The Seventh Blessing
By Ricky Baxter
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release date: June 2019
Within the world of Popla, the gods rule over mankind. Thanks to their order, mankind lives safe from the dangers of the world’s monsters and demon beasts. However, even with their protection, there are some who have chosen to rebel against their benevolent masters.
Having lost his sister to a mysterious sickness called the Seventh Blessing, rumoured to have been created by the gods themselves, A young man named Luna will attempt to rescue her soul from death. Armed with a living blade, he will oppose the order of the gods – going as far as to request the aid of a legendary demon named Ten.
Within this epic fantasy adventure, the trio will explore a world together, where divinity and mortality are intertwined. However, at the end of their journey, will the true secret of the Seventh Blessing tear them apart?
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(The Union Series, #5)
Publication date: February 25th 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
After the Union is invaded by the Uprising, life for Evan and her friends becomes even more dire. If they have any hopes of saving the world they know, they’re going to need help. And it looks like there may be someone already out there trying to accomplish the same thing.
Now living in an encampment in the Ruins, life is hard for most Unis in the Resistance. For Cyrus and the other Ruins survivors, it’s just more of the same.
While they train for their ultimate mission, tragedy strikes, upending everything once again. Complicating their plans, someone in their midst is working against them. Evan, Cyrus, and the rest of the Resistance need to locate reinforcements to help them bring down the Uprising while rooting out the traitor. With trust at an all-time low, no one is above suspicion as danger walks among them.
The Balance Between Writing and Life
Finding balance between whatever you do and your life priorities is always tough. I have a full-time job, three kids, and a husband who travels for work half the time. Which is why I didn’t get serious about writing fiction until my kids were older. My oldest was ten and my youngest two were seven by the time I decided to sit down and finally write an entire novel, start to finish, and not just some random chapters that went nowhere.
I’ve been lucky enough to work from home since 2010, which means the time I used to spend commuting to and from the office became my free time. And because my office hours are 9:30 to 6:30, I had two hours after my kids had to be at school that I could devote to writing. It helped in those early days to be in a carpool so that I would drop the kids off and someone else would pick them up after school.
But now that they’re older and driving themselves, I grab time here, there, and everywhere when they’re not home and I’m not working. I’ve actually become a night owl over the years and find my most productive hours are late at night after everyone is asleep.
My family will always come first and since my kids were very small, we’ve eaten dinner together as a family as many nights as possible. That used to be seven nights a week, but with one child in college and two in a number of after school activities, it’s closer to three or four days a week, but it remains my favorite time of the day to reconnect with everyone.
As far as housework goes…well, don’t come over without at least 48 hours notice or you’ll see how bad I really am at prioritizing THAT particularly life activity over my writing.
With flawed strong characters, characters you can relate to, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Lorhainne Eckhart writes the kind of books she wants to read. She is frequently a Top 100 bestselling author in multiple genres, and her second book ever published, The Forgotten Child, is no exception. With close to 900 reviews on Amazon, translated into German and French, this book was such a hit that the long running Friessen Family series was born. Now with over sixty titles and multiple series under her belt her big family romance series are loved by fans worldwide. A recipient of the 2013, 2015 and 2016 Readers’ Favorite Award for Suspense and Romance, Lorhainne lives on the sunny west-coast Gulf Island of Salt Spring Island, is the mother of three, her oldest has autism and she is an advocate for never giving up on your dreams.
IN WINTER VALLEY
Ransom Canyon, #8
By Jodi Thomas
Genre: Contemporary / Western / Holiday Romance
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Number of Pages: 288 pages
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Ransom Canyon welcomes you back for a Christmas that has everything you’re looking for: romance, family, and a whole lot of Texas.
Cooper Holloway would take nature over people any day—especially visiting relatives. That’s why he’s headed for a rustic cabin in remote Winter Valley, where he’ll care for a herd of wild mustangs. But Cooper’s plans are quickly thwarted by the arrival of two unexpected guests: one, a stranger in desperate need of his help, and the other, a very attractive young veterinarian.
Elliott is busy trying to keep Maverick Ranch running smoothly with Cooper gone, which is no easy task with family visiting. And when a long-lost love suddenly reappears in his life, Elliott knows he’ll have more than just books to balance this season.
With a big, chaotic family Christmas around the corner and love blooming in surprising ways, the Holloway men will have to make big choices about the future—just in time for the holidays.
PRAISE FOR CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY:
“This book has everything you would want. Laughter, drama. And tears both happy and sad. I highly recommend this book.” — Patty Champion (5 Stars, Goodreads Review)
“I could not put this book down once I started it and longed for more once I was done.” — Melanie (5 Stars, Goodreads Review)
“I got lost in the world that she [Jodi Thomas] has created and enjoyed seeing her characters with their overlapping and interconnected stories find a happiness that none of them expected to ever find.” — B. (5 Stars, Goodreads Review)
CLICK TO BUY:
With millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 50 novels and countless short story collections. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world.
In July 2006, Jodi was the 11th writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. With five RITA’s to her credit, along with National Readers’ Choice Awards and Booksellers’ Best Awards, Thomas has proven her skill as a master storyteller.
Thomas was honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and served 16 years as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
When not working on a novel, or inspiring students to pursue writing careers, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating an historic home, and “checking up” on their grown sons and four grandchildren.
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October 3-13, 2019
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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
|10/3/19||Notable Quotable||The Page Unbound|
|10/4/19||Review||That’s What She’s Reading|
|10/4/19||BONUS Post||Hall Ways Blog|
|10/5/19||Author Video||All the Ups and Downs|
|10/6/19||Review||Librariel Book Adventures|
|10/8/19||Review||Rainy Days with Amanda|
|10/9/19||Scrapbook Page||The Clueless Gent|
|10/10/19||Review||The Book Review|
|10/11/19||Review||Carpe Diem Chronicles|
|10/12/19||Notable Quotable||Missus Gonzo|
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By KATHI APPELT
Young Adult / Magical Realism / Historical / Contemporary
Publisher: Atheneum / Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Date of Publication: March 12, 2019
Number of Pages: 336
Scroll down for the giveaway!
