Saturday 28 September 2019

Book Review: Living Lies

From the Back:

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name--but no one knows your secret.
At least that's what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton's newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she'll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

My Reflections:
Natalie Walters hits the mark with her debut novel "Living Lies." Intriguing plot marred with death and deceit pair this with heart jarring topics of depression, PTSD, suicide and a mother's love and you have a best-seller! 
I found myself really put out when I had to put the book down to attend to life. 
Small town Georga is picturesque and filled with great people and home town community, however, not everything is as it seems as darkness creeps into the crevices of this well-manicured little town. 

Lane's struggle is portrayed realistically, but the autour does a fine job at balancing this reality with the handsome newcomer, Charlie Lynch. Though the romance is a little on again off again you can understand this with the mental state Lane is in. Her confidence is crushed and her controlling parents don't help matters one bit. It was a beautiful unfurling as we witness Lane realizing life may just have something to live for. 

I was drawn to Carlie Lynch right away, he reminded me of my husband: he is the epitome of protection, kindness and trust. Who wouldn't want that in a life partner? He doggedly respects Lane's space but also won't let her wither away, but holds her close, even when danger is forefront in their lives. 

All in all this book was a "YES, PLEASE!" In the fact that this authour has made it to my top 10 authors to watch for, I am eagerly awaiting book two, Natalie Walters, great work!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Natalie Walters
Natalie Walters is the author of Living Lies and Deadly Deceit. A military wife of 22 years, she currently resides in Hawaii with her soldier husband and their three kids. She writes full-time and has been published in Proverbs 31...
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Book Review: Fire Storm: Kaely Quinn Profiler bk 2

From The Back:

When FBI profiler Kaely Quinn's brother asks for help caring for their unwell mother, Kaely finds herself headed to Darkwater, Nebraska. When she arrives, she learns the small town has been facing a series of fires. While the fire chief attributes them to the misuse of space heaters in the frigid winter, Kaely identifies a pattern that makes her suspect they were no accident.

After yet another blaze devastates a local family, Kaely's suspicions turn to certainty. Together with her partner from St. Louis, Noah Hunter, and her brother's firefighter neighbour, Kaely and her team begin an investigation that swiftly leads them down a twisted path. When the truth is finally revealed, Kaely finds herself confronting a madman who is determined his last heinous act will be her death.

My Reflections:
If you read my blog, you know I have a few favourite authours, and Nancy Mehl is one of them. Her novels are usually filled with well researched, interesting plots.
 I am over the moon excited for book two in this series "Kaely Quinn Profiler" Fire Storm is such an interesting and fascinating read for me. I read book one (Mind Games) some time back and was completely creeped out and intrigues all at the same time. Kaely's technique to get into the UNSUB's mind is very unorthodox, to say the least. Even though this is book two in a series it can be read as a stand-alone, but really why would you?

Nancy Mehl's ability to get into the minds of the "bad guys" through her character Kaely is what is fascinating. I find people so interesting, their stories and what shapes them intrigue me. 
For this fact alone this book was super awesome, you get to pull the pieces apart then put them all back together again!

Kaely receives a call that her estranged mom is ill, her brother Jason wants her to come and make things right. Kaely rushes to the seemingly quiet town of Darkwater to help where she can, however, she quickly becomes embroiled in the case of an arsonist who is terrorizing the town. When things heat up Kaely asks her partner Noah Hunter to join her and help her unravel the mystery. Will they be able to solve this case, or will they find the target moved a little too close to home?

Brilliant writing, nail-biting suspense and fantastic interpersonal dynamics make this novel a 5 out of 5 for me! 
If you love more than just a simple who done it, this series is for you. I have to say I was dying a little inside when I found out book three, "Dead End" doesn't come out until next year. 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Nancy Mehl

Nancy Mehl ( is the author of more than thirty books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is...

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Book Review: Vow Of Justice

From the Back:

Playing dead might just get her killed
FBI Special Agent Lincoln St. John is living his own personal nightmare. When the woman he loves, Allison Radcliffe, is killed, he devotes himself to tracking down the killers and making them pay for their crimes. He expected it to be a challenge. What he never expected was to find Allison very much alive shortly after her "murder."

As his anger and hurt mix with relief, Linc isn't sure how he's supposed to feel. One thing he does know for sure: he and Allison will have to work together to stop a killer before she dies a second time--this time for good.

