Barbara Barbara Brutt

I’m a 20-something hope-in-progress bent on growing despite the gritty, pot-holed road of adulthood. I believe words heal. I adore ice cream and only buy purses that provide room for a book or two.

All articles by Barbara

 

Book Review: The Wisdom of God by A.W. Tozer

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been enthralled with the idea of wisdom, better yet the wisdom of God. Early on, I remember reading the story of Solomon and how he asked God for wisdom when he could have asked for anything. But sometimes, I think Solomon, in all his wisdom, forgot how much he needed to depend on God’s wisdom and not his own, even if it was given by God. When Bethany House Publishers offered the chance...
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Author Pepper Basham Shares Her Favorite Day in the Blue Ridge Mountains

As I traveled for my first year in a new country (back in 2015), I met Pepper Basham through her first historical romance, The Thorn Bearer. I’ve always been a sucker for history and romance, but what captured my attention was Pepper Basham’s way of dealing with a difficult subject: abuse. Somehow, Pepper Basham developed a swoony romance while her heroine challenged her inner demons. Fast forward a year, and I ran into Pepper Basham (find her on Facebook, Twitter,...
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August 2017 Inspiration

I love putting together these inspiration posts every month. I mean, it’s a bit startling every time to realize another month has passed, but I just like sharing good music, books, and other random obsessions with you. When I used to only be a blog reader, I always loved #inspiration posts the most. So I hope you enjoy August 2017 Inspiration post! What I’m Being Inspired By I love a new month because a new month means another new beginning....
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Book Recommendation: A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

I tore through A Name Unknown like I had nothing else to do but read (if only that were true). I mean, I really had  a hard time putting it down, and I yearned for the moment I could pick up the book again. And I also so love working with Bethany House Publishers because they continually offer quality stories. Book Recommendation Review of A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White On a scale of cotton candy to Brussels sprouts,...
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Author Interview: God’s Mercies After Suicide by Jean Ann Williams

A few weeks ago, I found out a friend of a friend had lost a loved one to suicide. And then, more recently, we’ve all been shocked by the suicide of the Linkin Park member, Chester Bennington. I don’t know either of these people personally, and yet, I feel sadness. Tragedy like this (tragedy of any kind) is uncomfortable. Vastly uncomfortable. Honestly, before we get started, I have to admit that I didn’t want to touch this book (story) with...
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Celebrate Lit Giveaway: A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

One of my great joys is finding books and authors who write amazing stories, and I had the pleasure of meeting Roseanna White at a workshop last year. But, this is my first time reading any of her books, and I have to tell you that I so enjoyed it! Return next week to read my review and thoughts on A Name Unknown! (If you follow me on Goodreads or Instagram, you’ve already seen my review. But I’ll be expounding on...
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The Challenge of #LittleFiction

At the beginning of June, an Instagram challenge hosted by @jennybravobooks floated into my view thanks to @meghangorecki. The challenge was to write a #LittleFiction every day of the month. When I bopped into the challenge, I already knew I wouldn’t be able to do every day. But, flash fiction has always deeply intimidated. Writing short anything has never been my gift. I am wordy. I just am. And I accept it. But, trying out #LittleFiction was pretty fun for...
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Visiting Pittsburgh: 7 of the Best Places in the South Side

Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the South Side of Pittsburgh. A couple of specific things keep pulling me back to south of the city so I thought I’d share them with you. The coolest part is that I’m starting to become familiar with the South Side (aka I’m not using my GPS as much). Visiting Pittsburgh: 7 of the Best Places in the South Side 1. Iron City Circus Arts This is the main reason I’m constantly...
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Book Review: Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl

Working with Bethany House Publishers book review programs is one of my favorite parts of being a reader and a blogger. I love the chance to meet new authors. Since I’m constantly reading, being a part of this program seemed like a natural extension of my love. And, this time, I decided to read Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl. The cover and title hooked me. I absolutely and most certainly DO judge a book by its cover. And whoever came...
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July 2017 Inspiration

Despite knowing that July was coming, somehow it snuck up on me. But who can be mad at July for that? After all, we’re looking at a long weekend to celebrate the 4th of July! So it’s always fun to come up with these inspiration points. Of course, it also makes me scratch my head and wonder, “Is anything inspiring me?” What I’m Being Inspired By My life feels boring these days without the constant travels that I did while...
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Author Interview (and Giveaway): Sarah Jane Jacobs