An ocelot. A slave. An angel thief.
Multiple perspectives spanning across time are united through themes of freedom, hope, and faith in a most unusual and epic novel from Newbery Honor–winning author and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt.
Sixteen-year-old Cade Curtis is an angel thief. After his mother’s family rejected him for being born out of wedlock, he and his dad moved to the apartment above a local antique shop. The only payment the owner Mrs. Walker requests: marble angels, stolen from graveyards, for her to sell for thousands of dollars to collectors. But there’s one angel that would be the last they’d ever need to steal; an angel, carved by a slave, with one hand open and one hand closed. If only Cade could find it…
Zorra, a young ocelot, watches the bayou rush past her yearningly. The poacher who captured and caged her has long since lost her, and Zorra is getting hungrier and thirstier by the day. Trapped, she only has the sounds of the bayou for comfort—but it tells her help will come soon.
Before Zorra, Achsah, a slave, watched the very same bayou with her two young daughters. After the death of her master, Achsah is free, but she’ll be damned if her daughters aren’t freed with her. All they need to do is find the church with an angel with one hand open and one hand closed…
In a masterful feat, National Book Award Honoree Kathi Appelt weaves together stories across time, connected by the bayou, an angel, and the universal desire to be free.
CLICK TO PURCHASE
PRAISE FOR ANGEL THIEVES:
Spiritual, succinct, and emotionally gripping.
— School Library Journal
A heartfelt love letter to Houston that acknowledges the bad parts of its history while uplifting the good. – BCBB
Shows the best and worst sides of humanity and underscores the powerful force of the bayou, which both holds and erases secrets.
— Publishers Weekly
Narrative strands are like tributaries that begin as separate entities but eventually merge into a single thematic connection: that love, whether lost or found, is always powerful. — Horn Book
Richly drawn and important. — Booklist, starred review
Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award finalist, PEN USA Literary Award–winning, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award finalist The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Maybe a Fox (with Alison McGhee), Keeper, and many picture books including Counting Crows and Max … Attacks.
She has two grown children and lives in College Station, Texas, with her husband and their six cats. She serves as a faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts in their MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program.
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THREE SIGNED COPIES OF ANGEL THIEVES
SEPTEMBER 24-OCTOBER 4, 2019
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|9/24/19||Book Trailer||The Page Unbound|
|9/24/19||Book Trailer||StoreyBook Reviews|
|9/26/19||Guest Post||Story Schmoozing Book Reviews|
|9/26/19||Guest Post||That’s What She’s Reading|
|9/27/19||Review||Hall Ways Blog|
|9/28/19||Guest Post||Sybrina’s Book Blog|
|9/28/19||Guest Post||Reading by Moonlight|
|9/30/19||Review||Momma on the Rocks|
|10/1/19||Playlist||Chapter Break Book Blog|
|10/1/19||Author Interview||Texas Book Lover|
|10/2/19||Review||The Clueless Gent|
|10/3/19||Review||The Love of a Bibliophile|
|10/3/19||Review||All the Ups and Downs|
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Mirror Bound (The Witchling Academy #2)
By Monica Sanz
Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: September 2019
Conspirator. Failure. Murderer.
Seraphina Dovetail is used to being called all these things. As the seventh-born daughter to a witch, and the cause of her mother losing both her powers and her life, Sera has always felt isolated. Until Nikolai Barrington.
The young professor not only took an interest in Sera—he took her into his home, hired her for his moonlighting detective agency, and gave her the one thing she’d always dreamed of: a chance. Under Barrington’s tutelage, Sera can finally take the School of Continuing Magic entrance exam to become an inspector and find her family. Now if only she could stop her growing attraction to her maddening boss—which is about as easy as this fiery elementalist quitting setting things on fire.
But when ghosts start dragging Sera into possessions so deep she can barely escape, and then the souls of lost witches and wizards appear trapped in mirrors, these two opposites will have to work together to uncover a much deeper secret that could destroy the Witchling world…
Pre-Order links can be found HERE!
The office door groaned open. Magic rushed from Sera’s stomach and filled her veins with heat, and sweat sprouted like liquid fire from her pores. A stout man with a blunt nose and pockmarked skin walked in, thin strands of his gray hair combed over the bald patch atop his head. He wore a hard-set expression and a white, ankle-length robe with the name Samson stitched below the Aetherium crest on the upper-left breast.
He moved to a wood desk mastering the back of the exam room and never once looked at her.
“Why are you here?” he asked by way of a greeting—a rather harsh, cold, and bestial one. “Speak quickly. I’ve other appointments.”
He thrust down her medical file, and Sera’s mouth bowed at the reason for his unkindness. The thick, brown dossier was marked with a dark stripe along the length, akin to the seventh-born tattoo wrapped around her wrist. The thin black line telling the world she was the seventh-born daughter to a witch, her birth the cause of her mother losing her powers and, in turn, her life.
Though used to the hostility impelled by her birth order, anger still prickled the underside of her skin, but she stifled the urge to set his paperwork on fire. At least not while her file remained on his desk. “Yes, sir, I know. I have waited four hours to be seen.”
“Then perhaps you should have made an appointment.” He set her file aside, plucked up another patient’s record, and, flipping open the cover, reviewed its contents.
She folded her fingers into her palm, their tips itching with suppressed magic. “I had an appointment.” And she’d paid half of her wages to the secretary outside to attain it.
He continued to scribble notes on the other file and never once spared her a glance. “Yes, well, be grateful I’m even here.”
As grateful as I would be if I were trampled by a horse, she mused bitterly but cleared her throat. The faster she finished with this wretched brute, the quicker she could get back home to study. “I require a physical examination for the Aetherium entrance exam.”
