Sets Book 1)

Amazon quote:

Not Until Forever: Sophie knows she did the right thing when she declined Spencer’s proposal five years ago. So why does seeing him again stir up old feelings? Spencer promised himself he wouldn’t fall for Sophie again. But there’s something different about her now. Something that makes him think maybe God is giving them a second chance…

Not Until This Moment: Peyton thought Jared was “the one”—until he told her he never intended to get married. Jared wishes he could give Peyton everything she desires. But marriage is the one thing he can never offer her. When they’re thrown together again on an annual ski trip, both have to reexamine what they want. Because it’s just possible God has other plans for them…

Not Until You: Three years after her husband’s death, Violet is sure her chance at happily ever after is over. Until Nate moves in next door and stirs feelings she thought had died with her husband. But when Nate reveals a devastating secret, they have to decide: should they walk away, or trust that the God of second chances has a plan for their future?

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Hope Springs Books 4-6: (Hope Springs Box Sets Book 2)

Amazon quote:

Not Until Us: Everyone knows former bad girl Jade and local pastor Dan don’t belong together. Jade knows. That’s why she left eight years ago. Dan knows. That’s why he tries to protect his heart by avoiding her now that she’s back. But when what they know and what they feel are two different things, can they trust God to give them a second chance?

Not Until Christmas Morning: Leah is a fixer. It’s why she’s fostering a troubled teen. And why she wants to help her wounded warrior neighbor, Austin. But what if Austin is too broken for her to fix? Can they turn to God for healing and hope—and maybe a chance at love—this Christmas?

Not Until This Day: Isabel has three simple rules: Keep moving. No friends. No men. It’s the only way to keep herself and her daughter safe. But when she moves to Hope Springs, she suddenly wants to break all the rules. Especially when it comes to sweet single dad Tyler… Can she let go of her fears and trust God to give them a future?

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LPCBooks has a FREE suggestion for us

The Names of the Stars

Amazon quote:

A gifted child singer discovers the ultimate power of dreams. . .and fears. 

Annalise Rycroft has spent her whole life afraid she’ll be lost to obscurity. She wants nothing more than to be viewed as someone important.

Anna grew up traveling with her family on the Vaudeville circuit with dreams of becoming a shining star. She has talent. Unfortunately, as a young girl, she also has fears that she will have to overcome if she is going to be successful. 

With a powerful voice able to mesmerize audiences, Anna is paralyzed by stage fright. But that’s not her only fear. Her deepest fear is that she’ll be lost to obscurity, becoming part of the “surplus population” spoken of by Ebenezer Scrooge in her favorite book A Christmas Carol. During the 1918 flu epidemic, Anna has a strange experience where characters from her favorite book unlock a hidden part of her past—a past that involves an absent father and missing younger brother. Dismissed as a fever dream, Anna pushes aside not only the dream but her fears as she pursues the stage.

Years pass, and eventually Anna finds the career success she desired. Yet even as an adult, she is driven by unfilled longings. She wants to marry her leading man Frederick Mansfield—only Frederick has fears and failings of his own. Leaving the drunk lush and philanderer behind, Anna pushes toward even greater stardom only to discover that the fever dream was based on reality, when her dad Charles surprises her with a visit. As she spends more time with her father, she learns she must choose between her fear of being seen as part of the “surplus population” or to courageously believe and act in a way that shows everyone has significance.

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BookRunes also has a FREE suggestion today.

Corner Booth (The Rockland Chronicles) 

Amazon qute:

A rushed lunch and a bold move “introduces” Carlie to a stranger–one who hardly acknowledges her existence as he sits across from her, sharing his booth to save her a wait in a long line.

What began as a random encounter becomes a weekly date in which Carlie chatters about her life to a silent lunchmate. Much about him interests her–his slightly Euro fashion sense, his commitment to the work he does as he eats his lunch week after week, and his evident attention to the running monologue she shares between bites of meals that he inevitably pays for.

Dean gets to know the woman across from him–looks forward to their lunches each week, learns valuable lessons about himself–but when the cafe is threatened, and then when she doesn’t show up one day, he suspects their unusual “friendship” means more to him than he imagined.

