Thursday, February 25, 2021

Of Sword and Shadow by A.L. Sowards #blogtour #giveaway #historicalfiction #excerpt


Of Sword and ShadowOf Sword and Shadow by A.L. Sowards
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book  Description:  Greece, 1379

She is known by many names, none of them her own. In truth, she is an unnamed slave, nothing more than a weapon in the hands of her owner in his attempts to provoke political mayhem. When she encounters a handsome young man while on an assignment, she thinks little of him—until he attempts to take what she has stolen. But in her line of work, failure is not an option.

Gillen is intrigued by the mysterious woman who thwarts his mission. But when his path crosses hers again, his intrigue turns to gratitude as the thief he comes to call Eudocia saves his life. The two form a bond of friendship and join forces to wrest control from a group of ruthless rulers. But as their camaraderie blossoms into something more, Gillen and Eudocia must fight for love even as they wage war for a better future.

My thoughts:  A.L. Sowards is a talented author. She has shown that she can write historical fiction at any time period. I ALWAYS look forward to her books.

This story takes place during the medieval time period. War is brewing in Athens. A slave who is a talented thief is called upon to help with a revolt against the Catalan rulers. I love stories that take unlikely hero/heroine's and place them in a position to make a difference.

Her owner calls her Little Mouse, she doesn't have a name of her own, or it has been lost somewhere in time. She has a strong conscience, even though she is forced to steal for her master. She is at a crossroads in her life and she is helped along by the Basque known as Gillen.

This book is full of suspense, political intrigue, sword fights, and a bit of romance. I loved it!

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Read An Excerpt:


