Blog Book Tour | Sophomore release continues the story first read inside “Pierced by Love”, as Laura L. Walker carries her story forward in this INSPY sequel!

Posted Tuesday, 26 January, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , , 4 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: 

I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “The Matchup” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.


“The Matchup” is not considered a sequel to “Pierced by Love” by the author and publisher, however, as you will denote from how I’ve written my review, my own personal thoughts on this matter are disclosed. Likewise, the second paragraph of the author’s biography was written by Jorie as a way to highlight the succession of the author’s two published works.

A New Year of author surprises for this book blogger:

Before [2016] began to emerge out from the ending chapters of [2015], I started to receive author mail from Cedar Fort’s debut novelists and established authors who were going to have new releases upcoming in Winter and Spring. I was quite delighted by their enquiries, as some of them were fond readings of mine whilst I discovered their writings for the first time when I serendipitously found their blog tours; as for me blog tours have been a lovely niche of an opportunity to discover #newtomeauthors and a diverse array of stories I may or may not have been able to read otherwise. They allow us a breadth of discovery outside our usual wanderings and a chance to interact directly with an author in a way we might not normally have the chance to do. My heart is blessed by the tours I have hosted and the stories which have entered my hands to read in other words.

At the very same time, when I receive a note from an author I’ve previously read about a new release of theirs my heart warms a bit, because it gives me the chance to remember why I appreciated reading their last novel (or in rarer cases, their last non-fiction). I sometimes forget to ‘check-in’ with the authors I’ve previously read as life takes us on a bit of a ride after we’ve met such stirring stories, thus it’s a wonderful surprise to learn when their next release will become published and what kind of story they are going to be featuring next. I am curating a list of next reads based on the stories I’ve blogged who held me so tight inside their chapters, I was quite anxious to read another story by their authors; but to receive a note from an author directly is truly a blessing indeed!

I still recall when Ms Walker contacted me about her new release, a story which would take forward one of the supporting characters of Pierced by Love whilst giving us a taste of what happens to Pierce and Noelle in the hours since we last saw them. I was quite delighted as I had hoped there might be more to this novel than what was left on the page, but sometimes a sequel or a duology (where two stories are anchoured together but go no further than two installments) are not a guarantee. I am not sure who was more surprised: Ms Walker for realising I was dearly interested in reading The Matchup or myself when receiving the news of it’s publication!?

This prelude to [2016] did not start or end with Ms Walker, as I enjoyed a return to Ms Steele’s writings before December concluded and I have happily enjoyed an invitation to read three debut novelists throughout the Spring! The authors I am referring to are: Aaron Blaylock (of The Land of Look Behind), Lindsay B. Ferguson (of By the Stars) and Kaki Olsen (of Swan and Shadow: A Swan Lake Story). What is quite champion is I had unearthed advance notice of two of these releases from Cedar Fort’s catalogue on Edelweiss whilst finding six others dearly as captivating which I will be revealling when I post  my *End of the Year Survey: 2016*.

For now, it’s been a pleasure and a joy receiving a bit of author mail by writers who are gaining my interest by penning stories that wick together wicked good drama and/or adventure! For a girl who is scaling back hosting blog tours, I must say, I am finding a diverse array of stories to choose amongst to host!

Blog Book Tour | Sophomore release continues the story first read inside “Pierced by Love”, as Laura L. Walker carries her story forward in this INSPY sequel!The Matchup

Valerie's heart hammered in her rib cage. That deep voice could only belong to one person - Gage Logan.

The last thing Valerie wants or needs is to work for her childhood tormentor, Gage. But Valerie's husband walked out on her and her children. Now she needs a job. Gage, on the other hand, has just taken custody of his four-year-old son and is swamped trying to balance his career, be a daddy, and fix past mistakes.

