Wednesday, December 26, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Slay Bells (A Christmas VIllage Mystery) by T.C. Wescott


SLAY BELLS by T.C. Wescott, Mystery, 230 pp., $4.99 (kindle)


Title: SLAY BELLS (A CHRISTMAS VILLAGE MYSTERY)
Author: T.C. Wescott
Publisher: Better Mousetrap Books
Pages: 230
Genre: Cozy Mystery

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the village, the night settled in over swirling-smoke chimneys; the air was alive with pine and holly, with sugar and cinnamon and cider, by golly!

Along snowy lanes and through shadows it crept, past windows behind which each villager slept, where sleeping dogs lie and cats rest a’purring-

Tonight, in Christmas Village, a killer is stirring.

Welcome to Christmas Village, a magical hamlet where even in December the roses hold their luster and bees buzz among the bluebells. Nestled betwixt an opulent garden with meandering footpaths and an ancient grove of plum trees, Rose Willoughby’s boarding house is plum-full with lodgers. There are no vacancies, but just wait. Soon there will be one…and another…and another.

When the Inn’s guests begin dying in inexplicable ways, some villagers believe a beast from old village lore is the culprit. The sheriff knows better, but he’s just as helpless to catch the invisible killer as are the town folk with their eyes to the sky in search of a flying creature. But our mysterious murderer hasn’t counted on yet another lodger coming to the cottage: Maribel Claus.

Short as a stump, round as a wheel, sweet as a candy cane, and a sharp as a whip, Maribel loves a good puzzle. But can she unmask the phantom killer in time and save Christmas?

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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Review: This is the first novel in a new series, and I already can't wait to read more. Maribel Claus is a fun character, as are the other residents of Christmas Village. They are all a bit quirky, and some even have beliefs that are WAY out there.

This book is very well written, and the story keeps you guessing as to what will happen next and who is committing murder.

Rating: Four stars





PROLOGUE

Night settles in over smoking chimneys and snow-capped rooftops.

A potpourri of pine, holly, and cinnamon swirls in the breeze over white pastures and along sleepy lanes as festive decorations left hanging on each street lamp and along every thoroughfare dance upon its passing.

Winter birds offer up their sing-song as the rows of cottage windows blink out their goodnights.

But for many in the happy hamlet of Christmas Village, the night will be a short one, made restless with excitement for the morning when they will rise early to prepare for the inaugural day of the annual Christmas Festival.

The festival, running the full week before Christmas Eve, is the last great hurrah of the year, barring the ringing of the new year bells. It is no exaggeration to say that the best hope one has of experiencing something more glorious is to return the following year for the next Festival.

So, it is with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts that every soul in the village, farmer and squire alike, closes their eyes in anticipation of sunrise.

One among them will not live to see the sun.

Something moves among the birds, along the snowy lanes, skirting the light in favor of shadow.

In Christmas Village, this night, a creature is stirring.




T.C. Wescott was born in Missouri but has lived in Oklahoma most of his life. Like pretty much every author who has ever breathed, he is an avid reader. His favorites are classic mysteries from the Golden Age, as well as just before or just after that period (which is widely considered the period between the two World Wars). His first mystery novel, Running from Scissors, was published in July 2018 and will be the first of at least three books in the Running Store Mystery series.

The Christmas Village Mystery series launched in November of the same year with the debut title Slay Bells. The formula for his books is simple – mixing the classic, traditional detective fiction standards with all the trappings of the modern cozy mystery.

Wescott is also (under another name) the author of two award-winning non-fiction books as well as many essays and articles.

His latest book is the cozy mystery, Slay Bells (A Christmas Village Mystery).

Website Address: www.tcwescott.com
Twitter Address: www.twitter.com/MousetrapBooks
Facebook Address: www.facebook.com/BetterMousetrapBooks
http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ellie Claire 365-Devotional Journals Blog Tour #EllieClaireGifts #NewYearNewDevo

                     2018-12-10-14-26-26


I was given the opportunity to review the above three 365-Devotional Journals. Below are my thoughts on each one. While each journal contains a year's worth of devotionals, each one is individual, not just a carbon copy of the others. (Which is why I may keep all three and use them for three years!)