Thebes, Greece, Spring 1379
I don’t remember the name my mother gave me. Nor can I recall each of the hundreds of names I’ve used since. But the morning I was to steal five sheets of paper from Don Paco de Folgueres, I would be Anna, if anyone asked.
Anna was a safe sort of name, giving few clues about a person’s birth or loyalties. Anna could be Greek, like most of the population. Or Anna could be a descendant of the Franks, who created the Duchy of Athens after they sacked Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. Anna could also be a Catalan, whose ancestors had worked for, then turned on the last Frankish Duke, Walter de Brienne. They’d defeated him in battle and ruled Thebes and the Duchy of Athens ever since.
Thomas and everyone else I knew called me Girl or Little Mouse. Names weren’t as important as abilities for people in our line of work, where failure could mean starvation, a flogging, mutilation, or exile but where a commissioned burglary might offer a chance to break from the gutters completely.
The Greek scribe who worked for Don Paco de Folgueres had a desk in a small stone room bordering the property’s central courtyard. Light from the room’s sole window illuminated the wooden writing surface and a second table with four books, a supply of paper, parchment, and papyrus, reed pens, and ink. I found the documents I wanted among his scattered papers and slipped them between my dalmatica and tunica. I didn’t always wear both layers— clothes were expensive—but Thomas had taught me to dress the part most likely to lead to success, so I was respectable today. At least on the outside.
The scribe was absent, and that made my task easy. But a complication in
the form of a tall, brawny man appeared the moment I left the room. He was clean-shaven, and the hair reaching to the collar of his pourpoint was a few shades lighter than my raven locks. He had a straight nose and long ears, one of which was pierced with a gold earring. He gave me a friendly smile.
“Have you seen the scribe?” His words were Catalan but pronounced differently than what I was used to hearing from the class who ruled Thebes. I pretended not to understand. Perhaps if he thought I was Greek, he wouldn’t press me. I gave a small gesture of incomprehension with my shoulders.
He repeated his question, in Greek. That meant I would have to reply. “No. He seems to be out at the moment.”
The man surveyed the scribe’s room, and I surveyed him, noting his pleasant face and hazel eyes. He looked closer to twenty than to thirty years of age. The fitted hosa western men wore were meant to show off their masculine legs, and his legs were certainly worthy of admiration. My favorite Anna, daughter of the Emperor Alexios Komnenos, would have noticed him, much as she had noticed and commented on the pleasant forms of the Frankish crusaders who had passed through Constantinople on their way to take Jerusalem during the First Crusade. She’d also dismissed the handsome knights as ignorant barbarians, and I thought it best to follow her example.
Now that I had the documents I’d come for, I was eager to get away from the tall man with the earring and from Don Paco’s home. “I hope you find him soon.” And I did. If the scribe was busy with the earring man, he was less likely to notice his missing documents.
“Thank you.” The man gave me a nod and entered the scribe’s room.
I left, forcing myself to walk at a normal pace across the sunny, paved court- yard, past the fountain and the marble statue that dated back to times before the Frankish invasion.
The scribe stood near the gates, speaking with someone I took to be a Moor. A line ran across the Moor’s face, from his left temple to his lips, a pale-pink scar against skin of rich brown. His inquisitive eyes glanced at me as I passed.
A polite person would have gone back to the scribe’s office to tell the man who was seeking him where he could be found. But I was polite only when politeness suited my task.
“You there, what’s your business?” One of Don Paco’s men stepped in front of me. He was clothed in mail armor and carried an arming sword and a crossbow.
I’d spoken in Greek when I’d met the man with the earring, and my clothing was more Greek than western, so I kept my identity as Anna the Greek, for the
moment. “I was visiting one of the weavers, a friend. We grew up on the same street, you see. She wanted my opinion on whether the cloth she is making has a strong enough warp thread or if she should order something with more twists.” I continued in rapid Greek, uncertain if he understood my language while I compared the thickness of the supposed warp thread to the thinness of the made-up weft thread. As I spoke, I gave silent gratitude to Zoe, the silk maker who had always welcomed me into her workshop. I could talk about silk long enough to bore all but the most dedicated of weavers. The Catalan man-at-arms waved me on quickly. It seemed the silk trade was not his passion. I relaxed as I walked along the streets of the Cadmea, Thebes’s fortified citadel. Don Paco’s property faded from view, then disappeared completely when I turned left after the bakery that sold the best durum wheat bread in the city. It also sold a more affordable loaf of summer wheat, barley, rye, and millet, and I was more familiar with the latter. I turned right after a wine merchant’s shop that specialized in muscat and malmsey. Then I ducked into a narrow side street. I took off my hair veil, and I didn’t want to put it on again. The early spring sun shone pleasantly, and I was neither respectable nor Christian, but bareheaded women stood out, and I didn’t want that. I turned the veil over so my head was covered in blue instead of yellow and walked farther into the alley. A tall man stepped out in front of me, blocking my path. The same man who had been looking for the scribe, but this time, there was no smile on his face. It seemed changing the color of my hair veil hadn’t prevented him from recognizing me. “I believe you took something from the scribe’s office. I need it.”
I tried my best to display confusion. “I took nothing from the scribe.”
“You’re the only one who was near that room from the time Rasheed distracted the scribe.” His eyes shifted to a spot behind me. I followed his glance. The Moor stood between me and the main street. So they were working together. And I’d benefited from their plan.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I tried to walk past the man with the earring, but he took my arm and held me. He didn’t squeeze, but I had a feeling it would be difficult to break his grip. A threatening longsword hung at his side. Another complication.
“I think you do. There was a letter on that table, delivered this morning, threatening Don Paco de Folgueres because he supported Maria of Sicily instead of Pedro of Aragon when King Frederick died.”
His intelligence was good. Better than mine. The letter was Catalan, and I didn’t read Catalan. I’d just memorized the name of the sender so I could verify I had the right document. The discord King Frederick’s death created had
spilled into the Duchy—some local nobles had supported Maria because she was King Frederick’s daughter and his declared heir. Others had followed Pedro because he was a man. But the succession crisis was nearly two years in the past. Pedro had won. “I thought the Catalans had reconciled to their new lord.”
“On the surface, perhaps. The divisions are still there, underneath. King Pedro has stripped more than one Catalan noble of lands because they chose the losing side—just as Don Paco did.”
“Well, I hope you find your letter. I don’t have it.” I pulled away, but he didn’t let go.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t let you leave until you’ve given me the letter.” He gave me a smile again, but this time, the motion contained no friendliness. Maybe I shouldn’t have dismissed him quite so quickly as a typical westerner with more muscles than brain.
He’d chosen his ambush site well. A few streets over, there would have been a steady flow of foot traffic, but here, behind the wine shop, the alley was deserted. All the deliveries had been made far earlier in the day, so it was just me, the man with the earring, and the Moor.