Together they discover that when it comes to the Church and each other, it's all about second chances. This sweet romance will renew your faith in love and redemption.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462117529

on 1st January, 2016

Pages: 240

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #LDSFiction, #INSPYRom, #INSPYFiction, #SweetRomance,

#realisticfiction, #ChristFic,  + #TheMatchup

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Laura L. Walker

Laura Walker is a native Arizonan. Having lived there all their lives, she and her husband, Rob, think it’s a great place to raise their six kids. They enjoy camping, reading, and learning history together. Laura loves to settle in with a good romance just as much as she loves to write one.

Her first novel was Pierced by Love wherein her second novel continues the story-line of her character Gage (the younger brother to Pierce) within the pages of The Matchup.

Website | @llwalkerauthor | Facebook | GoodReads | Pinterest

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A surprise sequel of an INSPY novel:

Takeaway line from my review of ‘Pierced by Love’: An INSPY Contemporary Romance honestly portraying how a heart can heal through the power and conviction of love entwined with faith!

I openly talked about a conversation I had with Ms Walker about our shared walk in faith (as Protestant Christians) with one keen exception: when I first read Pierced by Love I was under the impression LDS was not a Protestant branch of Christianity as since my first reading of Ms Walker’s debut novel, I’ve learnt that we’re both Protestant Christians under different denominations. Originally, I thought LDS was outside of Protestantism and completely separate; the same way I would view Catholicism, Judaism, the Amish, Mennonite, Buddhism, or Hinduism.  This highlights my personal education and knowledge of our religious heritages, as the more I’ve read through Cedar Fort, the more I’ve happily enjoyed the pursuit of knowledge I’ve been granted out of both fiction and non-fiction releases.

I have enjoyed studying World Religions for most of my life, as I grew up in a family whose thread of discussions and wicked conversations were united in a pure curiosity for topics and subjects that would stimulate an intellectual curiosity. Finding my own scholarly path within World Religions was quite an easy leap as I am a curious girl who appreciates a self-directed pursuit of knowledge as a lifelong learner. This is one reason I am most apt to call myself ‘predominately self-educated or library educated’ as a result of keeping my mind and heart open to the endless possibilities of where knowledge and education can lead a person to grow dimensionally in understanding throughout their life.

I have many fond memories of the past two years and thirty days (or thereabouts) since I read Pierced by Love as certain Cedar Fort authors have endeared me with their LDS Fiction and Non-Fiction in ways I whole-heartedly have appreciated reading whilst embracing new information about a branch of Protestant Christianity I wish had been more openly shared during my childhood. Perhaps this is a lesson in how even in today’s world, there is a need for more Inter-Faith interactions; not only to bridge the gap between one religion to another but within denominations of Christianity, too.

My appreciation for Pierced by Love was twofold: I enjoyed the light sweetness of the romance and I thoroughly enjoyed an honestly written impression of an INSPY novel written from an LDS perspective. I openly blog about my preference for using the INSPY heading when referencing Inspirational Fiction, as it encompasses the full umbrella of religious and faith-based stories; thus helping to keep this section of fiction and non-fiction more inclusive than exclusive.

Imagine my surprised delight in realising this story was not yet complete

and a new chapter was about to be given to me to read!?

My Review of The Matchup:

Walker’s sophomore release hold’s it’s own within the opening sequence of events; as not only does it punch out an emotional tightrope of remorse intermixed with regret, but it evenly aligns the heart of the drama about to unfold into your mind’s eye. This is a beautiful transition of growth on behalf of Walker, as initially one of my main concerns was to see if the pacing errors from Pierced by Love might remain in The Matchup.

Such conviction coming out of lead protagonist Gage’s soul-churning entrance against the tides of a marriage gone south, is a realistic method of stitching us straight into the pulse of what is yet to come. I appreciated the realism and the confluence of how Gage’s uneasiness of conversation with his ex-wife highlighted how the choices we make can have consequences we do not foresee originally. In Gage’s case, his short-lived union united in the conception of his son, the sole person who is inspiring his own heart to question the merit of continuing to lead a life without personal attachments.