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BOOK DESCRIPTION
We pray for peace. We beg for it from others. We make speeches about it. But in the end, the only peace most of us can control is that little portion we display for the world to see. If we are at peace, the chaos around us seems to calm down. Our peace affects others. And the Giver of peace awaits to give us the gift that can change our world. It begins with a prayer. It begins with me.

FEATURES
• Archive quality, non-bleed paper
• Acid-free paper and ink
• Daily devotional with lightly ruled space for responses, lists, or journaling
• Full-color interior design
• Presentation page for personalization
• Lay-flat binding
• Foil, ribbon

• Closure band

BOOK INFORMATION
  • Series: 365 Devotional Journals
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ellie Claire Gift & Paper Corp (October 16, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1633262073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1633262072

BUY LINKS
AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

My Thoughts
This cover is so peaceful. The blues and greens are perfect color choices, while the gold font provides just the right accent. And the verse on the back cover fits the theme remarkably well: "I will listen to what God the Lord says; He promises peace to His people." Psalm 85:8
The color scheme of the pages continues the colors of the cover. Each day's devotional has a Bible verse, a devotional reading, a prayer, and several lines for adding your own thoughts, notes, or creative journaling.
Since my Word Of The Year for 2019 is going to be CONTENTMENT, I was immediately drawn to this journal and will begin using it on January 1.

My Rating: Five stars

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BOOK DESCRIPTION
From the small whisper of a snowflake to the large circumference of a baobab tree, all of nature is the creative expression of God. When we embrace His creative nature by taking the time to stop, notice, and connect, our hearts are encouraged and souls refreshed. Respond to the devotions, add your own creative writing, or keep track of prayers on the journaling lines.

FEATURES
• Archive quality, non-bleed paper
• Acid-free paper and ink
• Daily devotional with lightly ruled space for responses, lists, or journaling
• Full-color interior design
• Presentation page for personalization
• Lay-flat binding
• Foil, ribbon
• Closure band


BOOK INFORMATION
  • Series: Devotional Journals
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ellie Claire; Jou edition (October 31, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1633261700
  • ISBN-13: 978-1633261709

BUY LINKS
BARNES & NOBLE

My Thoughts
The peacocks on the cover of this journal (and in the bottom corner of every page) are definite attention grabbers. The colors used are soft and relaxing, which would be a great place to start getting in the mood for spending time with your devotional reading each day. Each of the devotionals in this journal focuses on something in nature, whether it be an animal, a plant, a food, weather, etc. It encourages you to take time out of your busy day to stop, look, and listen, to connect with nature and especially with the Creator.

My Rating: Five stars

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BOOK DESCRIPTION
When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget to spend time with God. This 365-day devotional journal offers encouraging meditations to help you spend a few moments turning your eyes on Jesus before your hectic day begins. After short devotions and Scripture for each day of the year, you will also find light journaling lines and ample space to record your thoughts, hopes, and prayers—just what you need to start each and every day with the reminder that God is always by your side. 

FEATURES
• Archive quality, non-bleed paper
• Acid-free paper and ink
• Daily devotional with lightly ruled space for responses, lists, or journaling
• Full-color interior design
• Presentation page for personalization
• Lay-flat binding
• Foil, ribbon
• Closure band


BOOK INFORMATION

  • Series: Lifestyle Journals
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ellie Claire Gift & Paper Corp (February 20, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1633261808
  • ISBN-13: 978-1633261808


BUY LINKS

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE

My Thoughts
The cover of this journal is a little too "busy" for my tastes, but I am sure that it will appeal to plenty of other people. What does appeal to me, however, is that each devotional begins with a line or two from a hymn or religious song, and then goes on to discuss ways to focus on Jesus and learn to trust Him completely. I have a feeling that when I use this journal, I'll be headed to the internet to find full-length versions of these songs to listen to during my devotional time.

My Rating: Five stars

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Scampy Doodle and the Reindeer by G. J. Barnes @fayerogersuk @authoright @scampyd #ScampyDoodle

Scampy-Doodle-and-the-Reindeer
BOOK INFORMATION
Title: Scampy Doodle and the Reindeer

Author: G J Barnes
Illustrator: Chris Sorensen
Release Date: 4th December 2017
Genre: Picture Book
Page Count: 24
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Synopsis: Scampy Doodle is a happy go lucky black dog who has a strong nose for adventure.
It's Christmas Eve and Scampy Doodle is fast asleep when he is woken by a strange noise coming from the chimney. Discover what happens when he goes to investigate and gets the greatest surprise of his life!