My Reflections:
Lynette Eason, you outdid yourself!
In this last novel of the "Blue Justice" Series the pages fly and the action roars, you won't be disappointed with this novel. Though this book is a series, it contains enough backstory to be read as a stand-alone, but really, why would you?

Russain Mobsters and high tech gadgets rule as special agents Allison Radcliffe and Linc St John pull out all the stops to try to solve the mystery before its too late. 
Linc St. John is heartbroken when he learns of the death of the woman he loves. Things are not always the way they seem, however. Now that he has discovered the truth they must work together and use all their training and intuition to stay alive for real.

Eason's attention to detail and her dedication to accurate meticulous nuances speak volumes thought the entirety of this novel.  If you love a mystery, on the edge of your seat action this series is a perfect fit! 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Lynette Eason

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Protecting Tanner Hollow, as well as the Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the...
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Friday 27 September 2019

Book Review: Welcome To Adulting

From the Back:

You're an adult . . . now what?
Adulting is hard. But sometimes we make it harder than it has to be. Combining entertaining stories from his own experience, insights from the Bible, and compelling evidence from research, Jonathan "JP" Pokluda lays out a roadmap for how to navigate your life as an adult, addressing topics such as:

· friendships and dating
· career and money management
· interpersonal conflict
· controlling anxiety
· recovering from addiction
· discovering your purpose on this earth

If you're struggling to find a footing in the world of adult life, this witty, non-patronizing guide is for you.
My Reflections:
Adulting... do we ever become adults? That's what I felt when I saw this title. I mean we got here somehow? We try to do the things responsible adults do, right?
I loved reading this book in snippets to my fledglings. They groaned and made all the appropriate fuss, but the was listening, and there was no way I was stopping. 
This book is something I wish I had read when I was a newly married young adult. We fumble along and eventually make it out, but wouldn't it have been nice to have a few pointers along the way?
I found myself really enjoying reading this at family dinner time, it opened up so much dialogue, so that alone was a win! I do have to say some of the experiences the authour speaks about were a little bit intense, in the way that I hope my fledglings don't fly into those particular windows, but it was healthy to see the perspective of how life can go wrong with a few bad choices. I think it's safe to say this is a great book to facilitate discussion and open up areas where you may not have previously covered. 
If you are looking for a book for your young adult that speaks to the issues of today, this may be a good resource for you or your fledgling. However I would caution you to not just give it to them and expect them to read it cover to cover because let's face it, they probably won't!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Jonathan Pokluda

Jonathan "JP" Pokluda is pastor at Harris Creek in Waco, Texas, and former leader of The Porch, where he saw the ministry grow from 150 to more than 7,000 young adults. The author of the bestselling Welcome to Adulting, Pokluda came to...
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Kevin McConaghy

Kevin McConaghy works as a copywriter for a marketing agency in Dallas, Texas. He's been involved with The Porch since the day it first launched, and served in a variety of roles there for over a decade. As an editor and contributor to The Porch blog,...
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Book Review: Deadly Intentions

From the Back:

There is no such thing as random
Research scientist Caitlyn Lindsey is convinced that someone is taking out her team one by one. First, a friend and research partner was killed in a home invasion. Three months ago, her boss died in a suspicious car accident. Four days ago, another partner supposedly committed suicide. And now Caitlyn herself has miraculously survived a hit-and-run. Afraid for her life with nowhere to turn, she reaches out to one of the victims' husbands, Detective Josh Solomon.

Though initially skeptical about Caitlyn's theory, Josh soon realizes the attack that took his wife's life was anything but random. Now the two of them must discover the truth about who is after Caitlyn's team--and what their end game is--before it's too late.

My Reflections: 
Lisa Harris is known for her intense action infused novels, and her newest title "Deadly Intentions" is by far no exception! I have read so many novels, I am usually pretty good at guessing the "who done it." This book is the exception, readers are taken on a fast-paced ride that refuses to fully stop until the very last pages. 
I loved the cadence of this novel. It was intense, yet readers are given little snippets where one can catch their breath. It's in these times where our characters dive a little deeper into interpersonal relationships and faith-building happens. 
I enjoyed both Caitlyn and Josh, their characters were true to life and kept me engaged through the entirety of this novel. Caitlyn is one smart lady, but can she use those smarts to survive? With the help of Detective Josh Solomon, they embark on a quest for truth, but will it be too little too late?
Have a free block of time before you start "Deadly Intentions," because once you open the cover you're sucked into the vortex, and it's not letting loose until page 297!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Lisa Harris

Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. The author of more than 40 books, including The Nikki Boyd...
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Thursday 19 September 2019

Book Review: The Killing Tide

From The Back:

A Corpse That Only Leads to Secrets.
An Old Flame with Danger Written all over Her.
Things Are about to Get Very Complicated.
When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer's boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.