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About the Author:  I was born in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Moses Lake, Washington. Then I came to Utah to attend school and ended up staying. Books have always been an important part of my life. I remember writing self-illustrated storybooks at my grandparent’s house when I was in elementary school (none of those made it to publication for many good reasons) and attending my first writer’s conference when I was in third grade.

Another big part of my early life was swimming. I swam for the Big Bend Manta Rays, the Moses Lake Manta Rays, Moses Lake High School, and Brigham Young University. (I still hold MLHS’s school record for the 100 yard breaststroke.) In addition to swimming, I studied Political Science and English at BYU.

Now I’m a busy mom with three young children. I still love to read and I also love to write. I’m usually reading a couple books at once and working on multiple writing projects too. Other than that, my life is pretty ordinary. I’m grateful for that. I’ll let the characters in my books have all the adventures.

I find great joy in being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can read more about my religious beliefs at

Visit her WEBPAGE! 

Friday, February 19, 2021

The Lamb of God ~Concert Film Coming In Time For Easter

This Easter, experience the power of the last week of Jesus Christ's mortal ministry as told through the widely celebrated and sacred oratorio, LAMB OF GOD. This unique concert film brings composer Rob Gardner’s work to the big screen for the first time. Join us for breathtaking performances from new soloists, a new orchestration, and a close-up view of this work that has been compared to Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem.


-Film Opens Exclusively in Theaters on Friday, March 12-

Told entirely through music, LAMB OF GOD portrays the final week in the life of Jesus Christ. The story is told from the perspective of those who loved and followed Him, including Peter, John, Thomas, Mary and Martha of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, and Christ’s mother, Mary. Filmed in Utah at the Utah Film Studios in Park City, LAMB OF GOD stars acclaimed musical artists Casey Elliott of GENTRI, Oyoyo Bonner, Tyler Hardwick, Katherine Thomas, Emily Moffat, and many more. 

This unique film brings Gardner’s incredible music to the big screen for the first time,” said Brandon Purdie, founder of Purdie Distribution and co-producer of the film. “Audiences will be thrilled to experience this sacred music in a whole new way.” 

For more information, visit

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Forever Phoebe by Chalon Linton #booktour #giveaway #excerpt


Forever Phoebe
by Chalon Linton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre:  Regency Romance

Book Description:  At the dignified age of eighteen, Phoebe Jamison knows she should behave in a manner befitting her station, as her three loving elder brothers often tease. Unfortunately, the lively young woman has a personality every bit as fiery as her red hair, a fact brought to her attention in the criticism from the gentleman she has long pined for. But not every man is of the opinion that a woman should be decorous above all else. The newest resident of Somerset, Mr. Franklin Everly, is considered a most eligible bachelor, and he is immediately drawn to Phoebe’s spirited nature as he becomes acquainted with the delightful Jamison siblings of Primly Park.

Franklin embarks on a friendship with Phoebe that quickly deepens into a warm and thrilling connection. But even as he fights for Phoebe’s attentions, a very real danger is revealed: girls in neighboring villages have gone missing, and the kidnapper is moving ever closer to Primly Park. Despite the guard of her fiercely protective brothers and Franklin, Phoebe must rely on her own strength when she finds herself in the sights of the Bride Snatcher.