Review: This is an adorable Christmas story. Scampy Doodle is a lovable dog who helps his best friend Jemima (a human) get ready for Christmas. After they decorate and set out treats for Santa, it's time to sleep. Scampy Doodle wakes up in the middle of the night when he hears a strange noise. Father Christmas and the reindeer are having some issues, so Scampy Doodle tries to help them out. You'll have to read the book to see how it all turns out.

This story has a wonderful lesson about helping others and being selfless. Some of the customs described in the book will be unfamiliar to children in the US, but they are accurate for other parts of the world. It might be a good opportunity to learn about Christmas customs in other countries.

If you're looking for a new book to add to your Christmas traditions, Scampy Doodle and the Reindeer would be an excellent choice!

Rating: Five stars

About the author
Georgina-Chapman As my daughter got older we used to (and still do) tell each other stories in the car about our family dog Scamp. Scamp had been neglected as a puppy and was rescued by my parents and became our family pet.

He was a little bit crazy (he used to try and get up on the table to lick up crumbs after a meal) but he was always happy to see you and always there for a cuddle whenever anyone needed one.

In many ways he was more like a human being, standing up on his back legs, drinking cups of tea out of a cup off the coffee table.

So I decided to write some of our stories down to share with others, the first one being Scampy Doodle and the Reindeer.


Scampy-Doodle-Banner3

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

BLOG TOUR: The Psychology Of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

PTT-Blog-Tour
BOOK INFORMATION
Genre: Science Fiction/Time Travel
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Crooked Lane Books ( February 12, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781788540100
  • ISBN-13: 978-1788540100
  • ASIN: 1788540107
38330781
Synopsis: 1967: Four female scientists invent a time-travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril.

2017: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future--a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady.

2018: When Odette discovered the body, she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, flesh. But when the inquest fails to answer any of her questions, Odette is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?


Review: This book creates a world where time travel is an accepted fact of life and looks at how it can (or can't) impact a person's life. It had me thinking about how I might use time travel in my own life, and whether I would want to communicate with my green (younger) and/or silver (older) selves as most of the travelers in this book do. 
The majority of the characters are female, and most of them are strong and smart, with very few exceptions. Females create time travel, females run the Conclave that controls time travel.  The story deals with a multitude of subjects: friendship, family, love, mental illness, betrayal, science, death, anxiety, and a murder mystery that is investigated in the past, present and future. There are also LGBTQ characters who are presented in a very positive manner.
At times the differing perspectives and timelines are confusing, but not enough to detract from the story. This is an amazing debut novel, and I can't wait to read more from this author.

Rating: Four stars






17673611About the author
Kate Mascarenhas is a writer.

Born in 1980, she is of mixed heritage (white Irish father, brown British mother) and has family in Ireland and the Republic of Seychelles.

She studied English at Oxford and Applied Psychology at Derby. Her Ph.D., in literary studies and psychology, was completed at Worcester.

Since 2017 Kate has been a chartered psychologist. Previously she has been an advertising copywriter, bookbinder, and doll’s house maker. She lives in the English Midlands with her partner.

Monday, December 3, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery) by Debra H. Goldstein


One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery) by Debra H. Goldstein

About the Book

 
Cozy Mystery 
1st in Series 
Kensington (December 18, 2018) 
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages 
ISBN-10: 1496719476 
ISBN-13: 978-1496719478 
Digital ASIN: B07CDCZXLP
For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!
Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired hometown she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant . . .
Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!
Includes quick and easy recipes!