One of my biggest delights as a reader, and now a book reviewer and blogger, is discovering new authors. It’s so fun to meet people who have dreamed up another world and then put the work in to create the story. And I just love the chance to ask them questions, usually just five. Today, I’m excited to introduce Sarah Jane Jacobs, author of Season of Hope. About the Author of the Season of Hope I began writing as a hobby...
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Book Recommendation (and Giveaway): Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Depression hounds the most unlikely people. As humans, we often make rash judgments on others based on social media and other factors, but we can’t truly know what struggles are hidden under the Snapchat filters. The reality of Depression shadows my life (I have loved ones with Depression) and the lives of others. In college, I recall a crush explaining to me that someone who had Depression just must not have enough faith in God to get better. Fury boiled...
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When Books Feel Sacred

Have you ever read a book that feels sacred? A book that speaks so deeply to your soul that you want to hold your breath and release it gently because to exhale with great power would sweep it away? As most of you know, I enjoy reviewing books. I adore reading books. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t. Books have been my best friends, my best escapes, and the most crazy adventures. I’ve almost always wished to live...
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One Instant Doesn’t Define You

Like most, I try to shake mistakes off and move on. I like to offer other human beings the benefit of the doubt: maybe that guy who just cut me off has a in-labor wife, maybe that snippy comment stemmed from a sleepless night, maybe my friend is too busy to text me back. Some days, I pick up litter and keep up with the news with TheSkimm. But sometimes, I don’t even realize that my thinking has gotten a little whacked...
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June 2017 Inspiration

I’m late for June’s inspiration post because I had too many wonderful books to share! I just wrote about Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette and Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands by Carrie Fancett Pagels. Both authors are pretty amazing. But I so enjoy creating this inspiration posts each month. So here’s JUNE! What I’m Being Inspired By I’m still in love with circus performance arts if you’re curious, but I’m trying not to overwhelm this space with...
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Author Interview (and Giveaway): Carrie Fancett Pagels

I met Carrie Fancett Pagels from the place where many good things come…the internet! We both attended an online party celebrating books, and I happened to win one of her giveaways. After reading her Christmas novellas, I knew I’d found a well-written author. So I’m thrilled to participating in a blog tour of her newest romance collection: Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands! Better yet, she’s agreed to answer a few of MY questions! Genre: Christian, Historical Publisher: Barbour Publication date: June...
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Book Recommendation: Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

I love being a part of book reviewer groups because I meet so many new authors. Two things drew me to Wings of the Wind: the cover and the heroine. I have a soft spot for a woman who chooses to dress up like a man to fight in a battle. Basically, if that’s part of the story, I want to read it. Does anyone else have a similar bent? Cordially Barbara Review On a scale of cotton candy to...
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What I Learned By Attending A Writers Conference

Almost three years ago now, a friend encouraged me to attend the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Yes, that is a mouthful. And so is #BRMCWC. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mixed up the words and letters of this conference. What I Learned By Attending A Writers Conference Never have I ever been a team spirit kind of girl. I don’t like big gatherings of people, and I just have no team spirit. Some of this...
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What To Do When You’re Not Athletic

Hi, I’m a book nerd, and for at least twenty-five of the years I’ve been alive, I’ve been a non-athlete. When others suggested any type of exercise, I grabbed a book and mumbled, “I’m not athletic.” Sure, my 13 years at a dance school count for something, but that was once a week and non-competitive. I didn’t practice at home, and I didn’t train at home. Basically, exercise was not on my radar. I’m not athletic. What To Do When...
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Spartan Race: sometimes we need to be carried

Like a dam breaking, the Spartan runners sprang across the starting line. My sister, Rachel, and I followed the crowd. After a quick stumble, I glued my eyes to the ground. Because of the many runners who had already left their footprints in the mud, the path was pockmarked with divets…perfect for a twisted ankle. As other Spartans raced past us, my sister chanted to me, “I’m so glad you came.” For you see, my sister is the Spartan sprinter and...
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10 Summer Reads for 2017

