Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Real Talk, Real Life Through the Old Testament by Scott Sorenson and Ganel-Lyn Condie #ComeFollowMe #Religion


Real Talk, Real Life Through the Old TestamentReal Talk, Real Life Through the Old Testament by Scott Sorensen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Religion

Book DescriptionGanel-Lyn Condie and Scott Sorensen are known for their unique approach to gospel study, combining deep conversation about Come, Follow Me material with real-life application. Now you’re invited to take your own deep dive into the Old Testament with this engaging guided journal designed to be used in tandem with any other scripture resources and the weekly Come, Follow Me lessons.

Brimming with quotes, scriptures, and insights into weekly gospel topics, this valuable resource allows you to chronicle your personal experiences learning about the people, events, and doctrines of the Old Testament. By investing a few minutes of each day to jot down your thoughts, you will forge a lasting connection to the words of the ancient prophets without feeling overwhelmed by the effort.

My thoughts: I hate to admit it, but I am not good at personal scripture study. I tend to rush through it and call it good without pondering the principles and stories that I have read.

For someone like me, this is a great tool. This is a scripture journal. The authors help me to take a closer look and figure out how the scriptures take a role in my life. At 5% into the book, the question is asked "What role does tolerance play in letting God prevail in how you interact with others?" Wow! What a powerful concept to ponder in the world we live in today.

This is a fantastic resource to add to your personal study of "Come Follow Me". I plan on using it throughout the year as I try to increase my spirituality.

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

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Additional information: There is a Real Talk podcast that follows the weekly lessons for Come Follow Me.  You can also join the Facebook group at

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Let's Learn Together - Old Testament by Rebecca Irvine


Let's Learn Together Old Testament: Conversations Starters and Activities to Enrich Your Family's Study of Come Follow MeLet's Learn Together Old Testament: Conversations Starters and Activities to Enrich Your Family's Study of Come Follow Me by Rebecca Irvine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre:  Religion

Book Description:  Delve into the doctrine of the Old Testament with Let's Learn Together, an engaging and thought-provoking collection of 150 gospel study cards on topics relating to weekly Come, Follow Me lessons. Designed to enhance understanding for children and adults alike, each card includes simple subject summaries and supporting scriptures, along with accompanying questions, conversation starters, and activities sure to spark impactful discussions among any age group. Whether used as part of your family's weekly worship or as a more frequent reference, these conversation cards will inspire more meaningful discussion of gospel principles in your own home-centered study of the Old Testament.

My thoughts: I don't know about you, but the Old Testament is a little confusing to me at times. I've read it a couple of times, but I can't say that I have retained most of it. This little collection is exciting to me. It takes principles and stories from the scriptures and simplifies them. I love the idea of using the card to start a conversation at the dinner table with my family.

I've included a couple of pictures to show the format of the cards and how how they work.

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

About the Author:  Rebecca Irvine is an author and a communications professor at Mesa Community College. In her not-so-recent past she served a mission in England for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she is now married and the mother of three fabulous kids. Reading, making to-do lists, and going to Zumba class are some of her favorite hobbies. Other books by Irvine include Follow the Prophets, Adventures with the Word of God, and Family Home Evening Adventures.

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Thursday, December 16, 2021

Of Daggers and Deception by A. L. Sowards #giveaway #bookreview #historicalfiction #medievaladventure


Of Daggers and Deception by A. L. Sowards

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Source:  I received a review copy and purchased a kindle copy.

Genre: Historical Fiction


Book Description:  After years as a soldier and mercenary, Rasheed has retired from battle to run the bathhouse in Thebes with his friends Gillen and Eudocia. The simple life suits them, so when Venetian strangers come to town looking to hire the renowned crew, their answer is no. But when one of his friends is abducted, Rasheed is left with no choice but to take up his weapons and join forces with the Venetians, including the beautiful and clever Cecilia, whose betrothed has also been seized by the unknown foe. 

As the reluctant allies face ambushes and the looming threat of capture, Rasheed and Cecilia forge a surprising connection. But as the party races to rescue their friends, Rasheed discovers that nothing is as it seems. As his trust in Cecilia begins to waver, he realizes that in the end, they will both be forced to make a choice between love and duty.

My thoughts: A. L. Sowards has a gift at bringing characters and historical periods to life.

