“Deadly Conclusion” ~ a review of Kathy Harris’s latest (and chance to win!)

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Are you a suspense fan? Love dogs (especially German shepherds) and trained working dogs? How about lost loves that are suddenly back in town? If your answer is yes, welcome to Keely Lambert’s life. I was offered the chance to read Deadly Conclusion–and it’s a story that will keep you flying from page to page! Keep reading for more plus a giveaway–ending November 8, 2022–to win this book and more.

Deadly Conclusion JustRead Blog + Review Tour Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Deadly Conclusion by Kathy Harris, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Deadly Conclusion

Title: Deadly Conclusion Series: Deadly Secrets #3 Author: Kathy Harris Publisher: Iron Stream Fiction Release Date: November 2, 2022 Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

A Fast-Paced Suspense Book You Can’t Put Down

In the thrilling conclusion of the “Deadly Secrets” series, search and rescue dog trainer Keely Lambert breaks in Titan, a new shepherd, during a rescue mission to find little Conner Wells. Aided by childhood friend, Beau Gardner of the TBI, who is also Conner’s uncle, Keely finds the boy deep inside Metropolitan Nashville’s Beaman Park. But Conner is not all that Keely finds. On the way back to the welcome center, she notices something sticking out of the dirt—the military dog tags of her father who disappeared more than two decades before. The discovery sets Keely on a hunt to unearth her father’s killer, only to be thwarted by multiple setbacks—the murder of Beau’s father, the kidnapping of her mother, and her kennel being set on fire in the middle of the night. After Keely is kidnapped, Beau leads a manhunt to find her before the outcome reaches a “deadly conclusion.”

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Harris

Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville entertainment business where she works as a marketing director. For several years she freelanced entertainer biographies and wrote news stories and columns for various music publications.

Connect with Kathy by visiting kathyharrisbooks.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $35 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Deadly Conclusion.

Deadly Conclusion JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 1, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 8, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

My thoughts about Deadly Conclusion

Secrets. They often cover pain; or tragic events; or just something that their owner wants to put out of their mind.

Deadly Conclusion opens with working dog trainer Keely Lambert answering a call with her newly-trained German shepherd, Titan. A little boy is missing from a large, wooded park. When she and Titan are out searching for 6-year-old Conner, she’s reunited with the man she loved–whom she hasn’t seen in ten years.

Beau Gardner is an agent for the Tennessee Board of Investigation; and yes. He walked out on the young woman he loved ten years ago, without a trace or a call. And now here he is with her again, face-to-face. He has some forgiveness to ask for, and time to make up for. But frightening events are happening. And they don’t add up to an obvious suspect, or connections with the people involved: an elderly woman, suffering from disease; a little boy; Keely, and her coworker Adam. What is the connection between these people, the past, and a concealed secret?

Remember the old saying, ‘Never trust someone your dog doesn’t like?’

Keely Lambert, Deadly Conclusion

I have to tell you, there isn’t a Kathy Harris book that I’ve read that I didn’t love. The characters in Deadly Conclusion won my heart from the get-go. Keely: efficient, smart, disciplined, faithful to her family, the Lord, and the dogs she is training. Beau: a good man with family brokenness behind him, that impacted his choices; but who loves God and his people; and, a fantastic law enforcement agent. And the two of them together with quite a history.

The past really doesn’t ever go away, does it? Beau and Keely are discovering that in spades. The past of broken, unhealed relationships. Unforgiveness and pain. Flashbacks of a traumatic event. The loss of a beloved parent…and maybe more. Kathy Harris has crafted an incredible thriller (with a teeny tiny bit of clean romance tucked in) that will capture your heart and keep you holding (and later on, gripping) the book in your hands until you’ve turned the very last page.

It will give you chills, just as it did me. And you’ll be rooting for Beau and Keely–and for the very bad bad guy to get what he deserves. Don’t miss Deadly Conclusion!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Behind Closed Doors” ~ parenting teens in today’s world (a review)

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Do you feel confident parenting your teens (or your children who will be teens someday) in today’s world? Because our teens face a world that didn’t exist when we were teenagers. Then, there was no such thing as vaping. Texting. Or for that matter, sexting. Present-day teens’ mental health concerns include anxiety and depression, as well as the stress that social media use can produce. I was thrilled to receive Jessica L. Peck’s exceptional guidebook, Behind Closed Doors. As a pediatric nurse practitioner, she cared for young patients who faced all these stressors and life issues…and more. This book is her response to the issues our kids face today, and as the subtitle says, it is “A Guide to Help Parents and Teens Navigate Through Life’s Toughest Issues.”

From the publisher

Behind Closed Doors is a practical guide for parents guiding their tweens and teens through cultural change and modern-day health threats. Jessica Peck, a pediatric nurse practitioner and mom of four, helps parents escape the secrecy and shame surrounding challenging moments and find freedom in honest conversations grounded in faith in Christ.

There are many jokes about the difficulties of raising a teenager, but beneath these jokes parents are hurting and feeling helpless while their teens are navigating extraordinary cultural challenges unlike anything faced by previous generations. Teens are feeling more isolated, anxious, and depressed. But how can we help them effectively navigate social challenges when we don’t have the social skills to communicate authentically with dignity and compassion? How do we create safe spaces in a seemingly unsafe world?

Jessica Peck (DNP, APRN) has spent countless hours advising and encouraging parents after talking to their teens behind closed doors.  Jessica seeks to move the private conversations that happen in the clinic to relationship-building conversations at home. 