As the summer approaches, it’s time to grow our reading lists. And I’m on the lookout for wonderful books to sweep me away just as the sunny weather will. So I figured I’d share with you some perfect summer reads (and yes, this is a biased list of some of my favorites). [affiliate links in use. thank you for supporting my website.] 10 Summer Reads for 2017 At one time, I’m likely to have 2-4 different books going at once....
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May 2017 Inspirations

Is it really May? The thunderstorms break the quiet of winter while the neon green of spring slams my eyeballs on the daily. But best of all, flowers flaunt fabulous phases of furple, flue, and fwhites. Okay, sorry, but I couldn’t think of an appropriate f-word for colors. Shh. It’s okay. What I’m Being Inspired By What haven’t I been inspired by? Okay, well, Pinterest tracks my obsessions best of all, and I think sometimes I’d be embarrassed to have...
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7 Reasons I Love Aerial Silks

Sometimes I daydream about being able to fly. Yes, ridiculous, I know. But, I’ve always loved flying. While others say that flying in airplane terrifies them, I love it. So much so, I’ve considered getting my pilot license. But, then, one day, I learned that you could fly without wings. In the circus industry, any type of aerial silks, trapeze, pole, or hoop are considering flying. As an addict to adventure, whether physically traveling to a new country to exploring...
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Durban, South Africa: An Ode to Food

If you know me, you know I like food. Of course, as much as I love culinary delights, I’m also okay with pepper jack cheese and Wheat Thins. You’re just as likely to find me making a risotto as you are to find me eating scrambled eggs for dinner. Sometimes, I even wear lipstick and sweatpants….at. the. same. time. When I visited South Africa, my friend and I explored the city of Durban. And for me, exploring a city is...
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South Africa: Lion & Safari Park

I’ve never been interested in visiting Africa. While growing up, it seemed like everyone else wanted to go to Africa because it’s still such wild and needy continent. And yet, I had no interest. And then, a friend of mine moved to South Africa, and she bugged me to visit. And I’m glad that I visited. However, South Africa definitely cannot represent the continent of Africa. Just as Canadians would rather not be grouped into the image created by the...
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Book Recommendation: Just The Way You Are by Pepper Basham

I “met” Pepper Basham through my little sister, but when I say met, I mean that my sister met Pepper and then told me to read Pepper’s first book, The Thorn Bearer. And just like that, I became one of Pepper’s friendly stalkers. And, I guess I’m proud to say that I continue to fangirl over her books and creep on her Facebook. What I love about Pepper Basham’s writing is that she creates characters with deep wounds and then she...
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My 10-Hour Munich Layover

My 10-hour Munich layover followed a 7 1/2 hour flight from Toronto where I had My 12-Hour Toronto Layover. Planning for my 10-hour layover in Munich was more difficult because I had no idea what my energy level would be. Would I sleep on the airplane? Would my feet be dead from the previous day? After exploring Toronto, I boarded the airplane ready to sleep. And I did sleep. Kind of. My 10-Hour Munich Layover So I, of course, still...
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Book Recommendation: A Lady in Disguise by Sandra Byrd

If you’ve been following along with this website for a while, then you know that Sandra Byrd keeps topping my list of my favorite authors. Why? Because Sandra Byrd always delivers an intriguing plot, a sneaky villain, and a strong protagonist. Full disclosure: I receive a free copy of this book, but my opinions are my own. And I’m using affiliate links. While I love many authors, I promise that I’ll only ever share books that I really really liked...
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April 2017 Inspiration

April isn’t a month that I pay too much attention to, honestly. However, I think it makes a good name. Somehow it’s both whimsical and practical all at once. How could a word do that? If you could be named any month, which would you choose? I think I’d either choose April or September. Maybe. This might be one of those things that changes monthly, or weekly. [I’m using Amazon Affiliate links in this post. It does not add cost...
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Practicing the Presence of God: Making It Harder Than It Is

I slammed my pencil down on my math notebook, where half-worked problems sprawled. “I can’t do this!!!!” From the den, the computer chair creaked, and the soft thump of my mom’s step signaled her approach. I collapsed over my math textbook, notebook, and scratch paper. She needed to know that this was too hard, and it was hopeless, and I would never get it. I jutted out my lip. My mom pulls out the chair next to me. “What’s going...
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My 12-Hour Toronto Layover