He paused mid-script and finally looked at her from over his glasses, close-set brown eyes narrowed under a thick, reddened brow. “But you’re a seventhborn.”
A blush gathered in her cheeks, but she held her chin a touch higher. “Yes, sir, I am. But the exam is open to anyone and everyone, should they meet the necessary qualifications. Given my extensive education during my time at the Witchling Academy, I will not be denied.” At least she hoped this was the case. Her approval letter had yet to arrive, though it was only two weeks until the exam. This didn’t matter. It would come, and when it did, she would be ready.
About the Author
Monica Sanz has been writing from the moment she could string together a sentence. Her stories have come a long way from mysterious portals opening in the school cafeteria, transporting classmates to distant worlds. A classic by the name Wuthering Heights is responsible for that. She’s been lost to dark romances and brooding fictional men ever sense. Now she writes about grumpy professors, cursed ringmaster, tortured soul collectors, and the girls they fall in love with. Monica’s books have received many accolades on the social writing website Wattpad. She’s accumulated over six million reads, eighty thousand votes, and fifteen thousand comments since posting her books on the website. She is also a member of the Wattpad4, a group of writers who host weekly Twitter chats on the subjects of writing and publishing.
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By Dana Wayne
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Book Liftoff
Date of Publication: June 10, 2019
Number of Pages: 295
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Max Logan longs for the joys of home and family he missed growing up in foster care. He fills that emotional void by becoming a kick-ass Marine, and for eighteen years, led his band of brothers from one hellhole to another…until the one that nearly destroyed him. Sixteen months of therapy and rehab put his body back together, but some wounds can’t be seen. Some can’t be healed.
Skylar Ward dreams of a life that includes someone beside her. Someone to share her life with, to be a father to her young daughter. But if she learned anything from her failed marriage it was that you don’t rush into a relationship. Options in her small town are limited, and those who approach her lack appeal. Only Max Logan sparks her interest. But the handsome, brooding war hero remains aloof.
Intelligent and intuitive, seven-year-old Maddie overhears a neighbor tell her mother she needs a male companion, so she Google’s it to see what it means. Convinced her mom needs a boyfriend and Max needs a girlfriend, Maddie sets out to make it happen. He needs a family. They need him. If she can make them see that.
Can one precocious child be the catalyst that heals a wounded warrior’s soul and brings joy back into her mom’s heart?
Or will ashes of the past bury hope once and for all?
PRAISE FOR CHASING HOPE:
“The pace was fast, the love was simple yet energetic, and the dialogues were lively enough to make me want to know more about the characters. To say that I loved this novel is not enough! Absolutely beautiful. It deserves these 5 stars.” – Readers’ Favorite
“I could not put Chasing Hope down! From the first few sentences, I was hooked and read over half of it the first night finishing it the following night. The main characters, Sky and Max, intrigued me right off the bat but feisty little Maddie wormed her way into my heart immediately! What a breath of fresh air.” – Mary McCormack, ARC reader
eBOOK DEAL! $1.99 JULY 9-20, 2019
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CHAPTER ONE, PART TWO
Of CHASING HOPE
By DANA WAYNE
Skylar Ward hated crying. It never solved anything and left her with red, puffy eyes that no amount of makeup would hide. So what if the rent was due, her car hovered one crank away from the scrap heap, and Christmas loomed a month away? That wasn’t reason enough to host a pity party for one. Yet here she sat in the predawn hours blubbering like the world just came to an end. Who knew? Maybe it had, and she didn’t know it yet.
Never one to feel sorry for herself, at least not for long, Sky wondered what sparked this infrequent event. The upcoming holidays? Maybe. But in her heart, she knew it went beyond that, beyond monitoring her young daughter’s health or pinching pennies.
She loved her daughter more than life itself and did not regret the steps she took to ensure her health and happiness. But more and more lately, she missed not having someone to share her life with, to snuggle on the couch and talk about anything or nothing. She was so tired of watching life from the sidelines, doing everything, facing everything alone, with no one to watch her back or hold her close in the darkness.
“Suck it up, buttercup,” she mumbled when the waterworks ceased. “It’s not like you have a lot of options.” She got up from the table and splashed her face with cold water. A quick glance at the wall clock produced another groan. No point in going back to bed now. She started the coffee maker, then leaned against the counter, arms braced on either side. Surrounded by a sense of imminent doom and a loneliness so profound it bordered on physical pain, she sucked in a ragged breath.
I’ve been alone practically my whole life, why is it bothering me now?
Her father died when she was young. Her mother was a physical therapist, and they lived in a modest yet comfortable home. A drunk driver turned her once vibrant, happy mother into an invalid a week after Sky turned sixteen. The only relative was a grandmother whom she hadn’t seen since her father died, so Sky left her carefree life behind and became her mother’s caretaker, working after school and on weekends at a local pharmacy to make ends meet. Despite the burdens she shouldered, she managed to graduate from high school and then enroll in nursing school.
Memories of those dark days threatened to initiate another round of self-pity, and she gave herself a mental shake.
Deal with the problem at hand – how to pay the rent this month – and save the rest for another day. Mr. Jenkins was a kind-hearted older gentleman, but kindness only went so far when money was involved.
A tingling on the back of her neck pulled her to the window where only darkness and the house next door loomed. The occupant, Max Logan, had moved in about six months ago and was a frequent customer at the diner where she worked. Maddie had more conversations with him than Sky, and when they did talk, it rarely went beyond casual conversation. His demeanor, heightened by tips that exceeded the norm and covert looks cast her way, indicated more than casual interest. Sadly, as a single mother barely making ends meet, she focused on getting through the next crisis, which left no room for a personal life, no matter how badly she wanted one.
Max was the only man she’d met in Bakersville to even halfway draw her attention, and she briefly considered encouraging him. The few men who had expressed interest up to now quickly cooled when they discovered she had a child. Max, however, didn’t seem to mind. He would patiently answer Maddie’s multitude of questions and occasionally encouraged more. He appeared to enjoy their interactions, which provided Sky an opportunity to get to know him better.
