“Death at Thorburn Hall” by Julianna Deering

Who Dun it?

Return to the golden days of English mysteries.  Accompany Lord and Lady, Drew and Madeline Farthering, who find themselves in the middle of questionable circumstances in early 1930’s Scotland.  What started out as a pleasure trip turns deadly when the body of their host’s husband, Lord Rainsby, is found.  Is it an accident, or was he murdered?  If so, could his death be the result of a plot reaching all the way to Hitler’s Germany, or is his wife to blame, perhaps someone else?

Good friends, Nick and Carrie, accompany the Farthering’s on their trip, and Nick readily dives in to help solve the caper.  But his much-loved girlfriend hates anything to do with solving murders, and threatens to return to her American home.  Carrie and Nick have been living on two different continents for the past two years, and Nick doesn’t want anything to break them up now.  In fact, he would like to ask Carrie to marry him, if he can get past the inadequacy he feels because of his circumstances.  Will Nick finally ask her, or will Carrie return to America leaving him heartbroken?

There are lots of twists and turns in this story, and the answer to the death of Lord Rainsby is a surprise.  Ms. Deering does such a great job writing in this style that it is hard to remember it wasn’t written by one of Agatha Christie’s contemporaries.  You will care about what happens to the characters, and find them interesting.  In fact, one of them, a man who claims to be Russian, provides humor and a surprise identity.  Drew and Madeline are a murder-solving, fun couple who really care about each other.  There is also some heart rendering information about Drew’s missing mother.  Despite this being part of a series, this tale will stand alone, reading the other books will only need to be done for the fun of it.

Death at Thorburn Hall doesn’t contain anything objectionable, and is refreshing since it is told from a Christian point of view.  I really enjoyed this 5-star book and highly recommend it.

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of Death at Thorburn Hall through Bethany House Publishing for the purpose of review.   I have not been compensated in any other manner.  All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal.

The Author’s Website:  http://juliannadeering.com/drew/thorburn.php

The Author’s Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJuliannaDeering

The Author’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DeAnnaJulDodson

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Thanks for the Memories, or Lack Thereof!

During my long absence, I appreciate every one of you staying with my blog.  In July, I was shocked when my dear friend of 40 plus years passed away unexpectedly.  She was 57.  That is my last clear memory, other than slightly recalling my daughter’s return a few days later from a mission trip.  The next memory I have is of finding myself in the ICU unit of the hospital, and it was September.  I was also unable to talk.

As I gradually became aware of my surroundings, different hospital staff would stop by.  This happened over the course of weeks, always one-at-a-time.  They each asked me if I remembered them.  I never did.  Then they would say, “I was there THAT NIGHT.  I helped work on you.  I am SO glad to see you.”

One doctor in particular would pause and look very shocked every time he came in. Then he would say, “you look great, even better than the last time!”  Which was a surprise to me since I didn’t feel great.  At the time, I couldn’t use most of my body.  I wasn’t able to stand, or even move in the bed.  I was so weak I couldn’t press the call button, let alone pick it up.   The ICU nurses spent weeks trying to read my lips.

Much latter, when I could talk, I asked my husband, “WHAT happened to me?!”

My last night at home, I appeared to have lost consciousness.  My family called the EMTs who found my oxygen was 30 (very bad), one lung had collapsed, the other was filling up.  My heart was also having a hard time beating.  Once I was in the hospital, lots of people worked on me for many hours.  My family was told I probably wasn’t going to live.  When I did survive, they told my family I might be a vegetable.  It took them weeks to know if I still had my mind.  A tracheotomy was done to my throat, which was why I couldn’t talk.  A food tube was inserted in my stomach, and then I was put into a comma for a few weeks.

Over one and half gallons of fluid was drained daily from my body for many weeks.  My family came and sat with me during the weeks when I was in the comma.  They also did that later when I was awake.  But I was so delirious from all the medication given me, I am unable to remember the first couple of weeks when I was “awake”.  In fact, my husband says it is a blessing I don’t remember, because it was all bad.  From the firemen hurriedly yanking the banister and other objects off the wall and stairs in order to get my stretcher from the second floor, to all the difficult things I went through in the hospital, it is much better to have amnesia.

I was told they don’t see miracles very often in ICU, maybe two, and I was one of them.