I loved the first book in this series, Of Sword and Shadow.  This book features one of the characters that I loved in the first book.  Rasheed is a formidable soldier who has ended his time as a mercenary soldier.  He has a place to call home and friends that he can count on.

Everything changes when strangers come to the bathhouse inquiring about their services.  Everything changes when his friends are attacked and one taken hostage.  It becomes a personal issue when they join forces with a group they do not trust.

I was very excited to revisit the characters in this series.  A. L. Sowards wrote them in a compelling way that I wanted to find out what happened to them. This story carries the element of mystery, suspense, and romance that I have come to love in her books.

If you love stories that are intriguing, are historical fiction, and have great characters.  You should pick it up.  You can read this as a stand-alone, but I recommend reading them in order.  You will be glad that you did.

Online Purchase Links:

Amazon * Barnes and Noble * Deseret Book * Seagull Book

About the Author: 

A. L. Sowards is the author of multiple historical fiction novels, with settings spanning the globe from the fourteenth to twentieth centuries. Her stories have earned a Whitney Award, several Whitney Finalists positions, and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal. She enjoys hiking and swimming, usually manages to keep up with the laundry, and loves it when someone else cooks dinner. She currently lives in the beautiful state of Alaska with her husband, three children, and an ever-growing library.

Find her at: 

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Saturday, December 11, 2021

Keepsake Christmas Stories #Christmas #BookLovers #ChristmasStories #TabernacleChoir

Christmas Keepsake Stories: Holiday Favorites as Performed with The Tabernacle Choir

Book Description:  A commemorative collector's edition celebrates twenty years of the Tabernacle at Temple Square's beloved Christmas show, which is a beloved tradition enjoyed by millions, both live on stage and through the holiday season broadcast on PBS stations.

My thoughts:   It is hard to come up with a Christmas gift for some members of my family.  As I perused through the pages of this book, I found beautiful pictures and inspiring stories.

Every year the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square performs a beautiful program.  Stories are told by well know narrators.  They know how to present a story!  The narrators featured in this book are Hugh Bonneville, Kristen Chenoweth, Tom Brokaw, Jane Seymore, David McCullough, and Richard Thomas.

If you are looking for a present for the hard-to-gift person on your list, or want to read positive messages this Christmas, this would be a good one.  This one will go on the table by my recliner.  That way it can be enjoyed by my family or anyone who comes to visit.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

An Accidental Romance by Karen Tuft #BookTour #Giveaway #RegencyRomance


An Accidental RomanceAn Accidental Romance by Karen Tuft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre:  Regency Romance

 Book Description:  Rebecca Jennings’s first London Season has been absolutely ruined, and one person alone is responsible: Mr. Ben Fortescue. If her new neighbor hadn’t startled her, she would never have broken her ankle, leaving her bored and frustrated at home in the country while her sister enjoys the London Season alone. Although, it was rather gallant of him to carry her home.

For his part, Ben feels terrible about the role he played in Miss Rebecca Jennings’s accident. In the days that follow their first disastrous meeting, he finds himself inexorably drawn to the surprising young woman—first out of guilt and then out of a stirring affection. But Ben hides a secret: he has not been completely forthright about his identity or about the dark secrets of his past that would make it impossible for romance to blossom with Miss Jennings. Despite his love for her, he knows he must let her go. With her ankle finally healed but her heart now broken, Rebecca is left with little choice but to throw herself into the Season. With eligible men circling this late addition to the Marriage Mart, it seems that Rebecca will have no shortage of suitors. If only her heart were free to give.

My thoughts: An Accidental Romance is an emotional rollercoaster. There are a lot of highs, lows, and everything in-between.

Rebecca Jennings has waited two years to participate in her first season. Her plans drastically change when she is startled and breaks her ankle. Her hopes are dashed in one moment.

Ben Fortescue, aka the Earl of Winton, inherited the property next to the Jennings. He needs to get lost from his past in a place where he and his circumstances are not known.

This book is one of life not going as planned, but turning out better than you hoped. The path from beginning to end was not an easy one for either character. There was a lot of growth that had to happen for a happily-ever-after. It was entertaining/interesting to see how the story progressed and when both characters accepted the changes to their lives.

I enjoyed this story and the characters from previous novels making an appearance. This book can be read as a stand-alone.