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Happy Reading…

…on this cloudy Monday morning.

Story Prompt – Houseplants

Houseplants

Many of my best memories are attached to houseplants. I can’t say that I am a plant lover but I loved the ones I had because of where they came from.

Growing up we had outside plants. Flower beds and vegetable gardens. We probably would have had houseplants if there was a place to put them. I was ok with no houseplants. We had cats and dogs, that was enough.

Living on my own with my first job, I didn’t have plants or animals. I was ok with it.

Things changed with the addition of a father-in-law.

Most of Dad’s life his family was in the nursery business, he loved plants. The climate was mild where they lived and they were able to grow things in their greenhouses year round. Eventually they became florists as well. They had the flowers so why not. By the time I met him he had scaled back on greenhouses and was buying plants for the flower shop from other growers.

He had this idea that everyone needed plants and he took pleasure in providing them. Whenever he came our way on a buying trip, well, we became the proud owners of new plants. There was no question in his mind that we needed and wanted them, which was pretty funny really, and very sweet.

He would even bring cut flowers occasionally, freesias were my favorite.

We moved many times over the course of the years and the plants always went with us. That is, if they were still alive and able to be moved. Our Fiscus fig tree eventually became too big and needed a new home. We had mixed emotions because Dad had given us the tree as a small plant and it had a lot of miles on it.

Looking at the plants spread through the house was always a reminder of the giver and the time and place. I think that was my favorite part about having plants. The memories.

Over the years, other people would bless us with cuttings from plants we admired. It was nice to have reminders. It seemed we were forever leaving friends behind with our many moves.

Eventually life happened and the plants all went by the wayside, for one reason or another. And then there were none, I was ok with it for a lot of years.

As happens sometimes, all good things must come to an end.

My neighbor had two large plants needing to be farmed out while she had long term house guests. Long term seems to have turned into forever. (I have tried to give them back, numerous times, I can’t argue with the fact I have more room than she does.)

A couple of summers ago I was on a long road trip where I visited with family friends. They have a menagerie of African violets and Spider plants and decided I needed to have some too. I wasn’t sure they would survive the long trip home but they did.

Since then I’ve gained several more plants from local family members.

Things have come full circle and once again I have a house full of reminders of folks who love to give me houseplants.

I love the reminders.

Story prompt was courtesy of Sunday Scribbling hosted by Peckapaloosa: The Confusing Middle

Free and bargain books January 09, 2021

BookBub has a bargain suggestion and I’m happy to see it. There was a stage in my reading life when I read everything I could find by this author, Anne Perry. I’m not sure if I managed to uncover everything she wrote but I don’t think I missed much, if anything.

If I had to pick one thing I loved most about her books it would be that every word mattered. On top of that, I loved her characters and the situations they found themselves in.

Life goes on and things change. I’m not the same person I was upwards of twenty years ago, maybe her stories will strike me differently than they did back then. Writing styles have changed significantly. Somehow, though, I think her writing is timeless. I’ll have to re-read this book (I’m sure I’ve read it) to see if I still feel the same way.

Despite how her books may or may not strike me at this present time (memories become bigger-than-life in time.) looking through the internet, her books are still out there and very popular.

If you’ve not read Anne Perry, you really should.

Cardington Crescent (Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Series Book 8)

Amazon quote:

Charlotte Pitt defends her own sister against a murder charge in Victorian England, in a novel “suffused with atmosphere, emotion, and suspense” (Booklist).
 As Inspector Thomas Pitt works to resolve the case of a dismembered woman, his womanizing brother-in-law, George March, Lord Ashworth, is poisoned with his morning coffee at the country estate of his cousins. The primary suspect? Charlotte’s sister, Emily, the murdered man’s wife and Pitt’s sister-in-law. Charlotte and Pitt take on the March clan with the help of Great-aunt Vespasia, their formidable relative and a member of the clan, to break through the wall of deceit and silence. When Sybilla March, George’s suspected paramour, is found strangled by her hair and Emily is the one who found her, the case would seem hopeless—for anyone but the indomitable Pitts. Their pursuit of the truth takes them down a path of corruption, depravity, and murder, from the elegant townhouses lining fashionable Cardington Crescent to the horrifying slums of London.