When I could finally comprehend things that were told to me, I was stunned by all the out pouring of love for me.  My daughter had covered the walls of my hospital room with painted Bible verses, and notes of encouragement.  When I awoke, their cheeriness and hope got me through many nights and days.  I have been thrilled to receive visits, gifts, cards, and prayers.  Most of all the prayers.  I am humbled by number of people who have prayed for me.  Please keep it up.  Those prayers saved me.  Some of you knew what was happening to me, and were part of those who prayed….thank you.  Thank you for asking God to have mercy on me.

I spent five weeks in ICU and three more in the regular part of the hospital.  I was then sent to a care place for three weeks that helped me a lot with physical therapy.  Despite not able to stand yet, and needing more therapy to do that, insurance sent me home.  My working husband now has to help and care for me.

So what happened?

Since September of 2016, my health slowly declined.  It was so gradual, it didn’t raise any red flags.  I have other health issues that wax and wane, so I put it down to that.  After a while, I thought I would snap back to health.  This time, though, there was more too it.

The hospital found there are issues with my heart.  I am on medication for it now.  But I have been unable to discover if the heart issue caused the fluid buildup, or visa-versa.  As one doctor put it, “this is a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg.”

In the midst of this time period, many things happened that distracted me from my own health.  My husband was hospitalized for a couple of days, and my son had constant struggles with chronic health problems.  I lost my friend.

My 20-year-old daughter was hit by a drunk driver.  It was a horrific accident that pushed her across many lanes of heavy traffic, ultimately stopping her car when it rammed into a concrete utility pole.   The air bag activated.  Between that and her safety harness, she didn’t go through the windshield.  My daughter’s right leg was broken and she had to have a rod surgically put in her leg that stretches from her ankle to her knee.  Cuts and bruises covered her body, including an outline of bruises across her waist and chest where the seat belt held her.  She has suffered many things including lots of pain.  Physical therapy has gone on for months.  She had to give up many things she had been anticipating and working months toward.  But we are so very grateful to have her.  As can be seen from the picture, only God could have preserved her life.

The person who caused the accident walked away without a scratch, and had blood alcohol levels as high as could be measured.

Many barriers facing me have been overcome.  I can talk now but must take frequent breaths to finish some sentences, I am sure with use that will get better.  The upper part of my body is working almost normally, although I have pain moving things—fingers, arms, elbows, etc.—and lots of stiffness.  It even hurt to chew when I could have food again.  It was a big day when I could pick up a tooth brush—but then I had to get the strength to brush with it!  My handwriting is coming along, but must write slowly for it to be legible.  With effort, I am using the computer again.  I spent Thanksgiving in a hospital bed in our family room.  But we were all very thankful I could be there to celebrate.

Much hard work is spent doing therapeutic exercises to strengthen my body—especially my legs, so I can use them again.  I work the rest of my body hard so I don’t lose the progress I have made.  Many hours are devoted to it.  My husband has stayed by my side, and all of my family has blessed me through this.  God has had his hand on me.  Christ’s help is getting me through many difficulties.  Despite everything, I am blessed.

I thank God for my life, my family, and you.  Thank you in the sea of choices, you read my writings.  As we approach Christmas, may blessings overflow in your life, as well as, in the New Year.

Please pray for us.

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“A Note Yet Unsung” by Tamera Alexander

Finding Your Song

After Rebekah Carrington’s step-father’s failed attack, her grandmother whisked her away to Vienna for the past ten years.  She thrived under the intense musical training there, but with the recent passing of her grandmother, Rebekah has been summoned back home to Nashville. Determined not to find herself in another dangerous situation with her step-father, Rebekah has been desperately searching for a job that includes food and board.  Her heart’s desire would be to do something that includes music.

Unfortunately, in 1871, women are considered too fragile and frail to be part of the Nashville Philharmonic, and that thinking is held by the new Maestro, Nathaniel Whitcomb.  Rebekah does find work with one of the richest women in the city, but ironically, part of her job is working with Maestro Whitcomb.

Unexpectedly, Rebekah discovers Whitcomb is living a secret life.  Additionally, she becomes privy to even more information about him which causes Rebekah to view the Maestro in a different light.  Completely against her will, she actually starts liking him—sometimes.  She also does something at one of Mrs. Cheatham’s parties that Rebekah thinks will please her, but almost causes her to lose her job.

This is the third installment in the Belmont Mansion Novel Series, but this story stands alone without the need to read any other books.  I enjoyed this five-star book, and the strong musical element in the tale.  Bringing Whitcomb’s secret life into the story really made the tale interesting.  There are other surprises for the reader as this narrative goes on which makes it a fun read.  Fans of music, historical novels or romances will enjoy this tale, but it will appeal to anyone who likes well-written and clean, Christian fiction.