Her best friend and neighbor, Gail Brown, said Max was a former soldier. She didn’t need that last piece of information since everything about his bearing screamed military.
She guessed him to be a little older than her thirty-three years. Tall, maybe six-three or four, his well-muscled body moved with an easy grace, despite a slight limp. He wore his dark chestnut hair in the traditional buzz cut favored by soldiers, and heavy brows rested above unsmiling, coffee-colored eyes. His features were hard, chiseled like an unfinished sculpture, and he possessed an air of authority that commanded attention.
The beep of the coffee pot brought her back to the counter, where she filled a mug and, with only a brief hesitation, scooted a chair near the window and sat down, calling herself a pathetic fool for pretending she wasn’t alone.
Dana Wayne is an award-winning author and 6th generation Texan. She resides in East Texas with her husband (and biggest fan) along with a Calico cat named Katie, three children, and four grandchildren. She routinely speaks to books clubs, services organizations, writers’ groups, and other organizations on writing and publishing, and is a frequent guest on numerous writing blogs.
“I grew up listening to my father read passages from the stack of paperback westerns beside his chair. I was fascinated at how someone could paint a picture with words so vivid, I saw it in my mind. That’s when I knew that one day I would be a writer. It wasn’t until I retired in late 2013 that I was able to devote the necessary time to achieving my goal. I published my first book in 2016 and never looked back. My stories are heartwarming, a little spicy, and all about the romance because I believe romance is more about emotion than sex, and the journey is more important than the destination.”
A staunch supporter of new authors, she is a member of Romance Writers of America, Texas Association of Authors, and Writers League of Texas as well as several local writers’ groups.
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FIRST PRIZE: Signed Copy of Chasing Hope
+ Swag bag including fan, tote bag, and throw blanket;
SECOND PRIZE: eBook Copy of Chasing Hope
+ $10 Amazon Gift Card
THIRD PRIZE: eBook Copy of Chasing Hope
+ $5 Amazon Gift Care
July 9-19, 2019a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
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|7/9/19||Notable Quotable||That’s What She’s Reading|
|7/9/19||Notable Quotable||Kelly Well Read|
|7/9/19||BONUS post||Hall Ways Blog|
|7/10/19||Review||Reading by Moonlight|
|7/11/19||Excerpt||All the Ups and Downs|
|7/11/19||Excerpt||The Page Unbound|
|7/13/19||Review||Rebecca R. Cahill, Author|
|7/13/19||Character Interview||Forgotten Winds|
|7/14/19||Author Interview||Chapter Break Book Blog|
|7/15/19||Review||Carpe Diem Chronicles|
|7/15/19||Review||The Clueless Gent|
|7/17/19||Review||KayBee’s Book Shelf|
|7/18/19||Review||The Book Review|
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THE STAMP OF HEAVEN
By JULIA ROBB
Genre: Historical Fiction / Civil War
Date of Publication: February 19, 2019
Number of Pages: 196
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The Union Army wants former Confederate Army general Beau Kerry for alleged war crimes, but he’s hiding out where the Yankees least expect to find him: in the United States Cavalry. Beau is fighting Apaches out West and praying nobody recognizes his famous face.
But Lieutenant Kerry’s luck changes when he runs into Sergeant Ike Jefferson and says, “The last time I saw you, I had you bent over a barrel and I was whipping you.” Ike is not only Beau’s best friend (or worst enemy, depending on the day), he’s Beau’s former slave — and Ike knows there’s a $5000 price on Beau’s head.
Caroline Dietrich has vengeance on her mind. Married to Colonel Wesley Dietrich, the Union fort commander, Caroline believes the best path to getting revenge against the Yankees, her husband included, is seducing her husband’s officers. Especially Beau.
From the killing fields of the Civil War, to the savagery of the Indian wars, the characters are also battling each other and searching for what it means to be human.
5-STAR PRAISE FOR THE STAMP OF HEAVEN:
“Her characters are vivid, relatable, and endearing. She brings to life the rigors of frontier duty, the harsh beauty of west Texas, and the complexity of war and reconciliation. A must read!”
“Julia Robb creates a masterful tale of friendship, loyalty, cowardice, deceit, and redemption in this fascinating story set in the aftermath of the War Between the States…Not a simple western yarn, this novel will keep you thinking and asking the Big Questions long after you finish reading it.”
We’re A Revival People
By Julia Robb
In The Stamp of Heaven, Beau and his men ride to Fort Stockton, Texas, to gather supplies the War Department has neglected to send them.
The detail then runs into a camp meeting, which was typical for its day.
“Hundreds of people stood under the brush roof supported by cedar poles … It was dusk, but light lingered in the rose pearl sky. Lanterns hung from poles. A black-frocked preacher stood on a bench in front, leading the singing with outflung arms.”
This revival has a pivotal effect on Beau, and that was natural because he was raised in the South.
Southerners are a revival people.
I know, because I’m also Southern and was raised attending revivals on the lower Great Plains of Texas.
We sang Softly and Tenderly (Jesus is calling) and Dad’s voice rose more urgently than it did when he preached on Sunday: “Is there something in your life you’d like to change? Do you have guilt in your heart? Jesus can take that guilt away, right here, tonight.”
“Amen, amen,” floated up from the congregation.
Sometimes people wept. They flocked to the altar while the pianist broke their hearts with Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me….Oh Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Christians are not scarce north of the Mason-Dixon line, but revival in both black and white Southern churches evokes blood memory.
Maybe that’s because the South’s two greatest revivals took place in the middle of tragedy: Confederate camps during the Civil War, and in slave quarters.
More than a quarter of all Confederate soldiers were “converted” around campfires and tents.
Hunkering under a hail of canister and bullets does tend to convert the ungodly to another way of thinking, but the same Christian revival did not take place in northern ranks.
Years after the war, sociologists conducted a survey to find out if the conversions were permanent. Yes, they were.