The already volatile situation is complicated even further by the arrival of Gabby Rowley--Finn's boss's sister and an investigative reporter with unrelenting questions about the crime. Now that she's returned, the tug on Finn's heart is strong, but with the risks she's taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.

Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can't ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark?
My Reflections:
I am a huge Dani Pettrey fan, so it's no surprise that this first book in the "Coastal Guardians" series is a hit with me. Who doesn't love romantic suspense with bubbling over the top suspense, strong heroes melded together with clean faith approved storylines? 
The cast is expansive, so that was a little for me to overcome, I am however excited to see where they emerge in future editions. The tidal waves of action would not let up, so be prepared to read without distraction, otherwise, you may find yourself getting annoyed with your real life!
Gabby Rowley was a character that you loved to hate, strong-willed and in a heap of danger. She never expected that her job as an investigative reporter could turn deadly. Her brother Noah, a special agent with the Coast Guard Investigative Service jumps in to help, with his team of agents, but is it too little too late? 
Readers will become well acquainted with all the members of the CGIS team. I especially loved Finn, his dedication and strong ethics made him my favourite character! I also enjoyed how all the special agents interacted, it was a close bond, I suppose you would have to trust and like the people who have your back! 
This was a quick read, I'm glad it is a series of I might have been disappointed with having come to the last pages. One thing you can expect from this authour is that you will be immersed within the pages of any of her novels from page one to done!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Dani Pettrey

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as "a name to look for in romantic suspense," Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning...
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Book Review: Breathe Again How to Live When Life Falls Apart

From The Back:

"If you are struggling with what your life looks like right now, this book offers real help and tangible hope."--Sheila Walsh, cohost of Life Today and author of It's Okay Not to Be Okay

You can thrive, not just survive, no matter what life throws at you.
No one gets to skip the tough stuff. Niki Hardy knows. After losing both her mother and sister to cancer, she too was diagnosed. Eventually, she discovered that it was possible to find hope, peace, trust, joy, and even laughter in the midst of it all and that life doesn't have to be pain-free to be full.

With plenty of her British humour and loads of practical advice, Niki shows you how to

· replace soul-destroying myths of suffering with the hope-building truths of God
· escape the suffocating mire of survival mode by learning God's life-giving practices for thriving
· uncover more joy, peace, comfort, and connection, despite your circumstances
· laugh when all you want to do is cry, scream, or dive headfirst into a gallon of ice cream
My Reflections:
I absolutely love how God cares for his people! This book arrived at just the perfect time! Niki Hardy is my kind of authour, she speaks my language! This powerful book is filled with encouragement and practical back to the Bible basics, the very balm we often forget to apply to our lives. I loved Niki Hardy's quote, "life is not just about surviving but thriving" I'm a thriver" sounds so much better than "I'm a survivor" right?
This book had me crying from the first chapter, I'm a softy for a good story and Niki's life has some pretty deep stories. Niki's mother and sister both died from cancer, not long after she too was diagnosed with cancer. Her authenticity rings true in the entirety of this thought-provoking read.
This book is great for anyone who is experiencing tough situations, the hope and personalization Niki brings to her readers is refreshing and down to earth. I love how she points us back to the Bible and the God who is ever-present in those tough times. Life is all about free will and choices, we don't get to control what happens to us but we can control how we handle it. This reminded me of our sermon this Sunday, Jesus says to give thanks in ALL circumstances, not just when we felt thankful or happy. It's a beautiful reminder that God walks with us through everything, even when we don't feel him, he is faithful, he is the great I Am.
This hope infused book along with the writing style was the perfect fit for me and the journey I am blessed to travel. Is it easy? Heck no, but with God, by my side, we got this! This would be a fantastic book for a small study group. It's easy to read and encouraging for women of all ages and stages.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Niki Hardy
Niki Hardy is a speaker and writer whose work has appeared in Christian Today and Living by Design Ministries and on Premier RadioAfter leaving corporate life in London, she trained as a teacher at...
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Book Review: King's Shadow

From The Back:

Their Lives Couldn't Be More Different,
but Their Goal Is the Same:
Survive King Herod's Rule. 
Two women occupy a place in Herod's court. The first, Salome, is the king's only sister, a resentful woman who has been told she's from an inferior race, a people whom God will never accept or approve of.