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BookRunes has a FREE suggestion I know I’ve read. From another favorite author.

Strike the Match (The Teacup Novellas Book 2)

Amazon quote:

The last place twenty-four year old Keri McMillan wants to be is back home in Waterford Bay, Oregon. But after two years at prestigious New York University pursuing a degree in journalism, her bank account is drained. Keri is determined to move home for one year – and one year only— to make some serious money working for her dad’s log cabin company, but her goals all go up in smoke when the company’s new showcase home burns to the ground.

Six months ago, Grant Dawson bought the Waterford Weekly, a small newspaper in his father’s hometown. Burned out as a reporter for the L.A. Times and tired of all the inherent politics, he welcomed the slower pace of this Oregon coastal town and the more relaxed lifestyle producing a weekly paper. He enjoys being close to his dad again, a quiet man who captains a whale-sightseeing boat.

Grant is surprised at his unexpected interest in Keri, the niece of columnist Luby Sanders. He thinks Luby is a hoot and can’t help but adore her. But she’s also playing matchmaker, trying to interest him in her niece. When Keri shows up at a log cabin fire in the middle of the night, she’s not the geeky college kid he expected. But he’s not about to fall victim to Luby’s orchestrations.

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In fact all of the Teacup Novellas (books 1-5) are at a bargain price right now. I have the first four and I need the fifth as well.

A Christmas Peril (The Teacup Novellas Book 5)

Amazon quote:

Lucy Alexander’sTeacup Novellas were inspired by a collection of vintage teacups her Aunt Lucille bequeathed to her. She’s excited about writing the next book in the series, a Christmas tale loosely based on her aunt and uncle’s love story set in the 1940s. But when a hostage situation lands Lucy’s boyfriend in the hospital, she sets her work aside to keep a bedside vigil with Mark. As the long hours of waiting stretch on, Lucy starts to read her beloved aunt’s handwritten diary. Shocked to discover a frightening story so eerily similar to the one she’s living, Lucy longs to find hope and encouragement in the pages of Lucille’s diary.

December 1944 – “The most wonderful things seem to happen when you least expect them,” writes Lucille Alexander after a serendipitous meeting with Gary Reynolds, a handsome lieutenant home on leave from the war in Europe. The two are inseparable in the five precious days he has left before heading back overseas just weeks before Christmas. On their last morning together, Lucille accompanies Gary to the train station, already dreading the long separation ahead. But that would be the least of her worries after her brave lieutenant rushes to help an elderly woman in distress.

Lucy finds a strange solace in her namesake’s ink-stained journal. Though seventy years have passed between them, would their stories have the same ending?

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Browsing (I can never resist browsing) there is an interesting but unfamiliar author. After reading three chapters I’m going to take a chance. This will be my next read.

In fact, I think I will abandon and switch out my current read.

Keegan: A Clean and Wholesome Christmas Romance (Texas Rascal Book 1)

Amazon quote:

Iced in at Christmas

When a mysterious stranger shows up on Wren Matthew’s doorstep, sick and delirious—the timid high school teacher can’t leave him out in an ice storm. Not at Christmas. Even though she’s sworn off men, empathetic Wren has little choice but to let him. And never mind that electric chemistry surging between them.

Former cop Keegan Winslow has a dark secret and the last thing he wants to do is draw sweet Wren into his sordid world. But she’s given him a warm place to land in the raging storm and a kindness no one has shown him in a very long time.

But Keegan knows nothing can come of the love he’s found on her dairy farm in this small Texas town, because staying here will put her very life in danger.

KEEGAN is the first book in Lori Willde’s contemporary western romance series, Texas Rascals. If you like emotional, heart-tugging, wholesome holiday romance novels, you will love KEEGAN, from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde.

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Not a bad day for books. Not a bad day at all.

Happy Reading y’all