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of A Note Yet Unsung through Bethany House Publishing for the purpose of review.   I have not been compensated in any other manner.  All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal.

Author’s Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/tamera.alexander

Author’s Website:  www.tameraalexander.com

Author’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/tameraalexander

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“True to You” by Becky Wade

Ugly Duckling?

Nora Bradford appears to be a plain girl who hides herself away in her over-sized, frumpy clothes and her work.  But all is not as it seems.  Nora once thought her other two sisters were the pretty ones, and that Nora was destined to be the unattractive one.  Then she met former Navy SEAL John Lawson and everything changed.

John contacts Nora to help him find his birth mother, and while working together she becomes so smitten with him that she allows her sister to “redo” her image—clothes, hair, makeup—the works!  Nora is an ugly duckling no longer, and enjoys the confidence her new look brings to her.  However, she holds back emotionally with John because he has a girlfriend.  Nora doesn’t want to be someone who breaks up a relationship.  She also wonders why John wanted to find out about his biological parents because he remains so mysterious about the true reason for doing a search.

This story is told against the background of Nora being brought up in a family of unlimited privilege while John has made a huge amount of money himself.  Nora works in a historical village that she owns and created, since it was a gift from her parents.  I really enjoyed the characters in this story, especially the grandmother who finds so many things wrong that it is humorous.  British actor Duncan Bartholomew’s sudden appearance also adds some humor along with a little jealousy to this tale.  Nora’s story about what happened to her birth mother is shocking, and even more so, the unexpected connection with John that comes from that.  There are lots of twists and turns in this tale that keeps the book very interesting.

This story is told from a Christian viewpoint and it is clean and non-offensive.  The main character, Nora, has a strong moral viewpoint about not coming between a dating couple—despite how hard it is because she has developed such deep feelings for John.  I really appreciated that standing up for moral character is included in this story-line.

True to You is part of The Bradford Sisters Romance Series, but this tale stands on its own so no other books need to be read to understand this one.  This five-star book will appeal to a wide variety of interests from adoptive children looking for their birth parents, to those who enjoy romances, or anyone who has interest in doing a genealogical search, as well as, all those who enjoy well-written stories.

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of True to You through Bethany House Publishing for the purpose of review.   I have not been compensated in any other manner.  All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal.

Author’s Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorbeckywade 

Author’s Website:  http://beckywade.com/home/

Author’s Twitter:    https://twitter.com/beckywadewriter

 

 

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“An Outlaw and a Lady” by Jessi Colter

The Amazing Life of Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings!

Waylon Jennings. Even if you think you don’t know his music, if you ever watched the television show, The Dukes of Hazzard, you heard him sing the theme song, and play the part of the narrator.  In this book, his wife Jessi Colter (also known as Miriam Eddy) tells what life was like living with him.  She also shares her life story as well.

Waylon was a trial to live with, and he didn’t try to hide the one night stands he sometimes indulged in—especially when he was on the road.  He was a drug user, especially “pep” pills and cocaine.  Although Jessi loved him deeply, and he loved her, that wasn’t enough to give her the strength to be married to him.  In fact, she did separate from him once, and spent much time in prayer about whether or not to stay in the relationship.  Jessi knew that if she went back to him, she would be going back to stay with him for life.

Ultimately, she did make the decision to reunite with Waylon.  She returned to a life that had some amazing experiences but also some really rough times.   Jessi credits two things for getting through it.  Number one was having faith in God along with His help.  The other thing was expressing her feelings through music that she was creating.

Jessi is a singer and composer in her own right.  She might be best known for the song, “I’m Not Lisa,” which was a huge hit in the 1970’s.  But she is a prolific writer of many other songs, and has recorded a number of albums.  She was part of albums that included Waylon and many of their famous friends.  Many well-known people have also sang her songs.  Over the years, they often rubbed shoulders, along with calling them friends, with such people as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson—just to name a few.

The journey Jessi was on after she made the decision to stay married to Waylon would include his attempts to give up using drugs, and his great desire to have a child with her.  Waylon had some very big musical successes during this time, and she often toured with him around the world.  However Jessi’s one desire was that Waylon would accept Jesus Christ as his savior, and become a born again Christian.  This book tells the story of whether or not Jessi got her heart’s desire, along with a whole lot more about their life together–because when she returned to Waylon, she stayed married to him.