Behind Closed Doors is a guided lifeline to help parents assess their teen’s emotional, physical, and spiritual health, and to ultimately help them strengthen their connection with their kids. She has divided her book into three sections:

  • Behind the Clinic Door: professional advice for parents on tough teenage issues from a health impact lens, sharing true stories of patients.
  • Behind the Home Door: suggested settings, activities, and question prompts to give parents conversation keys to unlock doors for open dialogue with their teens on tough issues and meet them at their point of need.
  • Behind the Heart Door: a time of reflection and spiritual application for parents to explore devotional readings, relevant Bible verses, Scripture-based prayers for parents, themed Christian music playlists, and prompts to write 12 Legacy Letters, a generational keepsake for teens.

Covering topics including mental health, social media, suicide, sexting, substance abuse, gender identity, and more, Jessica Peck’s book will encourage and strengthen all parents—married, single, or divorced; grandparents, stepparents, godparents, bonus parents, adopted parents—anyone who is serving a parental role in a teen’s life.

My thoughts

Parenting. The joy, responsibility, and in so many ways, it is the job that utterly humbles you. How desperately we need not only the Lord’s counsel but the mentorship of parents who have gone before us. I’m so glad to say that Jessica Peck really is that parent. I loved this book, and her wise, humble, and compassionate ideas for parenting our children today. I found so much wisdom and direction that I could apply to my own parenting journey. In fact, in addition to highlighting and tabbing pages that were meaningful, I also began taking notes in a journal (for quick reference!).

Your teens absolutely, 100 percent, for sure are talking to someone about this topic. You have the amazing privilege to choose if that person will be you.

Jessica L. Peck

Here are some vital ideas, many of which are really themes we can add to our own parenting:

  • Converse with LOVE (Listen with your face, Offer open-ended questions, Validate feelings, Explore next steps together). We can be so used to the directive parenting that littles need. But teens and tweens have different needs altogether. This conversation style can help us to help our teenaged children know that we are hearing them; that we value them; that we aren’t rushing to judgment (or condemnation). All these set the stage for the last stage, Exploring next steps together. What a wonderful way to begin to equip them for adulthood–plus letting our kids know we value them so deeply.
  • Talk with your teens about social media. Cyberbullying, catfishing, cyberstalking, trolling–and even human trafficking–can be rampant for teens online. And it’s not just those issues; the verbal cruelty, isolation, and raging that happens to children and teens as they game with others online are utterly heartbreaking. Potentially soul-crushing. Think about the hurtful moments in our own child or teen years. Think also of Joseph’s life; a man who endured horrible suffering AND healing (Genesis 37-50). Can you work through that process in your own life (weeping, forgiving, trusting in God)? As Jessica encourages us to do, we can then reflect/pray/and act in faith and for healing alongside our teens. (I also wholeheartedly recommend therapy/counseling if that pain is too deep for us to heal ourselves.)
  • There’s an amazing postscript chapter called “How to Heal Generational Hurts.” Did you know that not only eye color or body style can be passed down in families, but also generational pains or curses? Peck references a 1997 Kaiser Permanente Health study (authored by Vincent Felitti and Robert Auda) that connected childhood trauma (specifically, ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences) to adult health outcomes. Here’s a short summary from Peck: “Tolerable stress is facing serious events when you are buffered by supportive relationships. Toxic stress happens when the stress response is activated repeatedly without a support system…the best protective factor to avoid a toxic stress response? It’s the presence of a supportive adult in a child’s life.” What an encouragement!

In closing

Do you look at this list of topics and feel as though you’re relatively (or completely) unprepared to talk with your teen about them?

  • Mental health
  • Social media
  • Cyberbullying
  • Suicide
  • Vaping
  • Substance abuse
  • Divorce
  • Sex and sexting
  • Porn
  • Social justice
  • Gender identity
  • Eating disorders

It’s a daunting list, isn’t it? But this is a list of ideas or events that our teens are very familiar with; or maybe, they THINK that they know everything about them. Perhaps the last thing in the world they want is to talk with mom or dad about these. Wouldn’t you love to be prepared to, though? Wouldn’t you want to be able to sit down and clearly and lovingly talk about these with your teen?

This is the book for you then. It certainly has been for me. And while Behind Closed Doors does give guidelines and ideas for these talks, at its heart it’s a book about relationship and communication. To help us as parents to build open, vulnerable, honest, and LOVING communication with our teens. Then we can have the hard–but incredibly important–conversations, and do our best to equip our teens for the world we live in.

Get a copy of this book. You’ll be so, so glad you did; and your children will reap wonderful rewards.

You can enter to win a copy of Behind Closed Doors

BlessedFreebies.com is giving away a copy of Behind Closed Doors to a winner. Just click on the giveaway link below. That will take you to the giveaway page. Scroll down and you’ll find the entry info. Giveaway closes 11/7/22. Best wishes!

Behind Closed Doors giveaway link

Where you can purchase Behind Closed Doors

Click on this link to purchase Behind Closed Doors. That will take you to the Thomas Nelson website, which will direct you to your choice of booksellers. In addition, you can download for free a printable Legacy Letter package (a wonderful tool to pour blessing into your child’s life) and a microblog video series with Jessica.

Be blessed in your parenting journey! –Wren

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions shared here are my own honest ones.