I gotta be honest. When I realized that my flights had been changed to include a 12-hour layover in Toronto alongside a 10-hour layover in Munich, I groaned. And complained. And moaned. Until a wise guy said, “Ooo! What a cool adventure.” With that my perspective shifted: click. He was right. This was an opportunity for more adventure on top of an already exciting destination to be reunited with a dear friend. How To Plan For A 12-Hour Layover Research...
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Book Round-Up: January-March 2017

Truly, I think it’s the responsibility of every (great) reader to do a round up of recent favorite books. After all, it’s my chance to relive those books while sharing them with anyone who cares to take a peek. Of course, your To-Be-Read list probably rivals mine. I don’t know why we do this to ourselves. [by the way, i’ll be using affiliate links. this adds no cost to your purchases.] But come on. It’s because we love the book...
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March 2017 Inspiration

Oh, hello, lovely March! So I can’t be sure why I absolutely, most certainly do really like March. But I do. Perhaps, March serenades the coming of spring’s budding footsteps? But I also really enjoy coming up with this inspiration post. What I’m Being Inspired By The world offers such a combination of items for inspiration. Food, music, activities, traveling, books…honestly, there has to be something for everybody. Current Jam: I’m absolutely enamored with the French band NAZCA. Recently, I’ve...
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He Will Sustain You

What’s the thing that feels too heavy for you? Is it getting out of bed in the morning? Does the very monotony of life choke you? Pinchy Place In the recent months, I’ve snuggled deep into the uncomfortable stage my life is in. I’m pinched between my expectation for life and the reality I live. And, yes, it’s a pinch. No matter which way I wiggle, I’m still dissatisfied, frustrated, and uncomfortable. My prayers whine, “Goddddd, why am I here?...
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Partner in Crime: Traveling Companions

Nothing sets your ideal partner in crime a part from the crowd when you become traveling companions. Traveling tests your plans and spontaneity. And, if you’ve done any type of traveling, you quickly figure out who you like to travel with and who you’d literally run away from if they said, “So I was wondering…” *you run away* And when I say traveling, it absolutely includes road trips, train trips, walking trips, and plane trips. If your body is moving,...
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Book Recommendation: Alongside by Sarah Beckham

Helping too review books is one of the great joys and difficulties in my too-full, yet rich life. When the emails arrive with book suggestions for review. I want them all. Full disclosure: I received this book free in exchange for a review. My opinions are my own. Alongside by Sarah Beckham struck me in all the choices that I had, though, because…well, have you read the subtitle? “A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in their Time of Trial”...
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February 2017 Inspiration

Truthfully, I get so caught up in January that I forget about poor, little February. And so, here’s my February inspirations a little bit late this year. Throw a little love into the world this year, you all! What I’m Being Inspired By I enjoy gathering up the things that are delighting me each month. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve got nothing. But other times, I’m like, “How could I ever choose?!” Current Jam: How can it be that this...
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Book Recommendation: The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

Nothing pleases me more than a fantastic book recommendation (come on, this is why we use Yelp and TravelAdviser when we’re checking out new venues, right?). And today, I’m pumped to share with you The Mark of the King. Not only did I learn history (the things we people do to each other) that I had no idea about, but I also wanted to read this book every minute of every day. Full disclosure: I received The Mark of the...
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Book Tour: Surround Me by Marguerite Martin Gray

Today, I have the opportunity to share with you an author interview with Marguerite Martin Gray. I’m always so interested to learn how authors gain inspiration and what the writing process looks for them. And, at the very end of this post is an opportunity to enter a book giveaway! Series: Revolutionary FaithGenre: Christian, Fiction, HistoricalPublisher: WestBow Press (Author)Publication date: September 27, 2016Number of pages: 277Set in 1773 Charles Town, Surround Me takes the reader into the lives of colonists confronting imminent change and unpredictable...
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Book Recommendation: Move Toward The Mess

[Book received from Blog About for a review. Opinions are my own. Affiliate links included.] Move Toward The Mess jumped out at me from the e-newsletter. When I saw the title, my thoughts went like this: “Oh, I’m a mess. I should read that because I need to figure out how to lean into my own messy existence and be okay with my mess.” (Also, I love Andy Stanley, and he wrote the foreword) And so, I requested to read...
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26 Things Learned In 26 Years