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

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About the Author: Karen Tuft was born with a healthy dose of curiosity about pretty much everything, so as a child she taught herself to read and play the piano. She studied composition at BYU and graduated from the University of Utah in music theory, where she was a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda honor societies.
In addition to being an author, Karen is a wife, mother, pianist, composer, and arranger. She has spent countless hours backstage and in orchestra pits for theater productions along the Wasatch Front. Among her varied interests, she likes to figure out what makes people tick, wander through museums, and travel whether it's by car, plane, or paperback.

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Thursday, December 2, 2021

A Nutcracker Christmas by Laurie Winter #BookReview #BookTour #Giveaway #ChristmasStory


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Nutcracker Christmas
By Laurie Winter
Sweet Contemporary Romance, Magical
Paperback & ebook, 210 Pages
October 11, 2021 by Champagne Book Group

Suddenly let go from her news anchor position, Aria Roberts heads north to stay at her late Great-Aunt Clara’s house. She has many good memories there and wishes to give Clara’s Christmas Shoppe, which is located on the first floor of the Victorian mansion, one final holiday season. When Aria arrives, she finds the special gift Clara left for her—an antique nutcracker with a poem hidden under the back lever. Aria reads the poem out loud. At sundown that night, those words magically bring the nutcracker to life. 
Kort Zellner awakes inside the familiar surroundings of Clara’s house but learns she has passed away and now her great-niece resides there. The curse placed on him three hundred years ago traps him in the form of a nutcracker but allows him to return every December 1st through midnight on Christmas Day—only between sundown and sunrise. 
After some convincing, Aria believes Kort’s strange story. She helps him experience life as he is gifted so few hours alive and in doing so, falls in love. He knows his curse makes it impossible to give her the constant relationship she deserves. His plan to leave her forever on Christmas Day collides with Aria’s desire to build a future together, even if for only twenty-five nights a year.

My thoughts:  This is a fun book to read during the holiday season.  I loved that the characters were in their middle ages and it was a story about learning to love again after heartbreak.  Kort's heartbreak came from losing his wife and children to centuries cursed to come alive from December 1st through 24th.  Aria is divorced and fired from a job she loved.

The novel has several humorous parts.  The nutcracker disappears from where he was placed and found in the most unusual places.  It was cute to see how Aria dealt with the mystery.

Kort is wary about who to trust with his secret.  He wants Aria to figure it out on her own, just as her Great-Aunt Clara did.  While being a cute holiday story, it is a bit of a tragedy.  The common element is Aunt Clara.  She plays a vital role in their decisions and bringing them together.

I enjoyed this story.  

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

Rating:  4 of 5 stars
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About the Author

Multi-award winning author Laurie Winter is a true warrior of the heart. Inspired by her dreams, she creates authentic characters who overcome the odds and find true love. She keeps her life balanced with regular yoga practice and running with her dog, Shadow. When not pounding the pavement or the keyboard, she's likely fueling up on wine, cheese curds, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

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One winner will receive a print copy of A NUTCRACKER CHRISTMAS or ONCE UPON A PRINCE by Laurie Winter, $25 Amazon gift card, and a nutcracker Christmas ornament (US only)

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Broken Dreams by Traci Hunter Abramson #BookReview #Giveaway


Broken Dreams (Dream's Edge #1.5)Broken Dreams by Traci Hunter Abramson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Romance

Book Description A lifetime ago, Maggie Alexander’s parents narrowly missed medaling in the Olympics as pairs figure skaters. Now a coach, her father Gordon is living his dreams through the skaters he trains—until Maggie is forced to deliver heartbreaking news: her mother’s battle against cancer will be a losing one. Shattered, her father loses his dreams in an instant—his beloved wife and his will to coach. Left to pick up the pieces, a devastated Maggie finds herself relying on the steadfast support of her childhood best friend, Lance Whitmore.

Despite the fact that Maggie has never seen Lance as more than a friend, his heart has always been hers. Lance does what he can to help Maggie work through her grief, and soon their friendship blossoms into love. But when distance threatens their relationship, Maggie is torn between building a life with the man she loves and helping her broken father rebuild his life.

My thoughts: Oh my goodness, I can't believe this is a novella. Usually, novellas don't feel as complete as this one did. The characters have great development and the story wasn't rushed. It may have helped that I was familiar with the characters in this series.

This story is about Gordon, the coach, and his daughter, Maggie. I knew some of his back story going into this book, but it was nice to understand him better and know what he went through to coming back to coaching. This is not only Gordon's story. It is also his daughter Maggie and her childhood friend Lances' story.