My thoughts: I adore Phoebe and her brothers! Their good-natured ribbing and loyalty to each other made this a fun book to read.

Phoebe is a strong-willed young woman. (A trait that was not popular at the time.) She has a sense of worth about herself and is comfortable being in her own skin. She loves her family and takes an interest in her friends' happiness. Overall, she is the kind of woman that I would want to be around.

Franklin Everly is new to the area and is immediately attracted to Phoebe. He is not afraid of a strong-willed woman and greatly admires her.

The characters were fantastic. I loved the banter, conversation, and integrity they possessed. The book is mainly a romance but there is an element of mystery/suspense. Someone is kidnapping girls from the area. There is an effort to stop him before anyone else disappears.

This book kept my interest!

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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Read an Excerpt!

Somerset, England, May 1814
Phoebe Jamison huffed and folded her arms. Would William Mason ever see her as more than the younger sister of her brother Peter? She’d been out for nearly eleven months, and while she’d danced with William at several dinners and the annual ball in the Assembly Rooms, he’d spent the entirety of this particular dance chastising her for allowing Mr. Baldwin to hold her too closely during the previous set. She’d thought Mr. Mason’s concern meant something. If he was worried for her reputation, surely, it meant he cared.
Her dance with Mr. Mason ended, and he escorted Phoebe from the floor. “Proper young ladies do not pout, Miss Jamison.” He looked across the room, and his dark-brown eyes lit as he spied Miss Judith Benson. “You would do well to follow Miss Benson’s example. See how her smile affects those she’s conversing with? It is rather pleasing.” He led Phoebe to Peter’s side. Phoebe wanted to grab the lapels of Mr. Mason’s jacket and shake him. Why couldn’t he find her pleasing? For years she’d tried to be the perfect lady, conforming to everything she thought he wanted yet continually falling short.
Hannah Vane, Phoebe’s dear friend and confidante, walked to where Phoebe stood. “I’ve just heard the most delightful bit of gossip.” Hannah swayed her shoulders. “The new resident at Ravencrest has agreed to make an appearance this evening.” Mr. Mason scoffed. Hannah leaned close and whispered, “The supposedly handsome single gentleman from Ravencrest.” She covered her giggle with her hand.
Butterflies fluttered through Phoebe’s stomach. No matter her admiration for Mr. Mason, a new arrival was always cause for excitement. “You ladies should discuss topics of greater import,” Mr. Mason said. “Seeking out a handsome husband is of great import,” Hannah said, dismissing Mr. Mason’s comment. “The benefits far outweigh the effort exerted in making elaborately embroidered pillows.”
“Miss Vane speaks the truth,” Peter said. “Besides, I’ve never cared for embroidered pillows.” Phoebe shook her head at her brother’s teasing. Mr. Mason shifted, and a section of black hair fell across his forehead. He brushed his hair aside as his gaze once again wandered to Miss Benson, and Phoebe watched a myriad of expressions wash over his face. He looked back at her, quickly scooped up her hand, and bowed over her fingers. “It is always a pleasure dancing with you, Miss Jamison.” His eyes met hers. “I do hope you’ll remember my admonition.”
Phoebe yanked her hand free from his grasp. Conversations between her and Mr. Mason always seemed to end in the same manner. She had hoped that perhaps his perception of her as a silly girl had shifted to respect or even admiration, but Mr. Mason was nothing if not consistent. He chastised her behavior, corrected or quietly rebuked her opinions, and never offered a glimmer of hope. Phoebe oft wondered why she thought their relationship could ever change. Perhaps pining for William Mason had been part of her life for so long she knew no other option.


