Posts Tagged ‘blogwords’







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Lori will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!





Lori Benton’s novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she expertly brings to life the colonial and early federal periods of American history. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards; The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn; Christy finalist The Wood’s Edge; A Flight of Arrows; Christy finalist Many Sparrows; and The King’s Mercy. She lives in Oregon where she enjoys hiking and landscape photography.










Lori is offering a signed copy of The King’s Mercy.



#Blogwords, New Week New Face, Guest Post, Lori Benton, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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Making Historical Fiction Come to Life


Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? Historical fiction allows us to do that in our minds, both when we read it and when we write it.


However, writing historical fiction comes with a solemn responsibility—to accurately portray the past to honor the real men and women who lived during that era. Remember, our novels might be the only history our readers get.


That’s why solid research is vital for the historical novelist. We need a broad foundation of general knowledge about the era for perspective, plus deep knowledge about elements specific to our stories. Accurate research provides a sense of authenticity that draws readers into the story—but errors can yank knowledgeable readers right out of the story.


Historical fiction comes with benefits—built-in conflict, danger, and interest in everyday activities and settings. This is rich material for novelists! We can use these to make our historical novels come to life.


Research can yield a bounty of plot and story ideas.

  • Historical events: these can serve as crucial turning points or as the backbone of your story. For example, I’m in the middle of writing a three-book series centered on D-day.
  • Weather and natural disasters: your research may turn up information about storms, floods, fires, and more. Great conflict! I was even “blessed” with the actual eruption of Mount Vesuvius in March 1944 that I was able to use in a novel.
  • Social events: was there a big festival or parade or concert in your novel’s location? These can be fun to use in your plot.
  • Cultural mores: what were the attitudes about race, class, and gender? These can create conflict that can drive an entire novel, spark clashes at vital moments, or provide an underlying sense of tension.


Also, systems were different, creating possibilities for drama in your story.

  • Health care: illness and injuries are standard plot devices in any genre, but in historical settings, the danger increases. Did your era have ambulances? Antibiotics? Knowledge of germ theory?
  • Justice system: laws, law enforcement, prisons, and the criminal justice system have changed over time. How do they affect your character—whether a victim of crime, a perpetrator, or wrongly accused?
  • Transportation and communication: in an age of cheap flights and Skype, we forget how long it took and how difficult it used to be to travel or send messages. Delays and other hassles can create tension and misunderstandings.


Research can also enliven the most mundane scene. Your characters will be doing their routine tasks, but your reader will be fascinated because of how things have changed.

  • Occupations: show your character on the job. Some occupations aren’t seen much nowadays, like blacksmiths. And other occupations still exist, but practices have changed. Not only are the routine activities interesting to a modern reader, but crises on the job can create plot points.
  • Family life: what were the courtship rituals, marriage roles, and child care practices in your era? These can spark story and scene ideas.
  • Food: a scene with characters making dinner can be bland in a modern setting, but fascinating in a historical setting. My 1940s characters have to deal with ration coupons, shortages, and meatless meals. They make Jell-O salads and Spam-birds. Don’t ask.


Research can also help you dress up your setting.

  • Your location in historical context: London in 1944 was very different from London today—my characters encounter bomb damage, barrage balloons overhead, and uniforms from many Allied nations. Bringing out these differences creates interest for your reader.
  • Housing: heating, lighting, furniture, floor plans, standards and practices of housekeeping—these have all changed. Adding historical bits to your character’s home can bring your story to life.
  • Clothing: details of clothing can immediately transport readers to a bygone era. My World War II readers want to see the leather flight jackets and service caps worn at a jaunty angle. They want to see cherry red lipstick and gloves and handkerchiefs. Clothing can even cause obstacles—long skirts, corsets, girdles, and high heels are not practical in chase scenes. Use that.


Done well, historical fiction gives readers a window to the past and inspiration for the present. Happy writing!





Sarah Sundin is a bestselling author of historical novels, including The Sky Above Us and The Sea Before Us. Her novel The Sea Before Us is a finalist for the 2019 Reader’s Choice Award from Faith, Hope, and Love, When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award and won the INSPY Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California and enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups.










Sarah is offering a copy of her novel, The Sky Above Us, winner’s choice of paperback or CD audiobook. U.S. mailing addresses only for print copy.

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 17 June and end at 12:00 A.M. on 24 June. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.