The book takes the reader from heartbreak to healing. I also loved how she has a tie-in to another series of books she wrote through Lance Whitmore. I was so excited when this crumb was offered. It is fun for me in this fantasy world to realize how connected Traci Hunter Abramson's books are.

This is a series that I highly recommend. I can't wait until "Dreams of Gold" is released in February. I feel like the old commercials where the character is looking through the store window on black Friday  saying "open, open, open." That's how anxious I am for the next story.

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About the Author: Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children's teenage years. She is a seven-time Whitney Award winner and has written more than thirty bestselling novels. For more information about Traci, click here:

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The London House by Katherine Reay #LondonHouse, #HistoricalFiction #BookTour #AustenprosePR

 The London House by Katherine Reay

Rating 4 of 5 stars

Source:  Received to Review

Genre:  Historical and Contemporary Fiction

Book Description: Uncovering a dark family secret sends one woman through the history of Britains World War II spy network and glamorous 1930s Paris to save her family’s reputation.

Caroline Payne thinks it’s just another day of work until she receives a call from Mat Hammond, an old college friend and historian. But pleasantries are cut short. Mat has uncovered a scandalous secret kept buried for decades: In World War II, Caroline’s British great-aunt betrayed family and country to marry her German lover.

Determined to find answers and save her family’s reputation, Caroline flies to her family’s ancestral home in London. She and Mat discover diaries and letters that reveal her grandmother and great-aunt were known as the “Waite sisters.” Popular and witty, they came of age during the interwar years, a time of peace and luxury filled with dances, jazz clubs, and romance. The buoyant tone of the correspondence soon yields to sadder revelations as the sisters grow apart, and one leaves home for the glittering fashion scene of Paris, despite rumblings of a coming world war.

Each letter brings more questions. Was Caroline’s great-aunt actually a traitor and Nazi collaborator, or is there a more complex truth buried in the past? Together, Caroline and Mat uncover stories of spies and secrets, love and heartbreak, and the events of one fateful evening in 1941 that changed everything.

In this rich historical novel from award-winning author Katherine Reay, a young woman is tasked with writing the next chapter of her family’s story. But Caroline must choose whether to embrace a love of her own and proceed with caution if her family’s decades-old wounds are to heal without tearing them even further apart.

My thoughts:   A common phrase comes to mind when I  think about this book.  "Appearances may be deceiving."   All is not as it appears in the Payne family.  A family secret was buried that was scandalous.  A prominent family in Britain had a daughter who was accused of being a traitor in WWII.  Her twin sister decided to tell her son that she died of polio.  As secrets become uncovered a family is torn apart.

The story follows two sisters, Caroline and Margaret, who happen to be twins.  They don't keep secrets from each other, at least that is what they think.  Caroline goes to France before Hitler invaded and is accused of having an affair with a Nazi and being a traitor.  Years later, the accusations come to light, and Caroline's namesake is determined to discover the truth in the middle of the secrets.

I wasn't sure what I was going to think going into this book.  It is fascinating.  I love the genealogy aspects and well as Caroline's research into the past.  She travels from her home in the United States to London to study letters and diaries of the twin sisters.  There is so much more to the story than what she has been led to believe.

This book is one that I am grateful that I read.  It helped me envision France before they were pulled into WWII.  I can't imagine the amount of research that Katherine Reay put into this story.  I am glad that she did!  This book felt authentic and that the characters could have come from the early 20th century.

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About the Author:   Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. KnightleyLizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily PriceThe Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flairKatherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and is a wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL.



“Carefully researched, emotionally hewn, and written with a sure hand, The London House is a tantalizing tale of deeply held secrets, heartbreak, redemption, and the enduring way that family can both hurt and heal us. I enjoyed it thoroughly.”— Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars and The Book of Lost Names


“An expertly researched and marvelously paced treatise on the many variants of courage and loyalty . . . Arresting historical fiction destined to thrill fans of Erica Roebuck and Pam Jenoff.”— Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code

“Reay’s fast-paced foray into the past cleverly reveals a family’s secrets and how a pivotal moment shaped future generations. Readers who enjoy engrossing family mystery should take note.”— Publisher’s Weekly  