The second woman, Zara, is a lowly handmaid who serves Salome, but where Salome spies conspiracies and treachery, Zara sees hurting people in need of understanding and compassion.

Powerful and powerless, Idumean and Jew, selfish and selfless--both women struggle to reach their goals and survive each day within Herod the Great's tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.
My Reflections:
"king's Shadow" is Angela Hunt's fourth book in her "Silent Years" series, and while it is a series I feel this book can be read as a stand-alone. 
I found this novel's basis to be very interesting as it delves into the 400-year time span between the old testament and the new testament. It also features some lesser-known characters that are not often mentioned. 

The story is told through the eyes of the main characters, which made the story that much more multidimensional. I did find myself a little lost at times through this book, there are just so many facts to keep straight! (some of the characters had very similar names)That and following King Harod into near madness was at times a tad gruesome. Hence I would not recommend this one for the 16 and under crowd.

Salome is King Harold's sister but has taken on the weighty job of protecting Herold and his reign. She has her own issues and though she is stubborn and bitter she tries to rise above them in her own ways.

Salome's handmaid Zara sees the world through different eyes, having been born into a Jewish family her viewpoint comes from knowing the laws of the Tora, her heart is soft and feels the pain of those around her. 
It was interesting to get a glimpse into the King's court through the eyes of these two characters, it really was a thought-provoking aspect of this novel for me. 

I have read several of Hunt's novels, I can't say this was my absolute favourite, however, I did enjoy exploring this time period, it was a very unexpected journey! 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Angela Hunt
The author of more than 100 published books and with more than 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic...
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Sunday 15 September 2019

Book Review: Confident Moms, Confident Daughters

From The Back:

What we say to our daughters lasts a moment. What we show our daughters lasts a lifetime.
No matter how much we try to tell our daughters that they are beautiful and lovable as they are, words are not enough. And if we're honest, we don't always set the best example. How can we build up confident girls if we struggle to be confident ourselves?

With deep compassion, Maria Furlough delves into the root causes of our insecurity, offers biblical guidance for seeing ourselves as God sees us, and shows how to model our newfound confidence to our impressionable daughters. Speaking as a daughter, a youth leader, and a mother, Furlough shares her own struggles and triumphs, as well as expert advice from a pediatrician, a nutritionist, a Christian counsellor, and more.
My Reflections: If you are a woman who has an influential role in the life of a child this book is for you. Maria Furlough makes it plain that the answer to the issue of how to be more confident lies in our relationship with God. Her assertions are backed up with biblical wisdom and professional advice from experts working in the field.

Furlough balances her subject matter well with ideas about insecurity, self-image and the ways our culture has twisted the Biblical God lense of beauty identity in Christ. This book is a great reminder that our children are watching our actions and beliefs about ourselves and how we need to work on ourselves so in turn, our children can see healthy role modelling. 

The highlight for me in this book was to work hard to portray a healthy self-image regarding myself and my daughters. 
-Don't talk to your kids like you would a friend, they don't need to know personal struggles or burdens. 
-Honest frank discussions will build relationship and help your children feel free to come to you with their big and small problems. 
-Connect with your children, listen when they share their lives with you and be involved in the things they are involved in. 

This book is a fantastic refresher for any mom who has a tween or teenaged daughters or women who work with this age group. Building relationship is critical to the development of our daughters and resources like this one are wonderful tools to help keep this goal in check. I enjoyed the refreshing manner this authour presented her ideas and will certainly be watching for more from Maria Furlough in the future.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Maria Furlough
Maria Furlough is a wife to her husband, Dave, and a mother to one amazing eleven-year-old daughter, three ridiculously fun boys, and one baby boy who lives in the arms of Jesus. She teaches women's Bible studies and works as the Missions Team Leader at Lake...
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Thursday 5 September 2019

Book Review: The Next Right Thing

From the Back:

Nothing gets our attention like an unmade decision: Should I accept the new position? Which schooling choice is best for my kids? How can I support my aging parents? When we have a decision to make and the answer isn't clear, what we want more than anything is peace, clarity, and a nudge in the right direction.