Sarah Young’s new devo for kids: “Jesus Listens”

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Many of you might be familiar with Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” series of books and devotionals. They’re filled with words that God speaks over us (and we know that He would say those things, because they’re all from Scripture), in a daily format. What a comfort to hear those loving words, instructions, and wisdom! Now, Sarah has written a similar devotional book for children, except the idea is flipped around. It’s called Jesus Listens, and 365 daily prayers are composed for kids to read to Jesus. And because He is Jesus, readers can know that He does listen! I was thrilled to receive a copy of this, and I’m going to share my thoughts with you below. First, though, more about the book, AND an Instagram giveaway! (ends 11/8/22)

Here’s more from the publisher:

Book Name Jesus Listens: 365 Prayers for Kids

Author Sarah Young

Publisher Tommy Nelson

In this inspiring 365-day book of prayers, Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling, helps children talk to God every day.

More about Jesus Listens

Jesus Listens, the bestselling 365-day prayer devotional from Sarah Young, is now available for children. This book invites your children (and you) into an ongoing conversation with God, growing a meaningful prayer life and closer relationship with Him.
In this inspiring 365-day book of prayers, Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling, helps children talk to God every day. Kids will learn how to pray honest prayers and know that Jesus is always listening to them. This book will equip parents who want to

  • teach their kids how to pray and talk to God
  • reassure their children that God is always with them
  • help their kids to read Bible verses every day

Children will learn the daily practice of reading God’s Word and talking to Him. They will

  • know that they can talk to Jesus about anything and come to Him when they are afraid, anxious, or worried
  • learn how to thank and praise God and take Him their requests
  • develop the habit of prayer

This inspirational book for kids ages 8 to 12 makes a perfect gift for

  • Christmas
  • birthdays
  • graduation celebrations and back-to-school
  • baptisms, Sunday school awards, or first communions

Jesus Listens: 365 Prayers for Kids is a wonderful tool to help your children read Scripture and pray every day of the year.

Purchase Link #ad

How to enter the giveaway

Giveaway – (5) winners will receive a print copy of the book. This is an Instagram giveaway, so please follow the directions below for your chance to be one of those winners!

TO ENTER

First: ⇒ LIKE, SAVE, and SHARE this Jesus Listens Instagram post

Second: ⇒ FOLLOW me @jesuscalling @tommynelsonbooks @justreadtours

Third: ⇒ TAG a friend (up to 3x per post).

And then, ⇒ VISIT each hosted post of this tour for more entries. Schedule at @justreadtours. (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics. Instagram is not affiliated with nor responsible for this giveaway. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on November 8, 2022.)

What you’ll find in Jesus Listens

What an incredibly wonderful kids’ devotional!

First, let me tell you about the Jesus Listens format. The devotional contains 365 readings, dated for every day of the year (even February 29). Each devotional has a title and a corresponding verse, followed by a prayer that begins, “Dear Jesus.” Several paragraphs talk about the issues of life a child may experience (like the darkness of the world, personal struggles, realizing that Jesus is indeed with them at every moment). Sarah Young details these issues in the form of prayer but alongside them, proclaims what Scripture says about them, specifically–and ends with thanksgiving and gratefulness. The “Read On Your Own” segment includes four Bible verse addresses that children can look at that were touched upon in each devotional.

So how could a child use this? Since it’s written for ages 8-12, a child could read it alone, praying the words of the devotional aloud or silently. Then, the child can look up the Bible verses and read them. Of course at any time during this quiet time activity, more prayers or Bible verses could be included, since prayer is a back-and-forth activity between God and us! Jesus Listens could be used as a morning devotional or a nighttime one. And, it could also be used as a parent-child activity, with either one taking turns reading paragraphs or Bible verses. It would also be fantastic for homeschooling Bible time. And parents could also use it as a read-aloud devotional time as a family.

It is a wonderful way for children to:

  • learn how to pray
  • understand that prayer is a conversation
  • see that we can pray Scriptures to God
  • most of all, see that the Lord loves His children and wants a close & loving relationship with us all

Some of my favorite moments

I love Sarah’s writing style, where she combines the truths of Scripture in an intimate conversation with the God who made all of us and created us in all the humanness we are: our bodies, minds, emotions, and our will. Sometimes I think we forget that He made us and totally understands us! He delights in us, rejoices over us with gladness, quiets us with His love (Zephaniah 3:17). How amazing it is for children to really know that. Jesus Listens can make that happen for your children (and even for parents!).

Here are some of my favorite parts of the Jesus Listens devotional:

  • “You know about every single one of my troubles. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. So please help me not to be afraid of tears–or the troubles that cause them. I know you can use even my problems for good. You’re teaching me to be comforted by the fact that You’re in control. And I’m learning to trust that You know exactly what You’re doing!” (from October 10)
  • “I’m so thankful that You are the God who sees me. You’re training me to look for you too. Help me remember that You are here with me and You’re working in every moment of my life.” (from April 10)
  • “I know You’ll be working on me and making me more like You. You are going to do new things in my life, and I can’t wait to see what they are! I don’t have to think about the past. I don’t have to worry about mistakes I have made or things I wish I had done or said. Today is a fresh start!” (from January 1)
  • And maybe my top fave:
    • “Please teach me to keep looking to You for help–not to myself or the world around me. You have this amazing ability to be with me both right now and in the future, showing me which way to go. When I close my eyes and listen, I can almost hear you whispering, “Follow Me.” (from January 2)

What a precious devotional Jesus Listens is! This book will bless your children and help them know that God is ALWAYS there, listening to and tenderly caring for them. And isn’t that what we all need to know?

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

For your TBR booklist: The Christy Award 2022 Finalists

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I have to ask you. Is this not the most gorgeous set of books?