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

An Alleged Rogue by Sian Ann Bessey #Giveaway #RegencyRomance #BookReview


An Alleged Rogue (Georgian Gentlemen, #3)An Alleged Rogue by Sian Ann Bessey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Purchased by me
Genre: Regency Romance

Book Description: Lord Adam Dunsbourne is a tyrant. At least, that’s what everyone says. The tales are shocking: accounts of a man who gambled away the family fortune and keeps his younger sister, Emily, captive in their home at Dunsbourne Manor. So when Adam and his sister make an unexpected appearance at a dinner party, the scandalized whispers cannot be contained. New to the town, Phoebe Hadford hears the condemning rumors and determines to do all she can to help the baron’s oppressed sister. Upon entering Dunsbourne Manor, however, she quickly
discovers that all is not what she has been led to believe.

Adam, unsure of whether he can trust the intentions of his beautiful neighbor, is quickly drawn in by Phoebe’s genuine nature. But even as Adam and Phoebe’s connection deepens, a dangerous enemy from Adam’s past reemerges. For years, Adam has hunted for the man who betrayed him, not realizing he had only to wait. His foe has returned, and this time, he will threaten everything Adam cherishes most—including the woman he loves.

My thoughts: How do I write this review without gushing about the book? I don't know if it is possible because I loved this book!

Lord Adam Dunsbourne is an honorable man. He will do what he has to protect the name of the people he loves, even if he becomes the one who takes the blame. He is trying to save his estate from ruin and introduce his younger sister into society. He realizes it is time to stop living and a recluse and give his sister a season.

Phoebe Hadford is not one to give a lot of attention to the whims of society. She is intrigued by Lord Dunsford and his sister and is determined to make up her own mind about them.

This book has so much to offer. It is entertaining, morally correct, contains romance, and a very bad man. The hunt is on to find the villain, but then the hunted becomes the hunter. It is very intriguing how the story plays out. There was not one line that did not play into the ultimate ending. This book is a page-turner. Romance and intrigue, one of my favorite combinations.

Source: I received a complimentary copy, but read the one that I purchased for myself.

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About the Author: Sian Ann Bessey was born in Cambridge, England, but grew up on the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales. She left her homeland to attend Brigham Young University in Utah, where she earned a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in English.
She began her writing career as a student, publishing several magazine articles while still in college. Since then she has published historical romance and romantic suspense novels, along with a variety of children's books. She is a USA Today best selling author and a Whitney Award finalist.
Although Sian doesn't have the opportunity to speak Welsh very often anymore, she can still wrap her tongue around, "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch." She loves to travel and experience other cultures, but when she's home, her favorite activities are spending time with her family, cooking, and reading.

To find out more about her books visit her webpage at:

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Monday, November 8, 2021

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy #BookTour #HistoricalFiction #romance #InspirationalFiction #AustenprosePR


Every Word UnsaidEvery Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Book DescriptionAugusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family's constant disappointment. As the nation's most fearless--and reviled--columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape.

Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel's sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she's long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her.

My thoughts: Gussie is an adventurer. She loves to go and explore new places. Her passion for adventure translates into the written word as light and fun-loving. She writes for a woman's column in the late nineteenth century under the pen name of Miss Adventuress. The railroad takes her from place to place as she runs from her family and the disappointment that she finds each time she is found.

Every Word Unsaid takes the reader from the US Great Plains to India. With each stop in her travels, Gussie begins to understand more about herself, her life, and her family. The book didn't shine for me until she reaches India and is reunited with childhood friends.

In India, Gussie finally realizes what it means to belong. She sees real suffering and neglect during a Bubonic Plague. The people of India are dying and not left with dignity in their passing. At the same time, she sees resilience and some pretty amazing people. It is India where she "finds" herself and understands courage and friendship. She also finds her voice and her passions.

I really enjoyed this story. Kimberly Duffy showcased India in a very positive light. I could picture the places Gussie visited and the people she met. Her friends, Specs and Catherine, show her the culture and beauty of the country. It sounds amazing.

There is romance in the book too. Gussie has always considered Specs to be like a brother. The grown-up Specs is not the gangly boy she remembered and she realizes that there is a lot more to the man. She remembers his care and compassion from their time as children. They have a few volatile moments and they navigate their relationship as adults.

I loved the book. I loved the story. I loved the characters. I'm grateful that I read this book.

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

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About the Author Kimberly Duffy is Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio, via six months in India. When she's not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn't mind.