Southern revivals are still poignant because we have such a bitter history.
We not only lost the war, reconstruction destroyed the South economically. We did not fully recover until World War II. The South was so poor all we could do was sing “Revive Us Again.”
Revivals were also called camp meetings because they were often held outside, under tents, at night services lit by kerosene lanterns. Many a Christian came to Jesus in a circle of light, surrounded by warm darkness, inhaling the smell of grass and red dirt.
This is not the same thing as innocence. Not only did many Southerners keep slaves for 200 years, after freedom, trees hung heavy with “strange fruit,” including around the historic courthouse in Marshall, Texas, where I live.
Guilty cultures need God. Perhaps the stricken have an easier time hearing the call.
At the same time, not only have many white Southerners loved African-Americans (and visa-versa), we in the white churches have adopted many African-American attitudes.
No people worship God with more uninhibited joy than do African-Americans.
When the late Roosevelt Washington’s deep bass voice sang, “Joshua fit de battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho, Joshua fit de battle of Jericho, and the walls came a tumbling down,” at some of Marshall’s First United Methodist Church revivals, you could hear the crowd’s gasp of excitement.
We oppressed African-Americans, but somewhere along the way we began resembling them.
Some historians believe most of the African-American revivals were held in the early 19th Century, and again in the 1840s and 1850s.
So black revivals are almost blood calling from the ground because it’s a heritage that saved them as a people. The only thing sustaining many slaves in bondage was their faith in Jesus. You can hear the expression of that in African-American spirituals: “Deep river, my home is over Jordan, deep river Lord, I want to cross over into camp ground.”
Julia Robb is a former journalist who writes novels set in Texas. She’s written Saint of the Burning Heart, Scalp Mountain, Del Norte, The Captive Boy, and The Stamp of Heaven.
Julia grew up on the lower Great Plains of Texas and lived in every corner of the Lone Star State, from the Rio Grande to the East Texas swamps.
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1st Prize: Signed Copy of The Stamp of Heaven + $5 Cash
2nd Prize: Signed Copy or eBook Copy of The Stamp of Heaven
April 3-13, 2019
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|4/3/19||Character Interview||That’s What She’s Reading|
|4/3/19||Excerpt||Texas Book Lover|
|4/5/19||Guest Post||The Page Unbound|
|4/6/19||Review||Reading by Moonlight|
|4/9/19||Review||Chapter Break Book Blog|
|4/10/19||Author Video||The Clueless Gent|
|4/10/19||Top 11 List||Books and Broomsticks|
|4/11/19||Review||Margie’s Must Reads|
|4/12/19||Review||Rainy Days with Amanda|
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QUEEN TO ASHES (Black Dawn #2)
Author: Mallory McCartney
Pub. Date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
“You lived your entire life feeling like half of you was missing. Fight for the missing part. Fight for this.”
Emory Fae has abandoned everything she thought she knew about her previous life on Earth. Stepping up to her role as Queen of Kiero she makes a startling sacrifice- feigning her allegiances to Adair Stratton, the man who murdered her parents and casted Kiero into ruin. Emory’s memories slowly piece together, and she soon realizes the Mad King may not be all he seems— and the man who was once best friend, may be fighting beneath the surface.
With the King’s attention on her, can she buy Black Dawn Rebellion enough time to recuperate their forces? And when the times comes, will she be able to kill Adair, ending his tyranny and rising herself as the rightful Queen? Fighting to hide her secret, Emory navigates the brutal trials of the Mad King, trying not to lose herself in the process.
Sequel to Black Dawn, now a bestselling series, the sparks are ignited, as Emory learns the cost of freedom, and her title. Will the rebels unite in time? A sinister force has spread across the land, stripping everyone bare- their betrayals, their secrets, their intentions. But above all, what will their decisions cost? By refusing to give in to the darkness, will Emory rise as Queen?
Renegade and Black Dawn will be available in the following #Vancouver area locations : Chapters Burnaby, Indigo Surrey, Chapters Coquitlam, Indigo West Vancouver, Indigo Granville (2505 Granville St) and Indigo Robson (1033 Robson St) in December!
EmoryAll she could hear was buzzing. Tight, unrelenting buzzing. The world dipped, and she was a ghost amongst the living. Hermind screamed that she was going into shock as the color drained from her skin, limbs trembling. Her body betrayed her for the briefest of seconds as Adair looked at her hungrily, his dark gaze ravaging her. The room seemed to tilt, and her mind felt thick and constricted. The bloodied sword was still in her hand, and Brokk’s body splayed out lifelessly between them. Life and Death. Love and Loss. Light and Dark. This is the divide her life had taken, and one that she was completely and utterly lost in. Suffocated in. What had she done? What. Had. She. Done. Before she could take another look, to convince herself that it wasn’t him—it couldn’t have been—a strong hand gripped her arm as Adair’s words registered with her. Then she was ushered out, with the promise of tomorrow on his gaunt lips, and the burly guard led her away from the king. The door shut, sealing away the gory scene. Her breath lodged in her throat, and as they walked away, she adjusted to the world around her. It was numbing her system being out of the cells, the bustle of Adair’s world seeming too sharp, too fast. Her pulse roared, and through the grime and blood she held on, trying not to give in to the deep cracks in her soul. Walk. Breathe. Survive. Make him believe you want him. Then end him. Walk. Breathe. Survive. Survive. Survive. Survive. Survive. The guard was silent as he pulled her down the twisting hallways, past the prying eyes and chasing whispers. As they walked, she could barely register what had happened. Again, that buzzing droned out her surroundings. In the arena, her adrenaline had smeared his edges, and he was just a Dark King on a broken throne. But in those few moments in his chamber, during their charged verbal dance, she was so overwhelmed that his presence had unraveled a part of her long forgotten. That out of anyone else, he had brought snippets of blurry memories to surface. The feeling of recognition, of friendship. Of betrayal, of loyalty, of confusion and pain. Swallowing hard, she walked, pushing the thought of the king out from her mind. She thought of nothing, and as they wove through the corrupt kingdom, she gave in to the void and allowed herself to fall until she felt nothing at all. **** The