Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Review: How to Catch a Prince

I love this cover!  All of the books in this series are gorgeous!  They definitely capture the overall theme of the series, while being very unique.  The colors are perfect for the model and the scrolling vines around the title are a nice touch. Very pretty. :)
An American heiress and a crown prince seem destined to be together. Will the devastation of war keep them apart forever?
American heiress Corina Del Rey caught her prince once. But the tragedy of war kept her too long in a fog of grief. Now she’s shifting her life forward, reigniting her career as a journalist. Still, nothing can relieve her of the secret and the love she carries in her soul.
Prince Stephen of Brighton is one of the world’s most eligible bachelors and a star rugby player, trying to make sense of his life. His days in Afghanistan with the Royal Air Command will mark him forever. And he can’t shake their dark shadow.
But when his brother, King Nathaniel, confronts him with a document the prince thought long buried and forgotten, Stephen is forced to face the pain of his past and the love he left behind.
With a little heavenly help, Prince Stephen and Corina embark on a journey of truth. But when the secrets are revealed, can they overcome, move forward, and find love again?
About the Author:
Rachel Hauck is an award winning, bestselling author. Her book, The Wedding Dress, was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times, and Once Upon A Prince was a Christy Award finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and two pets and writes from her ivory tower.

My Review: 4.5 stars
I didn’t want it to end!
How to Catch a Prince is the third book in Rachel Hauck’s Royal Wedding series. I have loved the other books in the series, so of course I was super excited to read Prince Stephen’s book. We first met him in Once Upon a Prince, when he is nagging his big brother, Prince Nathaniel, about love. Little did he know that he would soon be on the receiving end of such a lecture.
I very much enjoyed the descriptions and details throughout the book. Ms. Hauck once again does a wonderful job of bringing each setting to life, from her fictional country of Brighton, to Florida, to Georgia, and even Prince Stephen’s memories of Afghanistan. Each scene was vivid and the story drew me in, making it seem as though I was actually there with them. I hated putting down this book and even when I managed to, it stayed on my mind. I was constantly wondering what would happen next and how everything would turn out. 

The dialogue is very smoothly written with no obvious mistakes or deviations. The Brightonians are portrayed with English accents and while the heroine is from the South, it doesn’t come through in her speech very often. I did find it a little odd that while many of the characters speak very proper English, those of the lower or middle class are given a more rural accent. I would expect that in a historical novel, but not a contemporary one.

Corina Del Rey is the heroine of this story and I fell in love with her immediately. She is so realistic that I could easily relate to her. She isn’t the stereotypical spoiled-brat heiress, but is rather sweet and kind, with a stubborn streak a mile wide. She knows her mind and doesn’t back down from any challenge. I loved getting to know her and seeing her heart. She earnestly seeks God and desires to do His will, even when it seems impossible. She has her flaws, of course, but that made her even more endearing. She is broken after losing those dearest to her, but she doesn’t become embittered. Rather, she turns to God in her darkest hour and learns to trust Him. Prince Stephen is the exact opposite - he ran from God and when tragedy shook his foundation, he crumbled along with it.
Stephen turned out to be an excellent character and I ended up loving him, too. I kind of wanted to hate him, but I have to confess, I was a bit jealous of Corina. Even though his stubbornness rivals Corina’s and it took him awhile to come around to a new way of thinking, he is such a great wounded hero. He is kind to Corina, even when trying to push her out of his life. He is weighed down by guilt from the war and is unable to move on. Facing nightmares that trail his waking hours too, he finds himself unworthy. Honestly, he’s one of those characters you cry along with, because his pain is so palpable. This is one of the few books that brought me close to tears more than once.
The romance was very sweet, with a couple sigh-worthy moments, and fortunately wasn’t cheesy. I was a little concerned that having the couple previously married would leave us with the same old storyline and scenes, but thankfully, I was wrong. Corina is encouraged to “love well” and it was wonderful, seeing her put this into action as she learned what it truly meant to love and live well. Prince Stephen, being on the receiving end, was a little thrown off by her continual support and encouragement, but it was exactly what he needed.
Honestly, the only reason I’m not giving this book five stars, is because there was a portion of the spiritual element that I didn’t really agree with or appreciate. While I loved the encouragement to “love well” and seeing Stephen come back to his faith and finally understand forgiveness, I didn’t really care for the mysterious things that happened which were attributed to God. I do believe that God works in our lives, but the extent portrayed seemed a bit farfetched for me.
It’s rather obvious that Ms. Hauck will be stopping the story here for quite a while. The ending was a little drawn out for my tastes, though it did give her time to tie up all of the loose ends and give the reader a complete ending. Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed this story. It came alive in a way that evoked my emotions and touched my heart. I fell in love with some great characters and it made for a lovely escape.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through The Christian Manifesto for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you for coming by!  I hope you enjoyed my review!  It is also available on The Christian Manifesto, along with many of the newest (clean) novel releases.