I was intrigued by the story of Jessi and Waylon’s relationship, and believe anyone else would be as well.  I really appreciated the Christian aspect that Jessi included in this book, and the importance she placed on Waylon’s salvation.  Anyone who likes biographies, stories about popular entertainers, or literature written from a Christian viewpoint will enjoy this 5-star book.    

Thomas Nelson Publishers has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of An Outlaw and a Lady, for the purpose of review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Author’s Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJessiColter/

The Author’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jessi_colter?lang=en

The Author’s Website:  http://www.officialjessicolter.com/index-alt.html

 

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“A Day at the Beach: Devotions to Help You Relax, Reflect, and Renew” by Jedd and Todd Hafer

Meeting God at the Beach!

Everything about this book will make you smile.  It is a very eye pleasing little volume with an orange leather-like cover, which has a pineapple embossed on it—there is even a built in orange bookmark.  The size is perfect to tuck in to a beach bag, pocket or purse, and the texture of the cover is just right to keep it from slipping out of your hands, just in case you are reading it under a bright, hot sun.

Two brothers, Jedd and Todd Hafer, have put their heads together to write some very creative water themed devotions.  From Bad Birds a devotion celebrating the value of pigeons to For the Love of a Penny where you’ll discover things you might miss out on when not looking up–you will find yourself chuckling, sniffling or convicted—or maybe all three.  The devotions are printed in an ocean blue color complete with tropical themed borders splashed along the top of every page.  These devotions are light so none of them take very long to read.  Because of that, the reader can take even a small amount of time to meditate on God’s word.  Or, if more time is available, treat yourself to more than one.

This devotional promises to “help you relax, reflect, and renew.”  It does all that plus transports you waterside even if you aren’t able to leave a landlocked home.  I hold a great affection for the ocean and beach, along with anything themed in that direction.  If you too feel the charm of the seaside, pick up this little devotional and hear God’s voice in the sea breeze.  I liked everything about it except the font size; it is right on the borderline of being too small.  One size up would make a world of difference.  Nevertheless, this is a 5-star book that would be enjoyed by everyone, even more so by beach lovers!

 

Tyndale House Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of A Day at the Beach, for the purpose of review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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“How to Overcome Worry” by Dr. Winfred Neely

 

Good Things Come in Small Packages!

Do you live a life of ease with everything falling into place perfectly, or do you have things in life that don’t always work out the way you hoped, causing upset and worry?  If your answer is the latter, this is the book for you.

The author believes we live in a time period full of worries that modern life is plagued by worries that range from ISIS attacks to staying safe while out shopping.  The pressures of life today are great indeed.

Dr. Neely suggests the way we get rid of worry is by not giving in to it, but instead we must turn to God.  Additionally, when speaking to Him, include something you are thankful for.

 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”              Philippians 4:6-7  The Message (MSG)

By faith we need to turn our heart, mind and will to God, trusting that He will rid us of anxiety, if we truly give it to Him.  Anxiety creeps in when we take our eyes off of God and try to shoulder our burdens ourselves.  We must literally take our burdens to God and leave them with Him to escape anxiety.  Dr. Neely also urges us to pray–pray about everything–that is the way to conquer worry.

“…. pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”       –1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 English Standard Version (ESV)

This is a small book that is very easy to read, and is packed with good recommendations to combat worrying.  It is truly a treasure trove of golden pieces of advice that have stood the test of time for helping, and is easy to understand.  Dr. Neely has written something that will touch the heart of anyone who has ever had a worry in their life.  I highly recommend this 5-star book.

“ Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

….Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”  —Matthew 6:26-29 New King James Version (NKJV)

Moody Publishers has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of How to Overcome Worry, for the purpose of review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

The Author’s Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/winfred.neely

The Author’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/wneelymoodyedu

 

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“Beyond Justice” by Cara Putman

New Love, Danger and Mystery!

Hayden McCarthy is a young, smart lawyer who currently finds herself in dangerous situations, possibly even life threatening ones.  Hayden works for a law firm in Washington, D. C. and is still proving herself there.  She is assigned a case that doesn’t make sense from the start.  At first, the partner Gerard who insisted she take it, said this would make her career at the law firm, but it would require thinking outside the box.  As time goes on, Gerard withdraws from her, and is antagonistic when she tries to ask him basic questions about the case.  Hayden is sure Gerard is holding back information.  The people involved in the lawsuit don’t want to talk to her, or give her much information either.