26 Things I’ve Learned In The Last 26 Years Today, I’m the oldest that I’ve ever been, and well, you are too. Trying to come up with something to say about another year seems next to impossible because how can you sum up a year…but really? Life has not been what I expected. It hasn’t followed the map that I colored into being with crayons and backyard grass stews. Nope, not all. But, when I sit back, and truly take...
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People Say Really Stupid Things

Okay, let’s have a contest. What’s the stupidest thing someone has EVER said to you (sure, sure, it was well-meaning)? We’ve all been there, trekking through a really hard time when maybe it feels like you can’t get one foot in front of the other. Or maybe you’re finally having a good day, and someone says something stupid. Like, really REALLY realllly stupid. Perhaps they said it to encourage you or to give you perspective or whatever. This isn’t really a...
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Book Recommendation: Conspiracy of Silence (The Tox Files) by Ronie Kendig

[I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for a review. This review is my own opinion. Affiliate links used.] Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig is a book outside of my preferred genres, but I love reading outside those genres. No matter what type of book you gravitate to, you can ALWAYS recognize excellent storytelling. Truly, I believe this. Book Recommendation: Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig Where do I even begin with this book?...
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January 2017 Inspiration

Happy 2nd Day of January! Sometimes I think this is the hardest day of the year because it’s the first day back to everything…without a holiday in sight for months. The snow is no longer cheery (if it ever was) and the Christmas decorations come down (either by design or they fall). Personally, I love January. It breathes new beginnings. New opportunities. Fresh starts. What I’m Being Inspired By Current Jam: Yes, yes, I know. Alice in Wonderland came out...
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In Memoriam of 2016: A Poem

In Memoriam of 2016, I’ve written this poem (well, really, for every year past). May it make you chuckle and breathe relief as we move from one year past to one year new. A word from Barbara, Lady Tennysdaughter, who sends her thanks for the thoughtful year, witty friends, and silly twists.   Ring out, cell phone, to the wild sky, The flying yell, the frosty trill: The year is dying from the mill; Ring out, cell phone, and let...
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When Hope Is Not Enough

You’d think that by now, I would understand hope. Well, maybe you didn’t, but I sure as coconuts thought that I’d have some sort of grasp on hope. I know The Hope. Yes, I’m talking about Jesus here. Intellectually, I recognize that Jesus is my hope. Not only does Jesus offer purpose for my life, but by his not-giving-me-what-I-actually-deserve, Jesus has given me the promise of eternity with him. Why doesn’t that fill me with joyous exclamations and rooftop hallelujahs?...
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LIVE OUT grace

In a conversation with a friend, we were discussing how to handle frustrating groups of people. You know the kind: People who can’t see past their own noses, who say ‘how are you’ but don’t wait for the answer, and who might be physically present but not emotionally. These soul-suckers and emotional drainers drag us down with their see-through-you-but-don’t-see-you gaze. Our conversation went something like this: Me: We need to hit them over the heads with bricks and then hip-wiggle...
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Blink: Christmas In Vienna

Tugging my winter hat over my ears, I reached for my puff coat and slipped my arms in. The Florida sunshine giggled at me as it beamed through the curtains of my bedroom, and I shook my head. Christmas and December meant snow. And cold. And if I couldn’t be where it was, I’d imagine myself there. And nothing helps imagination more than reality. I zipped up my coat and tapped my booted heels together. Blink, blink, squeeeeeze tight. Cool air...
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Interview and Giveaway: The Thorn Healer by Pepper D. Basham

Oh, friends, I am so thrilled to be able to be a part of the book blog tour announcing The Thorn Healer by Pepper D. Basham. Seriously, this is a proud moment for this little internet space. I first found out about Pepper from my sister who transplanted to the Blue Ridge Mountains for a teaching position where she met Pepper. When my sister found out that Pepper was an author, my sister kind of sort of made internet introductions....
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11 Christmas Gifts for the Traveling Reader

Finding the perfect gift for your traveling reader can be as easy as an Amazon giftcard, but if you want to get more personal than that, allow me to offer you a Christmas gift springboard of ideas. And yes, I’m using Amazon affiliate links (this means a tiny profit for me and no extra charge for you). I’m not an affiliate of Etsy, but I love it. 1. Animal Travel Pillow If you’ve ever been in an airplane, you know...
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