If you're interested in looking into this book or maybe purchasing a copy, here are some links to get you started.


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Review: Sabotaged

I just love this cover!  All of Dani's books look amazing!  I love the extra details woven across it and the colors are gorgeous!  Though I do have to say that it's even better in person (sorry, have to brag a bit). :)
Finally Returned Home, Reef McKeena
Finds His Beloved Alaska Facing Its Greatest Threat

Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now, working together as search-and-rescue for Alaska's arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments. Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night.

Kirra's uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing: Frank's daughter has been kidnapped. Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl's life--but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen

About the Author:
Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the author of the bestselling romantic suspense novels Silenced, Stranded, Shattered, and Submerged, winner of the 2013 Holt Medallion for First Novel and the Colorado Romance Writers 2013 Award of Excellence. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters. She can be found online

My Review: 4.5 stars
Great finale, though I’m sorry to see it end!
Sabotaged is the fifth and final book in Dani Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series. In it we finally get to read Reef’s story and find out what happens with him and Kirra. I’ve really enjoyed the previous books in the series, so I knew this one would be great, too.

Dani is definitely a master storyteller. From the first page I was pulled into the story until I could almost feel the biting cold and sense the tension as they fight the clock and try to get ahead of the villains. Her writing is very smooth and flows quite well, though there was a time or two when I had to read a sentence over again to make sense of it, though that could be blamed on my own distraction. I loved all of the descriptions and details that brought Alaska to life and also explained police procedure and the reasoning they used to decide their next step.

I did find it a little odd that they seemed to know so well procedure and tactics, but then considering the previous books, that made sense. There were a couple times that it seemed a bit improbable, but it is fiction, so I don’t expect it to be entirely realistic. While the plots don’t intertwine, I definitely recommend reading the other books first, if you can. They help set the story and give you a chance to get to know all of the characters better.
I really fell in love with Kirra Jacobs in this book. I liked her from Kayden’s book, Silenced, but we get to know her so much better here and she really comes to life and jumps off the page. We finally begin to understand the pain she carries and why she pushes Reef away. She is so realistic and seemed like a friend, someone I would know. Her pain is palpable that I found myself wanting to cry for her. She asks questions of God and searches for answers, despite her past. I actually felt like what happened to her was glossed over a bit, but at the same time, I can understand the author not wanting to bog down the story too much.

Reef McKenna has been the “black sheep” of the family, the one who doesn’t seem to belong. I’ve been anticipating his book since we met him, because I wanted to see him find his place. It didn’t take much to tell he was hurting, but he’s finally figured out Who to turn to. His focus has shifted to God and he’s doing his best to turn his life around. I loved getting to know this new Reef, the one who chases after God and doesn’t run when things get hard.

I also loved the spiritual side of the story. Some may consider it preachy, but I loved the focus on God. The characters turn to Him and pray quite a bit, though it’s more of a running dialogue with Him. Dani doesn’t flinch from the hard questions, but rather takes the time to examine them and find an answer, even if it isn’t the easy one.
Though I’m sorry to say “goodbye” to the characters, this book had a wonderful ending. I generally want to cry at the end of a series, but something about this one just left me smiling. I loved the one last look into their lives and the hope of a bright future for them.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it and will consider coming by again!  I am going to be trying out some different review styles in the next couple weeks, since I realized I'm one of the few reviewers that break down the characters a bit.  Do you like that in my reviews?  Would you rather I skip over that and just let you know if I liked them or not?  Comments welcome!

If you're interested in checking out the book some more, maybe getting other opinions or purchasing a copy, here are some links to get you started.


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Hope you have a lovely day! :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Review: The Trouble with Patience

I'm going to forewarn you that I didn't care that much for this book.  I understand if you aren't interested in continuing on to read the review.  I did my best to be kind, but a negative review is still just that.

Patience Cavanaugh has lost hope in romance. The man she yearned to marry is dead and her dreams are gone with him. Now she is consumed with the restoration of a dilapidated boarding house in order to support herself. Despite her desire for solitude, Jedediah Jones, the local sheriff with a reputation for hanging criminals, becomes an ever-looming part of her life. It seems like such a simple arrangement: Patience needs someone with a strong back to help her fix up the boardinghouse, and Jedediah needs a dependable source of food for himself and his prisoners. But Patience gets more than she bargained for as she explores the depths of the "hanging lawman"--and finds both betrayal and love.