If you’re not familiar with The Christy Award, here is what Wikipedia says: “The Christy Awards, established in 1999, are awarded each year to recognize fiction of excellence written from a Christian perspective with matters of faith at its core. Awards are given in several genres, including contemporary, historical, romance, suspense, and visionary.” The Christy Award website takes those ideas a bit further and says that the award “is designed to nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from a Christian worldview.”

Isn’t that wonderful? In a world which can often recognize the opposite, this award recognizes beauty, creativity, and quality. I have read several of these books and can speak to their beauty and wonder. Others, I haven’t read yet; but they are definitely on my “to be read,” or TBR list!

And one entrant is going to win a fabulous prize of books from this list…so keep reading and be sure to enter the giveaway!

The Christy Award Finalists 2022 JustRead Blog Blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz for The Christy Award Finalists organized by ECPA and hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! We extend our sincere and enthusiastic congratulations to The Christy Award 2022 Finalists!

The Christy Award Finalists 2022

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

All That Really Matters Bookshop by the Sea Husband Auditions

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group) Bookshop by the Sea by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson Publishers) Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong (Kregel Publications)

FIRST NOVEL

All That Is Secret Recorder Sugar Birds

All That Is Secret by Patricia Raybon (Tyndale House Publishers) Recorder by Cathy McCrumb (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media) Sugar Birds by Cheryl Grey Bostrom (She Writes Press)

GENERAL FICTION

The Letter Keeper The Secret Keepers Old Depot Grocery Under the Magnolias

The Letter Keeper by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson Publishers) The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox (Revell/ Baker Publishing Group) Under the Magnolias by T. I. Lowe (Tyndale House Publishers)

HISTORICAL

Between The Wild Branches Drawn By The Current The Widows Of Champagne Yours Is The Night

Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group) Drawn by The Current by Jocelyn Green (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group) The Widows of Champagne by Renee Ryan (Love Inspired) Yours is the Night by Amanda Dykes (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

As Dawn Breaks Hope Between The Pages Shadows Of Swanford Abbey Until Leaves Fall in Paris

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group) Hope Between the Pages by Pepper Basham (Barbour Publishing) Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group) Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin (Revell/ Baker Publishing Group)

MYSTERY/SUSPENSE/THRILLER

Aftermath On The Cliffs Of Foxglove Manor The Barrister And Letter Marque

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock (Thomas Nelson Publishers) The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group) On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)

SHORT FORM

A Texas Christmas Carol False Pretense Mr Nicholas

A Texas Christmas Carol (in Under the Texas Mistletoe) by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group) Mr. Nicholas: A Magical Christmas Tale by Christopher de Vinck (Paraclete Press) False Pretense by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press)

SPECULATIVE

A Time To Seek Dark Intercept Recorder Windward Shore

A Time to Seek by Tracy Higley (Stonewater Books LLC) Dark Intercept by Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson (Tyndale House Publishers) Recorder by Cathy McCrumb (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media) Windward Shore by Sharon Hinck (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)

YOUNG ADULT

A Gentle Tyranny Realms of Light Shadow

A Gentle Tyranny by Jess Corban (Wander, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers) Realms of Light by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media) Shadow by Kara Swanson (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive print copies of The Christy Award finalist titles from one category of their choice!

The Christy Award 2021 Finalists JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight November 3, 2022 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on November 10, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js


REGISTER FOR THE CHRISTY AWARD 2022 EVENTS

Art of Writing on November 17, 12:30-5 pm at Lipscomb University in Nashville $99 A conference for writers, storytellers, and publishing curators.

The Christy Award Gala on November 17, 7-9 pm at Lipscomb University in Nashville $89 Celebrate this year’s finalists and winners with authors, editors, publishers, and readers!

Bundle the Art of Writing Conference & The Christy Award Gala $139

REGISTER

The Christy Award® is a program of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) and is the foremost award honoring and promoting excellence in Christian fiction since 1999. For more information about ECPA, visit ECPA.org. For more information about the Christy Awards and Art of Writing conferences, visit ChristyAwards.com or email TheChristyAward@ecpa.org


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Best wishes–I’m so happy in advance for the person who wins this giveaway!

Enjoy! –Wren

“My Jesus” ~ a review of singer Anne Wilson’s lovely new book (& giveaway, ends 11/8/22)

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Have you had the chance to listen to singer Anne Wilson’s song, My Jesus, yet? The #1 Christian song of 2021, it encapsulates the story of the Wilson family’s loss of Anne’s eldest brother, Jacob–and how, despite that unbearable loss, Anne’s Jesus was there, and showed Himself in a multitude of ways to the Wilsons. In Anne’s new book of the same name, the singer/songwriter shares the story of her family, their loss, and the ways He moved in healing and their lives. My Jesus: From Heartache to Hope is a remarkable and moving book, and Momentum Influencer Network provided a copy for me–plus a copy for one reader to win. Keep reading for more on the book and how you can win an advanced reader copy for yourself.

About My Jesus:

My Jesus is Anne Wilson’s story of life, joy, and tragedy–and how a good God’s love and care was beside her all the way.

Anne and her family lost Jacob Wilson, Anne’s brother, in a car accident when he was only 25. Grief, shock, and anguish overwhelmed them all, and they began the walk that no one wants through the valley of the shadow of death. In My Jesus, Anne shares her story; not only what happened, but the ways God worked for her family in healing and moving them all into new callings and new seasons. It is a remarkable and intimate memoir, of a young woman who’d experienced inexplicable pain and loss…but also of how God brought her hope, new life, and grace.