bath water ran, pouring into the clawed tub. It churned, making several eddies in the water. She stood, back stiff, watching the spout gush. Too fast. Too loud. The frothy surface reflected the paint flecking the gold and red of the walls. She blinked, turning slowly. In her chambers, a fire blazed in its hearth, bookcases lined the stone wall, and a huge four-poster bed waited for her. Flush to the sidewall, a closet full of clothing beckoned to her. It was lavish, a place fit for someone the Mad King potentially wanted to keep alive. Not for a prisoner. She shook with adrenaline. For the time being, he had believed her. Her hands were caked with blood. Hissing she clawed at her skin, trying to scrub it off, only making it smear. All she could see was the flash of steel, the spattering of red blood, and the crunch of bone. His golden eyes, echoing of memories and loyalty before everything distorted and twisted. A strangled sound bubbled from her lips as she slid slowly to the floor, not caring about holding her broken pieces together anymore. They had brought Brokk in. The same curve of his lips, same flecked golden eyes. At first glance, it had been, without a doubt, him. All it took was one second. His golden hair turned black; his eyes bled into nothingness, and his edges blurred. Her instinct had screamed imposter. That hadn’t been Brokk, and she had acted on that gut feeling alone. She replayed that moment repeatedly in her mind. The tang of magic was overwhelming, filling her mouth, her nose, her mind. Closing her eyes, she took in a deep breath. The sword had felt like lead in her hands, and with a flash of steel, glinting in the firelight, she had killed. Her vision twisted and churned, and she barely made it to the washroom before her stomach emptied. Cold sweat coated her body as she retched and retched repeatedly. Gasping, she wiped her mouth and sat down, breathing hard. Hot tears streaked down her face, and she screamed, biting her shaking knuckles. The sharp, metallic taste of blood filled her mouth, and she ripped her hand away, her breath coming in ragged gulps. She was in a lethal dance between past and truth, between love and loyalty. Closing her eyes for a moment she willed herself to see all their faces. Memphis. Brokk. Alby. Azarius. Even Nyx. She hoped they were safe and had found time to grieve for the Rebellion. And for Nyx, that she had time to explain, that she didn’t lose her only family. Leaning over, she shut the tap off, and throwing her clothes down onto the tiled floor, she slipped into the steamy waters. It instantly turned pink from the blood. She took the creamy bar of soap and scrubbed herself until her skin was raw. Her mind spun and spun in the harsh play by play. The real Brokk knew coming to Adair’s doorstep would warrant his death. A plan that reckless after so many years of hiding… Emory paced. It couldn’t work, could it? A soft whimper escaped her, her voice cracking. She took in a deep breath, and closing her eyes, she dunked underwater, allowing herself to free float. The water was steaming hot, loosening the knots in her muscles and easing the tension from her soul. But those whispers that had chased her, finally caught up. Emory Fae, liar, betrayer. She wouldn’t have been able to go through with her plan if the rebellion had known. Memphis would have tried to stop her. Her heart gave a painful clench, and her lungs were on fire as she burst up, gasping for oxygen, splashing water everywhere, then slipping back under. Those final days and nights in the cell were filled with terror. The darkness seeped from every angle, and her mind was the target. Memory after memory came to her in her sleep, in the bowels of Adair’s kingdom. And she remembered the frigid air circling around her as she pled with Memphis and Brokk, for them to come with her. And Memphis, he took away her memories of Kiero, of her life as she was plunged into the unknown world. She had been so wrong about her mysterious shifter. Brokk had been twisted by a best friend’s jealousy, and she had complied, not allowing him to prove what he had been to her—what he meant to her. Bursting through the surface of the bath, her lungs screamed for air. She rubbed her eyes, sighing deeply. Yet it came, snippets of her life as she pieced the puzzle together. A shiver ran down her spine at the thought of the haunted man. She would play her part very, very well. She would pass these trials, and then as Queen, she would free them all, and destroy him. Once and for all. If she survived. If she believed she had a running chance to overcome Adair and find a way to get to the Rebellion. If. If. If. Gnashing her teeth together, she stood, getting out of the tub. Wrapping herself in soft towels, she stalked towards her bed, eyeing where a small tray of sliced meats, cheeses, and fruits lay on her bed stand. Her mouth dropped opened as she lunged towards the tray, shovelling it in. She couldn’t remember the last time she had eaten. It was heavenly. She pushed down the guilt as she chewed. She wouldn’t be any use half-starved. Sighing, she flopped on the bed, and she couldn’t help herself as she started to drift off, the whispers of her mind bringing her into a restless sleep filled with dreams of dark eyes and steel cages, trying to keep her locked away. And her, never fast enough to outrun any of them.
RENEGADE (Black Dawn 0.5)
Author: Mallory McCartney
Pub. Date: July 3, 2018
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Formats: Paperback, eBook
“The time for Kiero’s reign in prosperity is over.”
Six years before the Black Dawn Rebellion, Adair Stratton and Emory Fae are following in their parent’s footsteps and living at The Academy, a home for those who are gifted. The pressure to uphold the future of their parent’s dream falls on them. An outcast and feared by most, Adair longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. Even if Emory tries to make him see differently. An unexpected group of friends keep him there, but as whispers of unexplained disappearances start reaching from the capital, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems.
An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, and his heir, Marquis Maher sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and wrath- for the first time in years, they demand the Fae’s listen to their proposition for a new treaty, holding the news of Nei’s father’s abrupt death over them. Caught in the middle of politics- Adair and Emory, with the help of their best friends Brokk and Memphis search for the one thing that matters most- finding out the truth.
In this gripping prequel to Black Dawn, their world is tipped upside down as unlikely alliances are made. War ravages through Kiero and is torn apart by acclaimed Kings. Through the throes of betrayal, lies, hidden magic and love, Adair is faced with a life changing decision- to fight or to bow to the darkness within him.