#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post and Giveaway, Sarah Sundin

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A lady I used to go to church with was vehement that single moms don’t deserve kudos on Father’s Day. Claimed it was tantamount to usurping the child’s father of his rights and privileges. While she had a valid point, it is not the only perspective. Case in point—my story.


My husband was involved precious little while we were married, even less after our divorce. To the point of oblivion. I usurped nothing from him, or his role as father. He abdicated, and I stepped into a role I neither wanted nor fit. One that took away from my heart-role as mother; juggling both roles was a challenge no person was meant to bear.


Today is to honor fathers. But not biological fathers only. Men—and women—who have stepped into that role in the life of a child. Who have filled a void in a child’s heart, lifted a child’s vision, self-esteem. Changed the life of a child, even if in some small way only.


Today I honor adoptive fathers, step-fathers, foster dads, granddads and uncles who stepped up to the plate, and honorary dads—those who, by whatever connection, never wore the title of father, but nurtured a child who needed a father’s attention. To the ones who take kids who are not their own to ball games and dance practice, to movies and skating rinks. Who teach manly skills like—and forgive the stereotyping—fishing and mowing the lawn and building tree houses. Who help with homework and mundane tasks, who teach manners and morals and courage. Who teach and encourage a child to honor and respect their mother, their teachers and scout leaders.


I bow to you, and I thank you for making our world a better place. One act of kindness, one piece of your heart, one child at a time.


Above all, I honor our God and Father of all. Who is there in times of distress and darkness, Who is with us even when we don’t acknowledge Him. Even when we turn and walk away from Him. Who is ever faithful, and waiting for us with open arms. Who holds us in the palm of His hand, and lavishes us with love so tender and Divine.


A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. Psalm 68:5


Thank You, Father God, and all dads everywhere, for all you do.



#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Good Good Father

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“Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet tea.”

“We must first learn what constitutes good writing, things like point of view, show vs telling, characterization, plot, conflict, etc., before we can understand when and how to break the rules. When you have mastered your craft, you can then know how to do it with panache.”




Congratulations to


Ane will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!





While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and bestselling novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast).

Ane firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Her passion when she isn’t writing her Southern-fried Fiction is Community Theatre. She’s Creative/Managing Director of Players Guild@Sugar Hill, a non-profit Community Theatre troupe, where she and her husband act, direct, build sets, and are chief go-fors.

Contributor to the award-winning literary site, The Write Conversation, Ane resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and a rascally Rottweiler.

You can find Ane on her website and blog: http://www.anemulligan.com. If you’d like to see a map of Chapel Springs showing you where all the characters live, visit http://www.anemulligan.com















“Everything in your story should have a reason to be there. Even the description of where your heroine is should have a purpose. Make its purpose more than just showing the where or what. Let it tell the reader something about the character.”




Ane is offering a copy print or ebook of A Southern Season: Four Stories from a Front Porch Swing.



#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Ane Mulligan, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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“Books that wrap sweet romance in real life issues women face today, then add an edge of mystery and suspense.”


“As a Christian I wanted to write something that glorified God…”

Please join me in giving a feathered welcome to Linda Rodante.



Cake or Cookies Cookies

Call or Text Test

Dogs or Cats  Dogs

Eggs or Pancakes A draw

Facebook or Twitter  Facebook

Paperback or Kindle  Kindle

Thornton or Darcy (Too hard. Cheez, and I had to think about this. )

Yoga Pants or Jeans Jeans

(I know people like yoga pants—and some Christian guys try hard not to gawk—but really a certain body style and certain age should just not wear them without a long covering shirt. And be mindful of causing your brother to stumble.)


rem:  Hullo, Linda, and welcome to my little nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

LINDA:  I was raised in Florida. I loved and still love the swamps and beaches there. My family lived in Ocala National Forest and managed the recreation area of Juniper Springs for a number of years. rem: way cool!  I loved it. My husband and I are now living in the foothills of Tennessee. I love Tennessee, too. I’ve been married to the same man forever—no, not quite that long. Haha. J I have two sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and six grandchildren. Yay!


While my sons were in school, I worked with a crisis pregnancy center and with anti-trafficking groups in the Tampa Bay area, and that gave me a heart for hurting women, and a respect for the roles both men and women have in our society and in God’s plan.