“Whatever you are feeling, God can handle it—all of it. The tears, screams, and questions. God invites you to let Him tend to your heart.”

–Anne Wilson

It’s also a book which will come alongside those who are suffering, who need God’s comfort at their deepest point of pain. Anne understands that, and she freely and openly shares her own walk of grief, and how God met her, spoke to her, and ministered to her; and in so doing, ministered to those who heard her and listened to her music.

My impressions

Pain is not my favorite.

In fact, I’ve spent many years of my life boxing it up and tucking it away in my heart. Sometimes, I’ve felt like I didn’t have time to grieve, or I had to care for others in their grief. But I think that the bottom line is that I likely didn’t ever learn *how* to grieve. That it’s okay to have big emotions (God didn’t make us robots, after all; He made us human) and even to let those out. And that boxing up that pain just leaves it for later…and in that process, it can even make us harden our hearts.

Recently, however, I’ve learned more about that. That it’s okay to *feel* those big and overwhelming emotions. To sit in them. And, that that is part of the process of moving through grief.

How wonderful, therefore, it has been to read Anne Wilson’s moving, lovingly-written My Jesus. She knows about grief; overwhelming, horrible, terrible grief. And while she (and we) would never have wished the events upon her that placed her in the valley of the shadow, we can learn about God’s goodness, healing, and intimate presence by reading about the ways she walked through it, and how God met her there.

Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7 MEV

Anne openly and honestly shares about her loss, and her experience (and her family’s) walking out the years after Jacob’s accident and death. I find it incredibly remarkable that at such a young age, she opened herself to God’s presence, and His hand moving her through the days and months after that loss. She learned SO much about how to walk through suffering; and she shares that with her readers, and also how we can see God’s movements and calls to us in those times. Really, her entire ministry seems to be about worshiping God and telling the truth about His goodness in the midst of pain–and how He is there with us in the valleys.

Sometimes I think as Christian women, or as parents, we feel that we have to hold ourselves together, to be positive. For me, that has too often caused me to box up and shove down my pain. Unfortunately I found that the boxed-up pain never goes away…and it’s going to make itself known somehow. Isn’t it a comfort to be reminded God made all of us, emotions included? I love Anne’s recounting of her journey, her humanity; and that God could handle everything that she was going through. Not only that, He WANTED to help her with it.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough to you. You will be blessed and helped by Anne’s story–and by the goodness of the God who authored it.

My favorite moments from the book

As you can see in the photo above, I tabbed a LOT of pages that spoke to my heart in a special way. Here are a few of them that might speak to you as well!

  • “But more real than the Enemy’s whispered lies is the reality that God draws near to our shattered hearts. In His goodness, He enters our pain…At the worst moment of my life, God spoke to me and asked me to trust Him; He promised to help me through it. He did not turn His back on me. He came in even closer.” (p. 52)
  • “Here is what I learned: When the pain, memories, and what-ifs overwhelm you, surrender them to God. Take every thought captive to the truth (2 Corinthians 10:5). Give God what you yourself cannot bear…The way out is not through your own strength, but through surrendering to God and allowing Him to lift you out.” (p. 121)
  • “When a longing for Jacob was triggered, I no longer distracted myself from the pain. I let myself sit in it. I let myself feel it…I trusted God in other areas of my life, and I could trust Him with my painful emotions.” (p. 183)

Where you can buy My Jesus

Just click on the “Buy Link” below. That will take you to the Amazon page where you can purchase the My Jesus book.

Buy Link

And…how you can enter to win a copy!

You can enter to win an advanced reader copy (galley) of Anne Wilson’s book, My Jesus. To enter, just click on the link below that says, “Enter here!” That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes on 11/8/22. One winner will be selected to win. US only.

Enter here!

Bless you! –Wren

Disclosure:

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Books for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

Enter to win a Starbucks Gift Card & a Floral Travel Mug in the Thanks a Latte Giveaway Hop (closed)

**Congratulations to Teresa A., the winner!**

Hi darlings!

I’m so excited to be joining with MamatheFox and lots of other amazing bloggers for the Thanks a Latte Giveaway Hop! We’re all giving away some amazing prizes and I’d love for you to enter my giveaway, and everyone else’s! Keep reading for more on how to enter.

The Thanks a Latte Giveaway Hop page

To visit the Thanks a Latte Giveaway Hop page, where you’ll be able to see and visit all the giveaways, click on the blue InLinkz button below (the one with the frog on it). From that main page, you’ll see all the participating blogs. Click on each one’s highlighted link to visit their giveaways, and you’ll be able to enter them!

The FINCHNWREN blog’s giveaway

The FINCHNWREN blog is giving away a coffee-themed prize package to one reader! This prize package includes:

  • a Harvest Green Studio Reusable Bamboo Fibre Mug. This GORGEOUS reusable travel mug is BPA free, made with bamboo fibre (as they’d say in the UK). The mug is top-rack dishwasher-safe, and the lid must be hand-washed. There is a silicone coffee sleeve (I think this part must also be washed by hand.
  • a $5.00 Starbucks gift card

Y’all, I LOVE this travel mug! It is my favorite color and I was seriously considering keeping it for myself. Obviously I didn’t! 🙂

To enter the FINCHNWREN giveaway:

Just click on the link below that says “Enter here!” That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway ends 11/15/22. One winner will win both items in the FINCHNWREN prize package.