If you have trouble making decisions, because of either chronic hesitation you've always lived with or a more recent onset of decision fatigue, Emily P. Freeman offers a fresh way of practicing familiar but often forgotten advice: simply do the next right thing. With this simple, soulful practice, it is possible to clear the decision-making chaos, quiet the fear of choosing wrong, and find the courage to finally decide without regret or second-guessing.

Whether you're in the midst of a major life transition or are weary of the low-grade anxiety that daily life can bring, Emily helps create space for your soul to breathe so you can live life with God at a gentle pace and discern your next right thing in love.
My Reflections:
Are you a chronic procrastinator, hate to make decisions whether its what to make for dinner or big changes in your personal life? I think at some level we all struggle to disentangle the fear, uncertainty and anxiety of making choices. 
In Freeman's book, she helps the reader untangle these choices without the typical pro/con lists, checklists or days of indecisiveness. Instead, Freeman encourages her readers to soulfully think through your next right thing. Ditch decision fatigue, and lean into trusting your own heart in the presence of God.
My eyes were opened to a different way to process, a newness in catching my own voice against God's small still one. If you like me want to improve little by little this may be just the book to help you catapult your decision-making strategies to a new level. 
What started as a podcast has turned into a book, if you would like to learn more search "The Next Right Thing" and you will find many encouraging podcasts to listen to, however, I love having this book to reference again and again!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Emily P. Freeman

Emily P. Freeman is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Simply Tuesday and A Million Little Ways. As host of The Next Right Thing podcast, she helps create space for the soul to breathe, offering fresh perspective on...
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Book Review: Until The Mountains Fall

From The Back:

"Old Testament-era life is enlivened by the timeless sizzle of desire as Cossette takes a fresh approach to biblical fiction with her deeply impassioned characters and electrifying ardor."--Booklist on Shelter of the Most High

Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband's brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protection of her father, Kedesh's head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but he never imagined his older brother's death would mean wedding her. After her disappearance, he throws himself into the ongoing fight against the Canaanites instead of dwelling on all he has lost. But with war looming over Israel, Rivkah's father comes to Malakhi with an impossible request.

As the enemies that Rivkah and Malakhi face from within and without Israel grow more threatening each day, is it too late for the restoration their wounded souls seek?
My Reflections: 
In Connilyn Cossetts Third book in the series "Cities Of Refuge," we delve headlong into a tale of regret and the paths they take. This is the classic "Prodigal Son" type tale, but with a twist. I absolutely adore Cossette's ability to take well-loved stories from the Bible and craft a little imagination making a well-rounded tale of how characters and people may have acted. It's important to note that these are fictional stories loosely based on the Bible. I love how these stories always encourage me to go back and re-read my Bible stories! It sure brought the ancient cities of refuge to light in the time of 1380 BC. This whole series has been such a treat to read!
Rivkah is grieving her late husband's death, having only been married a short time and at only 18 She is still quite immature, selfish, spoiled and headstrong. According to the laws of levirate marriage, she must marry the younger brother of her late husband. Once a child is born of this union they would be considered the heir of the late husband. Rivkah wants nothing to do with her betrothed, all she can see is a "boy" he is two years younger than she is and her childhood tormenter. Rivkah tries her best to show her disdain for Malakhi, going so far to outright telling him she does not want to marry him. 
Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah since they were small, but like most boys at that age didn't know how to express his true feelings. Now that he is older and his brother has passed on he wants to prove to her that he can be the man she deserves. However, before he can show her how he truly feels about her she flees, leaving him and their agreement a broken promise. 
I truly had a hard time liking Rivkah's character at the beginning of this book, but as the story progresses we see the devastating outcome of her choices and the five long years of self-loathing, and a spiralling set of choices that lead her ultimately into slavery. By the end, I was completely smitten with all these characters, along with supporting characters, oh how I hope there will be more books delving into some of these stories! 
A very satisfying read perfect, for people who love biblically based fiction. 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Connilyn Cossette
When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), bestselling author Connilyn Cossette is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure, out-of-print history books. There is...
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