About the Author Chalon Linton is an air force spouse, a mother of four, and a fan of all things romance. Jane Austen has long been a favorite because who can resist handsome men in tailcoats? Manners, wit, and true love, combined with a faith in God, guide her stories to a happily ever after. She has met friends from around the globe and is grateful for each experience that adds to her own faith in the goodness of people. Chalon currently lives with her handsome husband in Southern California.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Intriguing Fantasy ~ Sunder of Time by Kristin McTiernan #blogtour #timetravel #giveaway


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Sunder of Time
(The Mason Timeline #1)
By Kristin McTiernan
Time Travel/Alternate History
Paperback & ebook, 380 Pages
May 12, 2015

Isabella Jaramillo is accustomed to getting what she wants.

Living a comfortable life as the daughter of the world’s sole time travel magnate, Isabella has never suffered the irritation of being told no.

Only now she has gone too far and her soon-to-be ex-husband tells her no in the most vengeful way possible—by sabotaging her trip to the past, sending her to a distant land where the locals do not speak her language and are far from impressed by her haughty demeanor.

Now a slave, Isabella makes some surprising allies and discovers the truth behind her father’s rise to power and the terrible price the entire world paid for it. Somehow, she must break free and find a way home, not only to save herself but to restore history to its rightful direction.

My thoughts:  Sunder of Time started off a little different than many novels. Isabella was a self-absorbed woman who was hard to like. The rules of time travel also took me a little bit to fully grasp.

As the book progressed I became invested in the characters and the plot. I found out that Isabella wasn't as bad as I thought. It would be hard to come from a society when you are at the top of the totem pole and find yourself suddenly at the bottom. She became a character that I liked and admired.

The book used fantasy to point out a few problems that we struggle with within society today. The first would be the abuse of power. I don't want to say too much about that because I think that some of it would be up to the interpretation of the reader. There are many different things that can be looked at and compare to our society today. It isn't always a pretty picture.

I am intrigued and look forward to reading more about time travel by Kristin McTiernan.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Other Books in the Series

Fissure of Worlds
(The Mason Timeline #2)
By Kristin McTiernan
Time Travel/Alternate History
Paperback & ebook, 323 Pages
October 9, 2017

Knowledge isn’t power. It’s dangerous.

At first, she thought they’d do the right thing. A new timeline created by a misbehaving time traveler, a whole society crushed under theocratic oppression. Surely, the council would see reason. Surely, they’d help her fix the timeline.

They didn’t.

Now jailed and under the constant, unblinking eye of her own personal guard, Shannan must fight not only for her freedom, but for her own sanity.

Her one ally is Paul Canaan, a member of the Council but not truly one of them. Living a life of secrets and lies, Paul works in the shadows to free Shannan, and himself, from the artificially created timeline oppressing them both.

Together, Shannan and Paul will have to escape their watchers—before they, and the world, are trapped in a history that should never have been.

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About the Author

Kristin McTiernan was born the daughter of a career military man and spent her childhood bouncing from one country to another. Her love of writing surfaced early, and upon discovering the double threat of comic books and Star Trek in middle school, Kristin spent the majority of her spare time creating new worlds and interesting people to populate them. Following in her parents' footsteps, Kristin enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17 and, upon her discharge three years later, settled into a life pursuing her love of words. She achieved her bachelor's degree in English from Emporia State University in her home state of Kansas and works as an editor to support her writing addiction. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and dog.

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One winner will win a Kindle gifted copy (gifted directly through Amazon) of Kristin McTiernan's supernatural mystery trilogy: Black Magic Omnibus: Books 1 - 3 of the Siren Song Series (US only)

Ends February 24, 2021

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Monday, February 8, 2021

A Cowboy for Keeps by Jody Hedlund


A Cowboy for Keeps
by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Old West Romance

Book Description:  Greta Nilsson's trip west to save her ailing little sister, Astrid, could not have gone more wrong. First, bandits hold up her stagecoach, stealing all her money. Then, upon arriving in Fairplay, Colorado, she learns the man she was betrothed to as a mail-order bride has died. Homeless, penniless, and jobless, Greta and her sister are worse off than when they started.