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure:

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

“SCARS” by Linda K. Rodante ~ a book review and giveaway (ends 11/2/22)

#sponsor #partner

What a fascinating book Linda K. Rodante has written in SCARS–gangs, overseas missions, forgiveness, pain, ministry, and prayer–all woven together beautifully. Let me share more about this book–plus, you’ll have an opportunity to enter a giveaway!

Welcome to the Blog + Review Blitz for SCARS by Linda K. Rodante, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: SCARS Series: Spiritual Warfare #4 Author: Linda K. Rodante Publisher: independently published Release Date: September 2022 Genre: Contemporary Christian Romantic Suspense

He tried to leave the past behind, but it won’t leave him…

Ex-gang member Garrett Lovett is a new creature in Christ. At least, he’s trying to be. He’s got a wholesome routine, a place on the IronWorks football team, and a pretty woman he wants to know better. But when the old gang resurfaces with the ultimatum to re-up or face consequences, Garrett has tough decisions to make. These guys know how to get to him—his addictions, his fears. When things get life-threatening, Garrett must decide if this God he’s heard about is real or not.

And if so, can he rescue Garrett and those he loves before it’s too late?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda K. Rodante is a Florida transplant now living in Tennessee. She loves sweet tea, apple butter and both the mountains and the oceans. Her work with crisis pregnancy centers and anti-trafficking groups gave her a heart for women struggling in today’s society, while still respecting the role God has given men.

She writes Christian romantic suspense novels. Her books wrap sweet romance in real-life issues women face today with an edge of mystery and suspense. She desires to entertain and encourage women in their walk with the Lord. Her books can be found on Amazon She’s a past finalist of ACFW’s Genesis contest and a member of Word Weavers International.

Connect with Linda by visiting lindarodante.wordpress.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a signed copy of WARRIOR (Spiritual Warfare Series #1) and $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight October 26, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 2, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

My thoughts about SCARS

Although I’m new to author Linda K. Rodante’s Spiritual Warfare Series, book #4, SCARS, provided great backstory so that I understood more about her main characters and the IronWorks ministry and church. In addition to its fantastic narrative! Protagonist Garrett Lovett lives and works on the IronWorks property. (Currently, he and his fellow dorm residents are digging up and preparing the ground for a new football field.) He is new to the church biz, as he might describe it. He’s attending services, and he enjoys the presence of God at the Friday night prayer and worship meetings. But he’s not quite sure that he could call himself a Christian. He’s got a lot of past failures as a former gang member. Forgiveness seems, in some cases, impossible to extend. And the young woman that has attracted his attention, Ryann? He’s been told that the policy is “hands-off” for the guys who are former gang members.

Ryann has her own healing to do. She lives with Sharee and John, who’ve returned recently from overseas long-term missions. They’ve got a full house (Sharee is pregnant, plus there are two busy little boys AND a remodel going on). But Ryann left a difficult situation in her own home, and needed a safe and good place to live. And while Ryann *has* noticed Garrett at IronWorks, she has painful issues from her own past that keep popping up, no matter how hard she tries to force them back down in her heart. But they are impacting her day-to-day life. And even more.

And there’s also a villain in the story. Someone is tagging, defacing, and spray-painting extremely rude words on the church building.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:12-13 (NIV)

I really loved Rodante’s way of telling a story. She has the ability to move her characters into your heart, even with all their struggles–and perhaps, in the process, might even show you something about yourself! I found her habit of opening each SCARS chapter with a pertinent Bible verse both inspirational and refreshing. SCARS’ characters are part of the larger story we all walk in, where God is the Writer. We may be covered with our own scars inside and out; but we can have the hope, as God’s children that those scars will be covered and healed. We’re all in process after all, aren’t we–even as Garrett, Ryann, and their friends are.

SCARS is a wonderful book. And you might just find God working on your own heart as you read it.

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Brushstrokes from the Past” ~ a review plus a giveaway (ends 10/31/22)

#sponsor #partner

Rembrandt. Swords. Nazis. A Resistance.

What more do you need to captivate your book-loving imagination? Fortunately, I was provided a copy of a book which contains all of these: Heidi Eljarbo’s Brushstrokes from the Past. And Heidi and JustRead Publicity Tours are sharing about this–plus providing a fantastic Instagram giveaway that you can enter!

About Brushstrokes from the Past, from the publisher

⇒ Book Name Brushstrokes from the Past

⇒ Author Heidi Eljarbø

⇒ Publisher Independently Published

⇒ Tagline from the author and publisher:

WWII and the mid-seventeenth century are entwined in this fourth dual timeline novel about Nazi art theft, bravery, friendship, and romance.

Series: Soli Hansen Mysteries #4
Publisher: Independently Published
Release Date: September 20, 2022
Genre: Christian Dual Timeline Historical Fiction/Mystery

WWII and the mid-seventeenth century are entwined in this fourth dual timeline novel about Nazi art theft, bravery, friendship, and romance.

April 1945. Art historian Soli Hansen and her friend Heddy arrive at an excavation site only to find Soli’s old archeology professor deeply engrossed in an extraordinary find in a marsh. The remains of a man have lain undisturbed for three centuries, but there’s more to this discovery…

As Soli tries to understand who the baroque man was and discovers what he carried in a sealed wooden tube, problems arise. A leak reveals the finds to the notorious Lieutenant Colonel Heinz Walter, and soon, both Nazi elite and the Gestapo are after the treasure.
When Heddy and the professor disappear along with the artwork, Soli and her resistance group must find them before it’s too late.