Being a long time member of both the American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers International has helped me tremendously in honing my writing. My books are Christian romantic suspense. They wrap sweet romance in real-life issues women face today intertwined with a mystery and suspense. My desire is to make the faith walk of each character real—and reveal God as the reality that He is.


rem:  Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

LINDA:  Then they would know them! J rem: BAHAHAHAHAH  All right, here goes. I send texts to myself that contain pages of my work-in-progress. Then I have to transcribe it! Second, I “attend” Weight Watchers every couple of years and yet drop out while still paying for months. Sigh. Okay, third. I love silence. Yes. I can go for hours without the TV or music or anything on. Windows closed. Love it. rem: YESSSS!!! Me too!

rem:  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

LINDA: Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” This was the first verse that ever “zipped” into my heart. My first verse to memorize. I was a teenager.

rem:  Such a wonderful promise. What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

LINDA:  On my desk-My Theo Classic Organic, Fair Trade Chocolate Bar. It’s the type of chocolate that my character Alexis Jergenson (in Looking for Justice) eats when she moves to Tennessee and finds herself lonely. Of course, she doesn’t stay lonely long because she runs right into Luke Stephens and knocks the man down a flight of steps…

rem:  I remember that scene! If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

LINDA:  Okay I like U.S. Marshal Marcus O’Malley in Dee Henderson’s The Guardian. I just reread this, and I love this kind of man’s man who is still secure enough to admit he’s enraptured by and loves a woman. And he’s nice! Oh yeah, he’s fiction….


rem:  What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

LINDA:  Wow. Christian fiction like Christian music, concerts and movies brings God into our life. It uplifts us, encourages us, even gives us some spiritual answers we might have been looking for. Jesus told parables. He put illustrations to his words. That’s what Christian fiction can do. I am such a fan! When reading secular fiction or listening to secular music or watching movies without God, we begin to pick up the false thinking that we can solve our own problems or that our physical might can or having enough money can. We can begin to buy into the notion (even for a short time) that there is life without God. Christian fiction puts us back into the reality that God is there and he’s real, that Jesus is our Savior; and without Him, we are lost.

rem:  Linda, I love your mention of Jesus’ parables, and His way of bringing Truth to a form people can understand. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

LINDA:  I just said what a fan I am of Christian fiction, but there are two things that cause me to put a book down. First is bad language and/or explicit situations. There’s a lot of discussion about this, but an author can write, “He cursed.” He/she does not have to put the actual curse words down on the page for the reader to be offended at. Also, too steamy scenes can cause problems for both men and women. Let’s make sure Christian books draw the line at bedroom scenes or too steamy kissing. Yep. I said that. I like good kisses and electricity between romantic couples, but some “swoony” kisses can cross the line. My husband picked up a book by a well-known Christian writer and said later, “This is a Christian author?” He was referring to her steamy kissing scenes. And my husband is no prude.


The second thing that will cause me to put a book down is bad writing or dated writing. When I started writing, I received some really good advice from an editor. He told me to read as many books as I could that were published within the last five years. Then find a critique group. I did.


rem:  I hadn’t heard that about current versus outdated writing. Interesting thought. What are you reading right now?

LINDA:  I just downloaded Randy Alcorn’s Deadline. It’s an older book, but I haven’t read it yet.

rem:  That’s a new one to me. You have worked at a pregnancy center and with an anti-trafficking group. What can you share about your experiences? How has that work affected your faith?

LINDA:  My answers are too long already. J  rem: your answers are fine—this is your interview!  In both these environments, I saw the reality of what it means to be in desperate situations and not be able to see a way out. To have people push you toward wrong solutions. To be afraid. To be hopeless. God touched my heart with the cries of other women who did not have a loving home or supportive parents the way I did. My image of God was formed partly because of my upbringing. It was not perfect but it was loving. God showed me how life is for many others—hard and desperate. And how they need Him.

rem:  Linda, your story brings to mind how Jesus talked to people where they were at. You write powerful stories about uncomfortable topics. How did you decide to write in this vein?

LINDA:  It is all I can do. It is what God put in me. Life is real, people are hurting. I want to do what I can to help. I hope my books do that for some.

rem:  And that makes the best writing and the best stories. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

LINDA: I started reading at twelve and never stopped. Writing started a couple of years later. It just came from all the reading I’d done. I put it away for years after I married and had children, but God brought me back to it about twelve years ago. He is faithful.

rem:  What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

LINDA:  Read as many Christian books as you can that were written in the last five years. Join a critique book and have a thick hide. You want to learn to write well. Take writing classes even if you think you know how to write.