BLACK DAWN (Black Dawn #1)
Author: Mallory McCartney
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Formats: Paperback, eBook:
Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and bringing Emory back she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.
With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.
Some things are better left in the shadows.
About the Author
Mallory McCartney is the author of the bestselling Black Dawn series. She currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.
One lucky winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.
Giveaway ends March 15 at midnight, EST!https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
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Author: Louise Cypress
Pub. Date: February 19, 2019
Publisher: Owl Hollow Press
Formats: Paperback, eBook
About the Book
Total Recall meets Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies.
Sleep for three months and make your problems go away.
Ellie Savage is used to promises. Her dermatologist dad and her psychiatrist mom run the Narcosis Clinic, a medical facility famous for ultimate makeovers, where disturbing issues are resolved while patients are beautified. Clients like pop star Dean Mathews are grateful to narcosis for healing their deepest wounds. Ellie is her parents’ most ardent supporter until her dreams become a nightmare. Ellie discovers that her true self has been shredded to bits by the scalpel and the only way for Ellie to remember is to forget everything she thinks she knows.
“The relationship between Cole and Ellie is absorbing (it’s indisputably a mutual affection) while the twins’ dynamic–they’re supportive but playfully combative–is likewise effective. The plot eventually spins into thriller territory but shrewdly incorporates themes of parenting and self-confidence. Cypress’ prose throughout is colorful: a crowd getting into ‘a ginormous frenzy’ and Ellie walking ‘in a fog of convoluted memories and migraine medicine.’ Well-defined characters in a zigzagging medical tale rife with surprises.” —Kirkus
CHAPTER ONE: ELLIE
3:09 p.m. | JUNE 3RD
The little girl looked like someone had taken her to the butcher shop and ground her face into hamburger. One of her pigtails was crooked, making her scars appear even less symmetrical. She looked up at me from where she was coloring in a book on the coffee table. Her crayon broke.
“That’s quite a grip you’ve got there.” I crouched down and gazed into her dark brown eyes. “Could I color too?” She hesitated. “Please?”
When she pushed the box of crayons over, I gave her my electric smile.
“Ellie.” Mom’s voice had the professional tone she always used around prospective clients. “I’m so glad you’re volunteering in the clinic today because I’d like you to meet Katie.”
“Nice to meet you.” With a contented sigh, I plopped my butt on the floor right next to Katie, and the little girl giggled. I selected a brown crayon the same shade as her skin. “Maybe you could give me some pointers?” I inspected Katie’s depiction of a princess attacking a dragon. “You look like you know what you’re doing.”
Katie smiled at the compliment, but her parents didn’t notice. They both sat in wooden chairs in front of Mom and Dad’s double-wide desk on the other side of the room from where Katie and I colored. Katie’s father clutched a brochure with an iron grip. His wife stared at the wall of diplomas and medical degrees that dominated the room.
Mom smoothed her French twist. Her red hair was the same color as mine. “Ellie’s highly trained at counseling new patients and making them feel at home.”
“She’s the Narcosis Clinic’s version of a candy striper,” Dad added. “Aren’t you, sweetheart?”
“Yeah, except you never let me eat candy.” I pretended to scowl and leaned against Katie. “Does your dad let you eat sugar?” Katie froze at the contact. I rushed on. “My dad’s a dermatologist. That means a skin doctor. He thinks ice cream and candy are bad for my complexion.” I sat up straighter and did my best Dad impersonation. “‘Modern medical miracles are no substitute for proper nutrition.’”
My parents both chuckled, and then Katie’s parents laughed too—with the wheezing sound of people who had held their breath too long.
I chose a green crayon from the box. “You have no idea how many vegetables they make me eat.”
“I don’t have to eat vegetables,” Katie whispered. “I used to, before the raccoon, but now I can eat anything I want. Even ice cream for breakfast.”
The adults stopped laughing, eyes trained on Katie.
I turned my body to shield her from view. “Ice cream for breakfast sounds delicious.” I shaded in the tail of her dragon. “If you come here, you won’t need to worry about breakfast for three months.”
“That’s what they told me.” Katie set her crayon down, forehead furrowed. “But I still don’t understand.”
“Want me to show you?” I glanced up to Mom, seeking her approval.
“That would be excellent.” Mom leaned back in her chair. “Ellie can show Katie what a narcosis room looks like while we go over the paperwork.”
“Come on, Katie.” I held out my hand. “Let’s go.”
Katie’s tiny fingers sweated in my palm as I led her into the hall, through the locked doors, down the glass staircase, and into the heart of the public lobby. Since the Narcosis Clinic was only a few blocks from the Space Needle, we often got tourists who wandered over from the Seattle Center curious to take a peek at the medical facility famous for making dreams come true.
A seven-minute documentary played on repeat in the foyer. “Narcosis rooms have been around since the 1960s when Dr. William Sargant first used them in London to treat depressed housewives. Despite the dutiful attention of Nightingale nurses, Dr. Sargant’s early experiments in narcosis sometimes caused death and insanity. Thanks to the pioneering work of Doctors Belinda and Warren Savage, narcosis is now safe. If you struggle with any of a variety of health issues, the Narcosis Clinic can help. Patients wake up three months later thinner, happier, and with smoother skin. And they don’t remember a single painful surgery.” I’d heard the spiel so many times it was seared into my mind. “Sleep for three months and make your problems go away. At the Narcosis Clinic, dreams really do come true.”
“We don’t need to watch that,” I told Katie, hurrying her through the metal doors into the staged narcosis room that tourists viewed. “I’ve got something better to show you.” The scent of lavender greeted us, and light filtered in through clouded windows.
“It’s beautiful!” Katie skipped over to the brass bed piled high with silk cushions. When she turned to look at me, her maimed face gouged my heart. “Can I jump on the bed?”