About the Author:
Maggie Brendan is the bestselling author of several books, including the Heart of the West series and The Blue Willow Brides series. Winner of the 2013 Laurel Wreath Award, she was a 2013 finalist for the Published Maggie Award of Excellence, a 2013 finalist for the Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Award, a 2012 finalist for Inspirational Reader's Choice award, and a recipient of the 2004 ACW Persistence Award in Atlanta. She is a member of the Author's Guild; Romance Writers of America; Faith, Hope, and Love; and Georgia Romance Writers. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, researching for her novels, and spending time with her family. You can follow her at her website, her blog, and on Facebook and Twitter @MaggieBrendan.

My Review: 2.5 stars
The Trouble with Patience is the first book in Maggie Brendan’s new Virtues and Vices of the Old West series. I’ve read a few of Ms. Brendan’s books before and have enjoyed them, so I was looking forward to getting swept up in another of her stories. It managed to hold my attention fairly well, though I didn’t enjoy it as much as her previous books.
I would like to preface my review with the comment that I have very high expectations and am probably more critical of books than most people. So please, take my opinions with a grain of salt.
While Ms. Brendan does a great job with the descriptions, I found myself skimming after the first couple chapters. The story wasn’t catching my interest like I had hoped and the writing was irritating me. There seemed to be a disconnect between the characters’ thoughts and the dialogue. For an example, cowboys in Nevada comment that the food is “divine.” Jedediah, the hero, thinks in a very proper manner, but his words come out like we have come to expect a cowboy sounds. Wording like “how do,” doesn’t really fit a character who thinks a word like “prettily.” Also, there is a major discrepancy in how Jedediah is portrayed. He seems like two different people, going from his point of view and Patience’s.

Patience Cavanaugh is the heroine and I honestly didn’t love her. She is an okay character and there are a couple points on which I was able to connect with her. She struggles with self imagine, which is something probably every woman can relate to. She also tries her best to be a good Christian, but at first comes off as self-righteous, though we do see her grow throughout the story and realize God doesn’t expect perfection. He loves broken people just as they are.

Jedediah Jones was a very confusing character for me. I already mentioned that there was a problem with his character’s portrayal, and this really affected my enjoyment of the book and how much I cared about him. I didn’t feel as though I really knew him or understood what was going on. He is strong, kind, and he struggles with something in his past. He is something of a tortured soul, though that part is actually pretty glossed over. I really wanted more resolution for him. He isn’t the deep, well drawn character I have come to expect from Ms. Brendan. 

I honestly didn’t much care for their relationship, either. It seemed like the same thing over and over, and every little conflict that might possibly have kept them apart was resolved within a page or two. Though the book is over three hundred pages and covers a couple months of time, they don’t seem to know each other very well. When they think of each other, all of their thoughts and opinions are on a very surface level. I can’t say there was much in the way of romance, as they are both very stiff about the very idea of a relationship and simply hold hands once in a while throughout most of the book. Jed tries to hug Patience at one point and she quickly rebuffs him. I didn’t really understand that and could empathize his confusion and anger over her reaction.
To be honest, the only reason I’m giving this book two and a half stars, is because I really enjoyed the spiritual aspect of the book. As previously noted, Patience struggles with her self image and several times is encouraged to find her worth in God. I really enjoyed this particular encouragement from Patience, “God gave each of us an unique ability and fashioned us in His image. Who am I to tell Him He’s wrong?” - Patience Cavanaugh, page 285 I loved seeing her grow and become more confident in who she is and her appearance.
Forgiveness is also a strong theme in the story and it will definitely resound with quite a few people. Jed has things in his past that haunt him and he isn’t sure God will forgive him. I enjoyed watching him learn that God forgives even the worst of sinners.
Overall, I can’t honestly say that I loved this book, or even really enjoyed it. I did finish it and found myself smiling a couple times. It did grow on me and improve as I went. Plus, I liked the spiritual themes and enjoyed the ending. I’m sorry to be so negative concerning this story. This review is in no way meant to express my opinion of the author personally, or hurt her in any way. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

*Please note: I own no rights to this book, or the quotation used in my review. No infringement intended.

Though I didn't enjoy this book, this is solely my opinion.  I know many others have really enjoyed it.  If you're interested in reading their reviews and seeing another side of the coin as it were, here are some links to get you started.   


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Thank you so much, if you took the time to read my review!  I really don't like to write negative reviews, and I'm very sorry I had to for this one.  I do hope you will check out some other opinions and that I didn't put you off from reading it or any of Ms. Brendan's other books. 