Wyatt McQuaid is struggling to get his new ranch up and running and is in town to purchase cattle when the mayor proposes the most unlikely of bargains. He'll invest in a herd of cattle for Wyatt's ranch if Wyatt agrees to help the town become more respectable by marrying and starting a family with Greta. But when old insecurities and surprising revolutions arise, can a union born out of desperation survive?

My thoughts: There are books that resonate with me. A Cowboy for Keeps is one of them.

Greta is a compassionate woman. She is left with the care of her young sister. She doesn't shirk from this responsibility. She embraces it. She will do whatever it takes as she prays for a cure. Her determination took her to Colorado as a Mail-Order Bride.

The opening pages begin with the stagecoach being held up. Her sister, Astrid, provides the humor with her adorable personality. Astrid is a force to be reckoned with, even with consumption. She was probably my favorite character in the book.

It would appear that forces conspired against Greta. After arriving in her new town, the groom is presumed dead, leaving her without funds and no place to live. She is provided an option when Wyatt McQuaid offers to step in as her groom.

The story is inspiring, cute, and entertaining. I found myself rooting for Wyatt and Greta to make their marriage binding instead of one of convenience. There were so many misunderstandings and secrets that it made it tough to navigate.

This book captured my heart and mind. I am very excited to read the next installment in the series.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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About the Author: Jody Hedlund is the author of over thirty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Visit her WEBPAGE!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

5 Star Rating! Blog Tour for "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" by E. James Harrison #blogtour #giveaway #suspense


No Good Deed Goes UnpunishedNo Good Deed Goes Unpunished by E. James Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Suspense

Book Description:  Five years ago, U.S. Air Force pararescue jumper Garrett Shepherd saved a stranger's life. Now that man, Edwin Sprague, is dead-and he's left Garrett millions of dollars as thanks. But there's a catch: Edwin has a task for Garrett to complete that will double his money-if he survives. Edwin wants revenge from beyond the grave, and he wants Garrett to get it for him.

Garrett agrees to give the bizarre challenge one week of his time, but he's quickly pulled into a dangerous world of scandal, bribery, and secrets some would kill to keep hidden. He has attracted the attention of some very powerful people-people who have destroyed their enemies before and will not hesitate to do so again. With the help of a Navajo policeman and a beautiful lawyer, Garrett's investigation leads him deep into the Navajo reservation-but uncovering the information he's hunting for proves to be a deadly quest.

My thoughts:  Wow! Just wow! What a thrilling book!

The story begins when a man is left for dead in the desert. Five years later family and a stranger are gathered for the reading of a will. That was when the reader discovers that Garrett Shepherd saved the life of Edward Sprague. Edward's final wish is that Garrett takes on a task that will gain revenge on the man responsible.

From the opening page, this book is full of action and suspense. I did NOT want to put this one down.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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About the AuthorMuch to his dislike, E. James Harrison is not an Amazon or New York Times best-selling author. However, he is the author of five other novels, all of which his wife and mother really like.

Born in Salt Lake City, he learned to type in the seventh grade on an old Smith-Corona manual typewriter and has been pecking out words ever since. He somehow managed to graduate from college with degrees emphasizing public relations and creative writing and has spent most of his professional life writing magazine articles about such gripping subjects as Internet technology or has kept veterinarians on the edges of their seats with articles about the latest advances in goat, rabbit, and hamster medicine. Those thrilling achievements pale in comparison to the radio advertisements and TV commercials he has written encouraging people to upgrade to the latest mobile phone or calling plan.

When he isn’t putting words on paper for himself or others, he can be found boating and waterskiing with his family, working on the family ranch, flying an airplane, or traveling to see new things and meet new people.

He and his wife, Deborah, have two amazing daughters and an awesome son-in-law and are the proud grandparents of the four best grandkids in the world. He is not prone to hyperbole.

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