1641. In Amsterdam, French musketeer Claude Beaulieu has had his portrait done by his close friend and artist Rembrandt van Rijn. When a band of thieves steal the precious painting, Claude and his wife Annarosa Ruber pick up their swords and a few belongings and go after the culprits.

Set in Norway during the tumultuous last days of the second world war, as well as the peak of the glorious baroque art period, these two stories are a must for readers who love historical fiction with adventure, suspense, and true love that conquers all.

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, Kathleen McGurl, Rhys Bowen, and Katherine Neville.

Giveaway! Enter to win from Heidi Eljarbo!

One winner will receive print copies of two Heidi Eljarbo books: Brushstrokes from the Past and Secrets of Rosenli Manor in this Instagram giveaway. Keep reading for more on how to enter.

TO ENTER

⇒ LIKE, SAVE, and SHARE this post for Brushstrokes from the Past

⇒ FOLLOW these two Instagram accounts: @authorheidieljarbo @justreadtours

⇒ TAG a friend (up to 3x per post).

⇒ VISIT each hosted post of this tour for more entries. Schedule at @justreadtours. (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics. Instagram is not affiliated with nor responsible for this giveaway. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on October 31, 2022.)

My thoughts about Brushstrokes from the Past

First, did you happen to see the film, Woman in Gold; or The Monuments Men? Both deal, from quite different perspectives, with the subject of art looted by Nazis during the Second World War. According to the Smithsonian magazine, “some 600,000 artworks (were looted) from Jews during World War II.” Others estimate a higher number of 650,000 sculptures, paintings, and cultural treasures that were taken from individuals, synagogues, churches, and museums. Although some have been recovered (or lawsuits to regain them are pending), others still hang in museums or seem to be missing entirely.

So. With that preface, let me tell you about Heidi Eljarbo’s wonderful dual-timeline Brushstrokes from the Past, which uses the art theft by WWII Nazis as part of its storyline. When Soli Hansen’s former professor shows her an unexpected find of an art treasure–a Rembrandt, no less–she is thrilled and they make plans to hide the art. But when Soli arrives the next morning to retrieve the art, it is gone; along with the professor. And she can’t find her Resistance friend Heddy anywhere. Soli’s nemesis (although he wouldn’t call himself that), Nazi Lt. Colonel Heinz Walter, has just arrived in Oslo again, and Soli suspects him. And her involvement with the Resistance must stay hidden. But Soli MUST find Heddy, her old professor, and the Rembrandt before something nefarious happens to them all.

Back in the past, Claude Beaulieu and his wife discover, after an evening out, art thieves whom they surprise in the act. The two skilled swordsmen (yes, Claude is actually a musketeer, and his wife Annarosa is also quite gifted in the art) disarm and take captive the thieves, and wound one of them. Unfortunately, he’s the one who gets away with Beaulieu’s portrait, painted by the couple’s friend Rembrandt. But Claude and Annarosa are not willing to let the painting go without a fight.

Heidi Eljarbo has created an unusual and highly readable novel set in two fascinating eras; Rembrandt’s, of the 1640s, and the other set in the 1940s just before the ending of World War II. These time periods are beautifully recreated by Eljarbo, and peopled with the actual, in Rembrandt’s era, and the fictional, in WWII Oslo, Norway. I loved reading Brushstrokes of the Past. What a fascinating combination of historical events split by hundreds of years; yet Eljarbo makes both of them seem very alive with her characters and their lives. Do pick up a copy of this book; it’s a warm and inviting (despite the wartime circumstances) read. Especially if you love history or art.

Where to purchase this book

Brushstrokes from the Past is available at Amazon. Click the previous highlighted link to go to its purchase page.

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Defending Honor” ~ new Elite Guardians Novel (review & giveaway, ends 10/24/22)

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I’ve just finished the third of Lynette Eason’s Elite Guardians novels, this time penned by author Kelly Underwood. Defending Honor is an engaging read–let me tell you more about it, plus how you can enter to win book swag on Instagram!

About Defending Honor

⇒ Book Name Defending Honor

⇒ Author Kelly Underwood & Lynette Eason

⇒ Publisher Sunrise Publishing

⇒ She’ll have to pretend to be his wife to save his life…but what will it cost her heart?

Laila Rabbinowitz is all business. Tough and stoic, she was the perfect Mossad agent…until a terrible betrayal led to her worst nightmare. Being a bodyguard with the Elite Guardians allows her to keep her heart safe—she’ll never let anyone close enough to betray her again. And she’s certainly not going to trust anyone who doesn’t earn it.

Billionaire and former playboy Preston Whittaker walked away from his famous family after a terrible event, but then his father and brother are killed in a suspicious boating accident. Since he’s next in line to helm the family business, now someone wants him dead. Preston needs someone by his side 24/7, and the only solution is a fake marriage.

In order to keep him safe, Laila will have to convince everyone that she and Preston are in love. She’s used to putting her life on the line for a client. But what will this case cost her heart?

Book three of the riveting, high-octane world of the Elite Guardians reboot!

Enter to win this Defending Honor Instagram giveaway

⇒ Giveaway – (1) winner will receive a paperback copy of Defending Honor, plus an Elite Guardians mug.

TO ENTER

⇒ LIKE, SAVE, and SHARE this post: Defending Honor JustRead Insta post

⇒ FOLLOW these Instagram accounts @bestinsuspense @lynetteeason @sunrisemediagroup @justreadtours

⇒ TAG a friend (up to 3x per post).

 VISIT each hosted post of this tour for more entries. Schedule at @justreadtours. (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics. Instagram is not affiliated with nor responsible for this giveaway. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on October 24, 2022.)