Have a lovely day! :)


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My Review: Dauntless

I almost always love Bethany House's covers and this one is no exception - though I do think the leaves in front of her look a bit computer generated.  I also found the title very fitting and enjoyed how well it was incorporated into the story.

Where Legend and History Collide,
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.

About the Author:
Dina L. Sleiman holds an MA in professional writing from Regent University and a BA in communications with a minor in English from Oral Roberts University. Over the past eighteen years, she has had opportunities to teach college writing and literature, as well as high school and elementary classes in English, humanities, and fine arts. She lives in Virginia with her husband and three children. She can be found online at

My review: 3.5 stars
Interesting twist on an old favorite.
Dauntless is the first book in Dina Sleiman’s new series, Valiant Hearts. Ms. Sleiman is a new author to me and I since I love historical fiction, I jumped at the chance to review her book. This book is something of a Robin Hood story, though in other ways it is very much departed from that theme. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found I really enjoyed this new twist on an old tale.
I was hooked from the very first page and loved getting a quick glimpse into Merry’s mind and heart in the prologue. I was actually a little disappointed that the book didn’t continue in the same form as it started, but I came to appreciate the author’s approach. The descriptions were excellent and very vivid, pulling me in until I could almost feel the cold ground and hear the wind right along with Merry and her band of “men.” The story was quick paced and I loved that it kept me guessing and wondering what might happen next. It wasn’t quite as suspenseful as I would have guessed, but that actually worked to it’s advantage. I was able to step back and appreciate the characters and setting, rather than being jerked around with too much action. The dialogue was interesting and well done. It was obvious the author did her research and worked to make it quite accurate - the inaccuracies were noted at the end and explained, for those who are sticklers for historical accuracy. My only negative comment here is that there were a couple times where the dialogue departed somewhat from the old English and sounded fairly modern, but it was quickly caught and adjusted within the next line or two.
Merry Ellison is the heroine of the story and I have to confess to loving her right away. She is strong and bold, everything a leader would need to be. She is quick to step up and make her voice heard, but she is also gracious and willingly accepts the counsel of others. Before I make her sound too perfect, she does have her flaws. She is very stubborn and set in her ways. When someone disagrees, she tends to just step over them and claim to be the leader. I was a bit disappointed that we don’t see much in the way of growth in her character. Merry gets caught on a couple specific points and spends most of the book worrying over and considering them. I was really hoping for a decision of some sort, but she stays rather fickle, going first one way then another. Also, there wasn’t much progression in her attitude or reaction until almost the very end.
Timothy Grey is the hero and I honestly didn’t like him much at first. He is very self centered and is determined to do something worthy of notice. His goal is power and recognition, after all he is a ninth son with nothing. I grew tired of hearing this excuse, both from him and Merry. Taking into consideration the setting and time period, I can understand his motivations, but still didn’t care for them. But, he actually did grow on me until I was cheering for him by the end. His character definitely grows and experiences several changes throughout the story. He learns to look beyond himself and his desires, and his way of viewing people takes a drastic turn. I loved seeing his eyes and heart open to the world around him.
I actually found the spiritual side of the story a bit overwhelming at times and it is very rare for me to say that. It was once again quite obvious that the author did her research, almost to the point of confusing the reader. I had to dig back in my memory for what I knew on the early church of England from history class in order to keep up with some of the mindsets and opinions portrayed in this book. There were a couple things I disagreed with at first, but Ms. Sleiman does correct each of them using scripture, or in Merry’s case, a basic understand of who God is. I was a bit disappointed that we don’t see more spiritual development in Merry, even though the topic is brought up several times. I’m hoping she will be in the next book and that we might continue to see her mature, both in faith and attitude.
I would like to note that there is a particular word used three times that I personally did not appreciate or find necessary to the story. The villain of the story an illegitimate son of a high ranking nobleman and he is referred to as a “b**tard.” I am well aware that is the original meaning of the word and it is suitable for the time period, but when I saw it, I confess it startled me. The entire rest of the story, he was simply an “illegitimate son,” but then this word just appears seemingly out of nowhere and is in a sentence worded very closely to how we use it now. It was not enough to put me off of finishing the story, but I would caution parents of younger teens who might pick up this book.  
Overall this was an enjoyable story that challenged my faith and kept me guessing what might happen next. I appreciated the twist on the story of Robin Hood and love the characters. I will be very interested to read the next book and find out whose story is next.
Please note, my opinion is based on an Advanced Reading Copy of the book and any/all of my negative comments may be irrelevant to the final edition.