Another piece of advice I received was don’t fall in love with your own words. rem: but, but… LOL  Also, don’t think your first or second draft is good enough. And lastly, don’t be afraid to pay for a real editor’s edits. Your friends and relatives don’t ever want to hurt your feelings. Once you see a real editor’s edits, you will understand. And your writing will improve!


rem:  How do you choose your characters’ names?

LINDA:  Another hard one. They really just come to me. I’m writing and a name pops up. Once or twice, I’ve put the question out there on Facebook and asked for suggestions. J  I get a lot that way!

rem:  Yup. My characters “introduce” themselves to me, much as a real person would. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

LINDA:  No, I usually have just one scene. Just one that I feel the Lord gave me, and I start writing. In Warrior, I did not know that Reece belonged to a gang until half way through the book, and then I had to go back and do a lot of rewriting.

rem:  Not so different to how I do it. I love when my characters surprise me! Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

LINDA:  I am finishing up A Tamale Christmas, a novella, in time for Christmas in July (but it will be out in June). It was in a set at Christmas time, and to take it out of the set and make it a stand alone, I needed some revisions. Here’s the blurb:


Jessica Saltare is struggling with single mom status and its 24/7 demands, even as her heart turns over with each grin and giggle from her newborn. Juggling college classes on top of that? And her attraction to Manny Rodriguez? Is she crazy? Isn’t the burn from her past life enough of a reminder not to step into this cauldron?
Manny Rodriguez has left home and career for Appalachian Christian College. But life at the college is harder than expected. His Hispanic roots don’t sit well with some of the students. Plus, the icy responses from the only girl he’s interested in has left him with brain freeze. Should he admit defeat and return home or will God perform another Christmas miracle?



rem:  That sounds so cute! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

LINDA: I love it because it shows how God is able to overcome our prejudices, and I love the fact that the male and female protagonists get lost in a snow storm. I’m from Florida, so I’ve never been in a snow storm, and I loved writing this part and how the characters begin to understand each other during this time. It’s very romantic, too.

rem:  Please give us the first page of the book.



May, the last day of college before summer break

            The way the guy’s gaze dropped to her rounded abdomen made Jessica Saltare want to stamp her foot and sputter, “Don’t judge.” But she wouldn’t defend or explain or justify. She’d had enough of that. Instead she glanced along the walk to the college entryway then back at the young man in front of her.

            Eyes, deep brown and startled, rose to meet hers. “Oh, I…” His head swiveled toward the college parking lot. “I thought your husband…”

            “Professor Stephens is not my husband. He’s giving me a ride while my car is being fixed. Like I said, I’m not married.” She clutched the large Faded Glory purse close to her.

            Yeah, I know. It’s a Christian college. No one is supposed to be unmarried and pregnant. We’re all so perfect.

            “Oh.” The man ran his hand through coffee-colored hair that matched a scruffy beard. He cleared his throat. “Well, I’m here to check the college out. See what it’s like.”

            Jessica shifted her backpack to the other arm. Why had she packed so much stuff in it? Her feet swelled enough these days without the heavy bag.

            Turning her focus back to the man in front of her, she couldn’t think of anything to say that didn’t have to do with her whopping nine-month belly. Great first impression—a Christian college and an unmarried pregnant student.

            Nice-looking guy, too. Hispanic, maybe? Well… It wouldn’t make a difference, because he wouldn’t stay. She was sure her unwed status would drop the college to a minus status in his appraisal.

            She had to say something though. “Uh, so what’s your name again?”

            “Emmanuel Rodriquez. Manny. You can call me Manny.”

            “Oh. Well, it’s nice to meet you, Manny.” She shifted her weight once more. Not only did her feet ache, but her bladder was making its need known, too. She changed to the other foot. “I’m sure you’ll like Appalachian Christian College. It’s—”


            She turned. Professor Stephens climbed from his truck. He slipped his arms through his own backpack as he walked up the sidewalk. He reached for hers. “I’ll bring this. I thought your feet were swelling? You ought to find a seat somewhere.” He grinned at her as she shifted from one foot to the other. “Looks like you need to run for other reasons, too.”

            Jessica nodded. These days, when she had to go, she had to go. And everyone noticed.

            “Thanks, Professor Stephens.” She nodded at Manny as she turned toward the building in front of them. The administration building had a bathroom close to the front door. One she needed. “Manny is checking out the school. Maybe you could help him.”