“Of course you can; just let me move these sensors out of the way first.” I slid some tubing aside and made sure the machines housed in stainless steel boxes behind the bed were disconnected. It was real equipment even though it was just for show. “Go for it!”
Katie leaped into the center of the pillow-top mattress and vaulted herself like it was a trampoline. Squealing, she bounced up and down until the comforter tangled and all of the pillows fell onto the floor. When she finally collapsed in a heap of exhaustion, I pulled over one steel container with a small monitor sticking out the top.
“See this computer?” I flicked a switch on the side of the box and the monitor turned white. “It monitors patients while they sleep.” I pointed to a smaller box next to it that had headphones attached. “And that’s the computer for psychic-driving.”
Katie sat back up so she could see. “Like driving a car?”
“More like driving a brain. If a person comes in here feeling sad, my mom plays a psychic-driving tape that says, ‘I love my life. I am happy all the time.’ Or something like that. Then, when the patient wakes up, she’s all better.”
Katie wrinkled her scarred forehead. “What will the tape say for me?”
“I don’t know. What do you think it will say?”
Katie looked down at her hands. I hadn’t noticed before, but a chunk of flesh was missing from her left elbow. Mom could heal that too. In addition to being a psychiatrist, she was a plastic surgeon.
“Maybe the tapes would say something about the raccoon,” Katie whispered. “About how not all of them are bad and I don’t need to be afraid all the time.”
I swallowed hard. “Hold on a sec. Your pigtails are crooked.” I reached over and adjusted the offending hairdo. If only everything were so easy to fix. “Much better.” Katie’s smile made me glow inside. “Do you have nightmares?”
Katie nodded. “It’s hard to sleep. The other doctors said the only thing they could give me was medicine.”
“Well, those doctors don’t know everything. My parents are brilliant.”
“Really?” Katie looked up at me under a fringe of long eyelashes.
“I promise you and your beautiful eyes that you’ve come to the right place.”
Another smile burst across Katie’s face even as her brown eyes welled with tears. “Nobody says that word about me anymore.”
My eyes became wet too, especially after I kissed Katie on her hamburger cheek. “Don’t worry, Princess Katie. Three months from now, everyone will say that you’re beautiful.”
A couple of hours later, my parents and I were upstairs in our residence making an early dinner. “You’re remarkable,” Mom said to me as she stood at the kitchen counter grating carrots for a salad. She’d traded her heels for slippers and wore an apron that said “Surgeons know how to slice.” “You’re so poised and helpful. Every day you make your father and me proud.”
I flushed at the praise and took down some plates so that I could set the table.
“No, really.” Mom dumped the veggies into a bowl. “The way you handled that patient today was exceptional. By the time you brought Katie back into the room, she was begging her parents to sign the papers.”
“I can’t believe they were nervous in the first place.” Dad adjusted the burner, where he pan-fried salmon. “If Katie were my daughter, there’d be no way I’d let her live like that. Ninety days of treatment will fix everything.”
“Now, Warren, let’s not judge.” Mom rinsed lettuce over the sink. “Subjecting your child to elective surgery is scary.”
I shook out the placemats. “I don’t think reconstructing Katie’s face counts as elective.”
Dad nodded in agreement.
“And I hope they killed that raccoon.”
“Ellie!” Mom chided me.
“You can’t honestly hope the raccoon is still alive?” I set three plates on the kitchen table then sat in my usual chair.
“The only thing we can control is what happens inside the clinic.”
“Always the objective scientist.” Dad kissed Mom on the top of her head on his way to bringing the salmon to the table.
“I can’t help what I can’t help.” Mom took off her apron and hung it on her chair before sitting down. “So I don’t bother worrying about what’s beyond my control.” She picked up her napkin and placed it on her lap. “Speaking of which…”
I stared at my empty plate. “I’m not sure what I want to do.”
“We could still send you to camp this summer like you told your friends you’d be doing.” Dad broke off a piece of fillet and slid it on my dish before serving Mom and himself.
“Archery and canoeing sound like a blast,” I said sarcastically.
Dad shrugged. “Starting another round of narcosis is entirely your decision.”
“I’d psychic-drive all the AP prep directly into your head,” Mom said with a tempting tone. “Wouldn’t that make senior year easy? But there’s nothing wrong with studying the old-fashioned way too. We could send you to camp with flashcards instead.”
“The school bit would be a nice bonus, but that’s not the reason I would do narcosis.”
Dad set down his wine glass. “Your nightmares might go away with time.”
“I’ll find you a new therapist,” Mom offered, “to help you with your phobia.”
“But what about my lost memories?” I accidentally dropped my fork, and it clattered to the table. “How would I get those back?”
“Even with narcosis, there’s no guarantee,” said Mom. “Retrograde amnesia is hard to cure.”
“But you said if my brain can rest and feel safe for three months, there’s a good chance my memories will come back on their own.”
“Maybe.” Dad twisted his napkin. “We never should have sent you to boarding school. I wish I knew what happened that is making your brain forget.”
“At least I came back speaking French.”
“Not worth it.” Mom’s voice shook. “I’ll never forgive myself.
“Me either,” said Dad.
I hated when they beat themselves up like that. “Guys, it wasn’t your fault. Dad didn’t go wacko when he went to Remington Prep.”
“Don’t say that!” Mom slapped the table. “Not only is it politically incorrect, you’re doing great now. When your brain is ready to remember, it will. Another summer of narcosis might help you remember faster, but I can’t make any promises. That’s why this is your decision.” Mom took my hand in hers.
“Thanks, Mom.” I squeezed her hand. “I think I want to go for it, but I’ll let you know in the morning for sure.” I looked at Dad. “Okay?”
He reached for my other hand. “Absolutely.”
About the Author
Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. You can find Jennifer on her website: http://JenniferBardsley.net or on her Facebook page: The YA Gal. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives in Edmonds, WA with her husband and two children.
2 lucky winners will win a finished copy of NARCOISIS ROOM, US Only.https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
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