I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own. 

I hope you enjoyed my review and will consider coming by again!  I dearly appreciate my readers who take the time to "stop in" and read my ramblings. :)
If you're interested in checking out the book, maybe purchasing a copy, here are some links to get you started.  Though I should note that this book doesn't actually release until next month, so you would be pre-ordering it.


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Sunday, February 1, 2015

My Review: Manhunt


Chasing Justice

A daring escape by a dangerous fugitive puts US marshals Eric Hanning's and Hailey Shelder's careers and lives on the line. With the criminal vowing revenge, Eric feels duty-bound to protect his risk-taking partner. He doesn't agree with her methods, but he's drawn to the single mom who wants to prove she can make it in a demanding job. When her daughter is almost kidnapped, Eric and Hailey go from uneasy partners to a true team. But with floodwaters threatening the town and a killer on the loose, can their newfound trust survive the final showdown that awaits them?

 About the Author:
Lisa Phillips is an ex-pat Brit who crossed the pond to attend Bible College. She and her husband have two kids, but there's only one bunny rabbit now (sad face).
Lisa got her start writing while waiting for her employment authorization card to come through, and studied the craft with the Christian Writers Guild.
She can most often be found with a cup of proper tea and her nose in a book. Find out more at
(Description and author bio from Amazon.  Cover and author photos from the author's site.  No infringement intended.)

My Review: 4 stars
What happens next?!
Manhunt is Lisa Phillips’ newest book. It comes after Star Witness and follows Eric Hanning, Aaron’s twin brother. I have immensely enjoyed Ms. Phillips’ previous books and was very excited when I realized this was Eric’s book. I love it when an author continues in something of a series and connects the books and characters, rather than leaving us hanging, wondering what happens to them. I can happily say that I loved this book!

Ms. Phillips does an excellent job with the details and descriptions, bringing the town and characters to life. It is very obvious that she did extensive research for this book to accurately portray the U.S. Marshal Service. I would have liked a few more character descriptions, but that probably would have made the book too long for this particular publisher.

I really enjoyed getting to know Hailey Shelder and her daughter, Kerry. Hailey is very strong and determined, a good trait for someone working what many consider to be a man’s job. I could easily relate to her desire to prove herself. She works around men all day who see her as a “little girl.” While she isn’t excited about getting a new partner, she does appreciate the fact that he takes some of the attention away from her. She is also a single parent and struggles to balance her job and being there for her preteen daughter. I liked getting to know her and learn who she is behind the U.S. Marshal badge. She has made mistakes in her past, but she doesn’t let them weigh her down. I appreciated her strength, but also her ability to be vulnerable, even though she does fight it at every turn.

Eric Hanning is an interesting hero. We met him in Star Witness as Mackenzie’s WITSEC contact, but after his position being revealed, he is transferred to fugitive apprehension. He is a somewhat reluctant hero in that he really doesn’t want to be there, in fact would rather be anywhere but there. Eric is also strong and stubborn, maybe more so than Hailey. He also has a soft side that he shares with few, but seems to come through whenever he’s with Hailey and her daughter. After being hurt in the past, he has shut himself off from almost everyone. I quickly fell in love with Eric and was anxious to see his wounded heart healed.

I really enjoyed Hailey and Eric’s relationship as well. The story covers a relatively short amount of time, but I was surprised to find that their relationship didn’t feel rushed. There is actually little in the way of romance in the story, which undoubtedly helped. It was more of them getting to know each other while trying to survive a flood, catch their escapee, and investigate a years old jewel heist. They don’t exactly have time for anything beyond that and most of their conversations revolve around everything that’s happening.

The spiritual element is always fairly low key in Lisa’s books, but it resounds just the same. They discuss forgiveness and both think about trusting God, though they each have their reasons for why they’re struggling. Despite the lack of page time, God is clearly woven throughout and I enjoyed Eric and Hailey’s spiritual journeys just the same. They both ask questions that challenge me and cause me to think.

Lisa definitely excels at suspense! This book kept me on the edge of my seat from almost the first page and I didn’t want to put it down. Things happen rapid-fire and just when you think nothing else can happen, she throws another wrench into it. I loved the guessing, trying to figure out what might happen next and when they might finally catch the villain. My only complaint is that one of the last chapters seemed a little like something out of an action movie and I didn’t find it overly realistic. 
I highly recommend this book if you enjoy suspense with a bit of romance!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

 Thank you so much for coming by and taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!  If you're interested in checking out the book, or maybe purchasing a copy, here are some links to get you started:


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Christian Book

Thanks again!  I hope you're having a lovely day! :)