About the Author

Judge Debra H. Goldstein’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series debuts from Kensington Press debuts with One Taste Too Many. She also is the author of Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery and the 2012 IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Besides novels, Debra writes short stories. Her short story, The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (May/June 2017) is an Agatha Award Short Story Nominee. In addition to being the Sisters in Crime Guppy President, Debra serves on the national Sisters in Crime board and is Vice-President of the Southeast Region of Mystery Writers of America.
Website http://www.debrahgoldstein.com  
Blog http://www.debrahgoldstein.com/blog
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DebraHGoldsteinAuthor/ Twitter @DebraHGoldstein         
Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/debra-h-goldstein-72473a11/ GoodReads  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4906340.Debra_H_Goldstein

Purchase Links
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
December 3 – Book Babble – SPOTLIGHT 
December 3 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
December 4 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW, GUEST POST   
December 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf - CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 6 – Sneaky the Library Cat's Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 6 – My Reading Journeys - REVIEW
December 7 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
December 7 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 8 – Here's How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
December 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 9 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – StoreyBook Reviews - REVIEW
December 10 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 –A Wytch's Book Review Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 12 – Moonlight Rendezvous - REVIEW, GUEST POST
December 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST 
December 13 – MJB Reviewers - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 13 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
December 14 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
December 14 – Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
December 15 – Cassidy's Bookshelves – REVIEW
December 15 – Socrates' Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 16 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW
December 16 – Bibliophile Reviews - REVIEW, GUEST POST

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BOOK REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: Attorney At Paw (A Chrissy the Shih Tzu Mystery) by Diane Wing


BOOK INFORMATION
Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Modern History Press (September 20, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1615993967
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615993963
  • ASIN: B07HR3TP7Y



















Only Chrissy, a cute little Shih Tzu, can unlock this mystery! 

Autumn Clarke survived the car crash that killed her parents. To help her cope with PTSD, she adopts Chrissy, a Shih Tzu with a remarkable secret. Chrissy is also the only witness to the mysterious death of her pet parent. Autumn vows to find the truth behind his death with the help of Chrissy, the neighbors, and an attractive detective. Can Autumn unravel the clues while trying to heal Chrissy's trauma and overcome her own devastating emotional wounds in the midst of a dangerous murder investigation?

Review: Chrissy is the most unusual cozy mystery character I have ever had the pleasure to meet in a book--she has an amazing talent which aids her new owner, Autumn, in solving the murder of her former owner, attorney Gary Martin.
Autumn is an interesting character as well, as she is grieving the loss of her parents and has PTSD from the accident which took their lives. The author does a wonderful job of describing her panic attacks and other issues.
Most of the other characters are very likable, and I look forward to seeing all their relationships grow and change throughout the series. There were two characters, Anna and Fran, whom I disliked from the very beginning. They are cruel, greedy and totally despicable.
There is a sneak peek of the next book at the end of this one, and it sounds like it will be another thrilling adventure.

Rating: Four stars

Available to buy from...

From Modern History Press 
www.ModernHistoryPress.com

“Chrissy the Shih Tzu may be the cutest sleuth on the job, but don't let that button nose fool you—it's perfectly able to sniff out a killer with a little help from her human friends. Great start to a fun new series!” ~ Sheila Webster Boneham, Author of the award-winning Animals in Focus Mysteries 

“Diane Wing does an excellent job of showing readers just how animals can communicate with us through images and actions when we are tuned into their frequency. Through the relationship between Autumn and Chrissy, Wing also shows the importance of therapy animals and how much they can help those who need them. Add in a sweet romance to the intrigue of the mystery and you've got a book that you won't want to put down.” ~ Melissa Alvarez, Intuitive, animal communicator and author of Animal Frequency and Llewellyn's Little Book of Spirit Animals 

“Diane Wing has created a wonderfully endearing little character in Chrissy the Shih Tzu. It really shines through that the author is an animal and dog lover. I can see these books quickly becoming a cherished addition to the cozy mystery genre.” ~ J. New, author of The Yellow Cottage Vintage Mysteries

About the author

Author, teacher, and perspective changer Diane Wing, M.A. enjoys exploring the mysteries of life and the way that people experience themselves and the world around them. A phenomenologist at the core, Diane uses a variety of techniques combined with discovering unique patterns experienced by her clients to reveal a deeper understanding of the self and to shift their perspective enabling them to move past obstacles that keep them stuck.


Wing's books create a transformational experience for the reader while incorporating a bit of the unexpected. Many say that her fiction has a sense of Karmic justice rendered within the realm of the unknown and that her non-fiction brings about a heightened awareness of the self and the world to enhance understanding of our own internal transformations.