A brief summary

You know that a former Mossad agent–who’s female–is going to be a tough and resilient person.

With a dual citizenship in Israel and America, Laila Rabbinowitz grew up able to speak several languages. She adored being in the Mossad until an act of treachery ruined not only her desire to work for her agency, but her ability to trust in others. She relocated to America and joined the Elite Guardians, a private security agency comprised of exceptional women with extraordinary skills.

Laila loves being with the Elite Guardians. And she loves her job and using her martial arts black belts. But close relationships? Those are more difficult for her. Laila keeps everyone at a distance; a cordial one, but a distance all the same.

Until she meets Preston Whittacker, her newest client. After his father and brother die suddenly in a boating accident, Preston unwillingly returns to take the reins of the family business. He doesn’t think he needs any help. Until there are two attempts on his life…in one day. Neither Preston nor Laila really wants to work with the other. Especially when it’s decided that the best way to keep Laila’s protection detail over Preston secret is to tell everyone that she is his new wife.

As they spend time together and play their roles, the two surprisingly find much to admire about the other. Could there actually be a relationship in store for them?

…and my thoughts

Laila is a fascinating protagonist. She’s lethally powerful in martial arts. She’s observant, prepared, ready for any kind of physical confrontation (be it physical or verbal). But her heart, broken not only in childhood but by her Mossad experiences, is locked up tight.

Preston is just as unlikely to engage in a new relationship. After a playboy billionaire life culminating in disaster in his young adult years, he disappeared and lived in a tiny town where no one cared about his money or his past. He never wanted a bodyguard, but he’s appreciative of Laila’s skills and finds himself drawn more and more to her.

Kelly Underwood creates an engaging and captivating story with Laila and Preston, and the mystery of who wants to destroy him. Their backstories and emotional tangles are fascinating to unwind, and readers will long for their clean romance to continue. IF they can both stay alive, that is!

Pick up a copy of Defending Honor. You will LOVE Laila’s and Preston’s story and author Underwood’s way with words and story. Lynette Eason and Kelly Underwood, keep these novels coming!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Range” ~ a book review & giveaway (ends 10/25/22)

#sponsor #partner

Range JustRead Blog + Review Blitz Welcome to the Blog + Review Blitz for Range by Ronie Kendig, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Range

Title: Range Series: The Metcalfes #3 Author: Ronie Kendig Publisher: Task Force Press Release Date: September 30, 2022 Genre: Clean with faith elements, Romantic Suspense

He’s back and he’s out for blood

Fed up with living in the shadow of his brothers, Range Metcalfe struck out to carve a name for himself—one written in the blood of many a terrorist. Now, he’s targeting the notorious Madam of Kandahar, who has trafficked children and women. Finally given the green light, he captures her and quickly finds himself entrenched up in a deadly encounter that forces him into the Afghan wilderness—with the madam. Ten years trapped in human trafficking and five of those spent overseeing a compound, Kasra Jazani has little left of her soul. No longer able to live with herself, she takes matters into her own hands and coordinates an escape, a massive coup against the man who has kept her and so many others captive. They flee into the night—right into the fierce and capable hands of American operators, who ruin everything and put lives at risk. Livid, she knows death is coming for them, because she also holds a very dangerous, very powerful secret: the name of the man at the top of the trafficking ring. Now that monster wants her—and her American protector—dead.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ronie Kendig

Ronie Kendig is a bestselling, award-winning author of over thirty books. She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband have returned to their beloved Texas after a nearly ten-year stint in the Northeast. They survive on Sonic runs, barbecue, and peach cobbler that they share–sometimes–with Benning the Stealth Golden. Ronie’s degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters.

Connect with Ronie by visiting roniekendig.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a signed copy of Range and an Operation Underground t-shirt.

Range JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight October 18, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on October 25, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

My thoughts about Range

Range, Ronie Kendig’s third book in her Metcalfe family saga (The Metcalfes #3) is not to be missed.

I’ve read and reviewed books 1 and 2 (Stone and Willow). I absolutely love the Metcalfe family and their devotion and singleminded commitment to freeing those who are trapped as victims in the nightmare of human trafficking. These novels went straight to my heart, moved me to pray, and caused me to keep an eye peeled for the next book in the series.

But Range and Kasra captured my heart so deeply that I’m sorry that I’ve finished the book…and I’m telling you, I blew through the reading of it as quickly as I could. Range: deeply hurt by a brother; fiercely committed to ending human trafficking and rescue its victims; and fearless warrior. And Kasra: hiding a myriad of experiences, brokenness, and secrets under a well-maintained exterior; and executing a plan to free the captives. In Range, they’re thrown together in a situation that would kill most people. But these two? They’re not most people.

What if the person you’re assigned to rescue is the epitome of everything you’ve come to hate and despise, that you’ve committed ten years of your life to destroying? And what if the person who’s rescuing you has ruined your plans and is, you fear, just like every other enemy who’s every taken advantage of you? The journey that Range and Kasra undertake will pit them against their worst fears and judgments. And might just be full of that thing that neither of them ever expected.

Human trafficking, and its cruelty and destruction, is the theme of all the Metcalfe family books. That is most definitely addressed in Range. But Kendig also uses her book and her characters to dig deep into the human condition, and the hearts of humans. While she does these, she also has created two people you’ll never forget. Get yourself a copy of Range and fall in love with the Metcalfe family, with Range and with Kasra; and remember to pray for those who haven’t yet been rescued from trafficking.

–Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.