            That was as much of an introduction as she had time for. She headed in a wobbly gait for the college’s front doors.


rem:  Linda, I love this!! I so love stories (see what I did there! tee hee hee) of imperfect Christians! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

LINDA:  I mentioned earlier that I hope readers see that God can overcome our prejudices—and that things are not always what they seem.

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

LINDA:  I really appreciate you, Robin. Thanks for doing this interview. And I thank the readers, too, for taking the time to read this and maybe leave a comment. I’d love to offer a signed paperback of A Tamale Christmas as a giveaway. It’s a short novella, so I will include a signed copy of Looking for Justice along with it!

rem:  So thoughtful and generous of you, Linda. Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!









“Life can yank the warmth and laughter right out of us some days, but God and his wisdom can restore it.”

“Take just this moment and look around you, look at your life. What things can you see and hear and smell that are blessings from God?”



Linda is offering a signed paperback of both A Tamale Christmas and Looking for Justice. Sorry, U.S. addresses only.

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at 12:oo A.M. on Thursday 13 June and end at 12:oo A.M  on Thursday 20 June. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.




#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview and Giveaway, Linda K. Rodante

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BLOGWORDS – Wednesday 12 June 2018 – SPECIAL EDITION – FOCUS


“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” – Carol Burnett


To that end, I have come to accept that some features on my blog must hibernate, if only for a season. I’ve had several months, close to a year now, of roller coaster fatigue, malaise, and brain fog.

As much as I enjoy Wreading Wednesday, First Line Friday, and What’s Cookin’ in Your Kitchen—and for as “little” time as those take to compose, together and week after week, it adds up. And eats up my precious time. Time I should be spending writing!

“God whispers to our hearts and our hearts whisper back in stories.” – Karen Ball


New Week New Face guest posts, Tuesday-Reviews-Day, and Chat Thursday interviews will remain, as will Front Porch Fellowship Sunday Devotions. Beyond that, I will be writing.

I am also forcing myself to curb my participation in blog promotion tours—‘cause I have this tendency to say yes to way too many! Oh, I’ll still do tours, just not jump at every.single.one! #moderationiskey


If you will, keep me in your prayers, that this lingering weariness eases, or abates altogether. Whether by medical attention, or by Divine whisper. Doesn’t really matter. I just need to not be so tired all the time.


 “Maybe you have to know the darkness to truly appreciate the light.”—Madeleine L’Engle

“There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” —Erin Hanson



#Blogwords, Special Edition, Focus, Reading, Writing, and Blogging

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When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king’s mercy–exile to the Colony of North Carolina–he’s indentured to Englishman Edmund Carey as a blacksmith. Against his will Alex is drawn into the struggles of Carey’s slaves–and those of his stepdaughter, Joanna Carey. A mistress with a servant’s heart, Joanna is expected to wed her father’s overseer, Phineas Reeves, but finds herself drawn instead to the new blacksmith. As their unlikely relationship deepens, successive tragedies strike the Careys. When blame falls unfairly upon Alex he flees to the distant mountains where he encounters Reverend Pauling, itinerate preacher and friend of the Careys, now a prisoner of the Cherokees. Haunted by his abandoning of Joanna, Alex tries to settle into life with the Cherokees, until circumstances thwart yet another attempt to forge his freedom and he’s faced with the choice that’s long hounded him: continue down his rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no man can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender, and perhaps Alex’s very life.



Lori Benton’s novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she expertly brings to life the colonial and early federal periods of American history. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards; The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn; Christy finalist The Wood’s Edge; A Flight of Arrows; Christy finalist Many Sparrows; and The King’s Mercy. She lives in Oregon where she enjoys hiking and landscape photography.









Such a rich tapestry, so vibrant a story—I was there, walking the plantation, on the trails and in the wilds, in the hull of the ship with its stink of abused humanity.

These characters became dear to me with every dashed hope and every nuance.

Oh, I so adored Joanna’s heart, her passion for the plight and injustice of the slave on her father’s plantation. My blood boiled at the abuses of, well, I’ll not say who; you’ll know soon enough when you read it.

The faith of Reverend Pauling, not of words only, but of action. Living and breathing the Word he taught.

My heart wept at the loss of Alex’s family, of the life he had known, and of his faith.

The layers of this story, so beautifully and poignantly told, each unfolding into the other. The journeys and paths crossed, so like life when the seeming insignificant moment or encounter becomes the pinpoint that changes everything.

Ms. Benton both creates such moments, and conveys them well, placing her reader in the midst of such moments.






I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.


#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, The King’s Mercy, Lori Benton

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