At the same time that Hayden is dealing with the intrigue and frustration this lawsuit is bringing, her roommate Emilie introduces Hayden to her cousin Andrew Wesley.   Andrew is the son of a congressman and is currently listed as one of the most eligible bachelors in Washington D. C.  That title alone is enough to turn Hayden off, but Andrew is truly a nice guy.  He works with children, avoids the limelight as much as possible and has a strong faith.  On top of that, Hayden is running into him more and more often as she gets deeper into this strange lawsuit Gerard assigned her.

This fast moving story is full of twists and turns, with lots of suspense.  Hayden wonders if she will keep her job, along with her life, before she gets to the bottom of it.  Things get stranger at her law office, especially after a good friend is obviously set up, and then fired.  Suddenly Gerard passes away, and Hayden wonders if it is related to her case.  As Andrew is thrown together with her more, life becomes increasingly dangerous for them both.  At the same time, Hayden wonders if she has a future with a guy from an affluent “mover and shaker” political family.

I really enjoyed this book.   From the first page, the story sweeps the reader up in an interesting plot, with an outcome that is not obvious.  Beyond Justice is Christian fiction that keeps the tale clean, but does not lose the reader’s interest.  This is book one in the Hidden Justice Series.  I recommend this 5-star book to anyone who enjoys suspense or thriller type stories.

Thomas Nelson Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of Beyond Justice, for the purpose of review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Author’s Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/cara.putman/

The Author’s Twitter:   https://twitter.com/cara_putman

The Author’s Website:  www.caraputman.com

 

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“An Uncommon Protector” by Shelley Shepard Gray

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Actions?

Laurel Tracey has survived the Civil War, but she has lost everything except her Texas ranch.  Now someone seems to be trying to take that from her.  With a situation like that going on what is a girl to do?  Laurel decides to march into town and use the last of her meager funds to “buy” a prisoner to work for her for a year.  That action gets the local tongues wagging in gossip about her.   Laurel herself wonders how she could pick out a complete stranger, and sign a contract to have him live on her ranch with her—all because he has an honest way about him.  Has she made a huge mistake?

Her prisoner, Thomas Baker, is a large tough man who had been in jail for not paying debts.  Laurel learns he served as a Sergeant in the Civil War, so decides “Sergeant” will be the name she calls him.  Even though Sergeant has an intimidating size and manner, attacks at the ranch continue, and get so much bolder, that Thomas feels he must enlist more help to protect both Laurel and the ranch.

An Uncommon Protector is a story that is easy to grab the reader’s attention, especially since there is a bit of a mystery about who is behind the ranch attacks.  Thomas, along with his Civil War friends, have very interesting backgrounds.   I enjoyed them so much I would have liked to have seen the time with Sergeant’s friends extended instead of having them leave so quickly.

This is book two in A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story Series, but this story stands alone without the need to read the first book.  The attraction between Laurel and Thomas starts right away, but is written in a clean way with nothing offensive.  I recommend this 4-star book to anyone who enjoys romances, or are fans of historical fiction written from a Christian point of view.

Zondervan Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of An Uncommon Protector, for the purpose of review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Author’s Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyShepardGray?fref=ts

The Author’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ShelleySGray

The Author’s Website:  http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/

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“Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal” by Tyndale House

Coloring Books for Adults?

Have you tried the latest passion, coloring for adults?  More specifically, have you tried one of the coloring books made for grownups?  Whether or not you have already given this latest pastime a try, rush to get a copy of Tranquility.

This amazing volume can be used in many ways.  As the name says, it is a coloring book, but it is so much more than that.  You can write your inner thoughts and reflections using this as a diary.  It can also be used as a prayer journal to keep track of prayer requests and answered prayers.

There are lots of coloring pages to get your creative juices going.  Additionally, there are pages that have scripture and prayer that will put you in a contemplative mood.  Other pages ask you questions or give you something to ponder as you make unique colored pictures.  All of this is featured in a sturdy book with tough chipboard covers.  It is also the perfect size to slip into a backpack, purse or tote to have handy wherever life takes you.

I have seen a good number of coloring books for adults.  Many of them are very over sized making it difficult to take along with you throughout your day.  There are also very few that are done from a Christian perspective.  Tranquility goes the extra mile and not only does it with a Christian point of view, but includes all the lovely extras wrapped up in a durable hardback cover that is easy to bring along.   Coloring for adults is supposed to be a

stress reliever, and a way to be creative.  I think combining those two areas with a spiritual aspect is a home run!  I highly recommend this 5-star book, and think it will deepen your relationship with God, as well as, give you a place to make gorgeous pictures.

Tyndale House Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of Tranquility:  A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal, for the purpose of review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

 

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