Diane Wing is dedicated to helping people get grounded and trust themselves so they can live a peaceful and fulfilling life of joyful self-expression. She inspires others and teaches them to safely tap into the energies around them to turn anxiety into tranquility. Her clients are those who are ready to stop struggling in their personal life so they can feel their best.

Wing sees connections between things that seem disparate to others and can help you see their significance in your life. She's an idea person who helps you shift your perspective to see yourself and your life in a whole new way and is a master at bringing magick into the everyday. She wants to live in a world where people feel inspired and motivated to evolve beyond their current way of being. As a Perspective Changer and Blockage Buster, she's a wiz at helping people find their Inner Magick to help them be happy in the present while creating their ideal future.

To that end, Diane Wing created a body of work focused on knowing the self at a deep level in order to build self-trust and self-confidence. Her books, both dark fantasy fiction and enlightening non-fiction, hold lessons based in Universal and Magickal Law and energetic consciousness. Her games, Pathways and Insight Stones®, are systems of metaphysics designed to facilitate self-discovery, develop intuitive ability, and to enhance self-awareness. The emphasis of her school, Wing Academy of Unfoldment, and of her radio show, Wing Academy Radio, helps students and listeners learn ways to take metaphysical and personal development concepts and apply them to everyday life in their own distinct way. It's about going deeper and seeing the patterns of your life.

According to Diane Wing, "Ever since I was little, the world felt magickal. [Magick with a "k" is used to differentiate the magic of an illusionist or stage magician from the magick that includes your intuitive abilities and tapping into the flow of the Universe). The world was beautiful and mysterious, filled with things to learn and experience. The path led me to become a lifetime student of metaphysics, mysticism, magick, and spirituality and to achieve a Master's degree in psychology...and it all shows up in my writing. You never know what's waiting around the bend.

"The world still feels magical to me; every act of nature, every energetic exchange, every new discovery is perceived through the eyes of wonder. I now understand that self-knowledge is the key to all magickal operations; the discovery of our own Inner Magick is essential to living in concert with the Universe. We are the Magician, as in tarot, orchestrating and creating life in accordance with our true self."

Diane is an avid reader, bibliophile, lover of trees, and a lifelong learner. She and her husband are pet parents to a sweet little Shih Tzu.

Find out more, listen to Wing Academy Radio, and take the Vibrational Quiz at www.DianeWing.com

Find the author on the following sites...
Website   Facebook   Twitter   Google+   Pinterest   YouTube   Goodreads   Amazon author page
Join my community and get full, unlimited access to my perspective changing tool called Pathways and receive my bi-monthly newsletter filled with articles, information, and special offers for those who are ready to see things differently. 

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Friday, November 30, 2018

#BELOVED:365 DEVOTIONS FOR YOUNG WOMEN #FlyBy

beloved-BLOG

BOOK INFORMATION
Genre: Christian Devotional
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (October 2, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780310762775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310762775
  • ASIN: 0310762774
  • 2018-11-30-08-21-33

    Inspire young women to be all they can be

    Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women is a topical devotional that uses the inspiring stories of girls and women in the Bible—such as Ruth, Esther, Mary, and Abigail—to encourage faith and confidence as well as provide insight into topics like relationships, inner beauty, and chasing your dreams.

    Each day features an easy-to-read, relevant devotion paired with a scripture verse about a biblical girl or woman, as well as journaling space to help readers reflect on the day’s message. With honest, poignant, and sometimes humorous text, every page will speak to the pressures and changes girls face, giving them real-world applications to find God in their hearts and in their lives. Perfect for everyday use, Beloved will resonate with girls searching for truth and guidance. Gift givers will love this highly designed book featuring a beautiful, foiled cover, two-color interior pages, and a ribbon marker.
2018-11-30-08-21-52
Review: I enjoy devotionals like this which speak specifically to women. While this is geared for young women, aged 16-25, it is also appropriate for women of all ages. Using stories of women from the Bible, it encourages women to live in faith and confidence. A variety of topics are covered throughout, including relationships, inner beauty, pursuing goals.

Each day includes a short passage of Scripture about a girl in the Bible and a devotional that helps girls think about the passage. It also includes a couple of journaling lines so girls can respond or pray in writing.

The cover is beautiful and sturdy, the pages have a cute floral design, and it includes an attached ribbon bookmark.



Rating: Five stars
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