Valerie by comparison to Gage has been dealt quite a difficult hand in life, as her husband failed to recognise life can surprise you with difficulties that can be viewed as blessings if you look at them from a different perspective than the everyday blistering chaos they can provide. Valerie was blessed with two children, however, her son is on the Autistic Spectrum which confounded her husband yet reinforced her desire to find a way to mother her son which allowed him to be nurtured and encouraged through his childhood. Her opening sequence is beautifully written as it’s undercurrent is an honest introduction to how a mother first learns about her son’s diagnosis and how she chooses to deal with the information.

Gage’s family has a reaction I was expecting they might when he first disclosed the news about being a father as up until this point in his life, he had allowed himself to grow distant both from his family and his spirituality. I give Walker credit for allowing the grace of his new reality to set into the mind of his parents and siblings alike, whilst honouring how hidden surprises can first become difficult disclosures before reason overtakes an emotional response. Gage has the kind of family where however shocking a bit of news is at first glance, a cup of love and the endurance of grace to help guide him forward wins them over in the end.

The intensity of this realistic Contemporary drama is heart-stirring because it’s an honest composite of single parents who are trying to make the right choices for their children and themselves. Walker has found a true balance between INSPY story-lines and crafting a modern panorama of contemporary life that is both hard-hitting as it is uplifting as your rooting for the characters as soon as they walk into your heart. It’s the kind of drama you itch to find to read because it’s pulse is writ on the spirit of family and how family can pull together no matter what comes along to give you anguish, pain or regret.

Part of the evolution of Gage and Valerie coming to terms with how they fit inside each others lives was a shared passion for baseball. It’s not often I get to curl inside a story with a writer who has a genuine taste and appreciation for sharing the bits of the game that make it feel real to the reader. It felt like stepping back inside my own childhood when I used to attend the games and get caught up in the excitement of a ballfield. Walker envelopes these two harrowed souls into a set of circumstances that helps alleviate a few concerns on both of their behalf, but grants them a question of a future they are still trying to conceive for themselves individually. Neither one felt they warranted thinking too hard about relationships, not when they each had to balance parenthood as a singleton.

Fly in the Ointment:

There is a good matching of wills inside this novel; as both Gage and Valerie are strong willed characters who have passionate hearts and a spirited resolve. There was only one disconcerning issue I had with the course of the concluding chapters, which was the pressure put on Valerie to have more children. In my mind, I felt an alternative path should have been taken, even though I felt it was a beautiful testament of her Autistic son’s gifts of perception and spiritual insight; in my own heart of hearts, I felt this direction was misplaced. It’s not the fault of the authors for how I feel either, as I simply approach this one part of the story from a different angle.

For starters, I personally knew of someone who was pressured in marriage to conceive more children (which ended in divorce) but on the non-personal side of this, I am constantly startled why relationships and marriages are only strengthened through biological children and traditional sets of siblings? Why not take the path not as well travelled and consider adoption? Better still, why not be content with the children already in your life and not put pressure on someone to change their belief that they already have conceived the children they felt led to raise?

I’m finding this a growing trend in Contemporary Fiction and Women’s Fiction, where it’s almost as if it’s a deal breaker for a potential marriage: biological children or the bloke walks. To me this is completely unfair and unrealistic, even though I realise most people will only accept raising children of their own flesh and blood. I guess I had hoped to find stories that entertain a kinder reality in fiction than what is mirrored outside in today’s world.

The surprise I had concurrent to this vein of thought is how hardened Pierce felt to me in this installment, almost as if time had not been kind to him since I last left him. He was so very hard on his brother and a bit dismissive of his brother’s attempt to father a boy with Autism, he definitely brought out the intolerance of society for children who are different. I suppose in some ways this part of what kept this realistically believable, but on the other hand, Pierce felt out of step with the character he was in Pierced by Love as I felt Noelle had changed him for the better whilst bringing out the best of who he could be.

Specials Needs Children and Equality in Lit walk hand in hand:

One of my tags on Twitter I created is #EqualityInLit as a stepping stone past #WeNeedDiverseBooks, as I wanted to highlight more than ethnicity and equality on behalf of race and origin. This is why I expanded my thoughts on behalf of my essay series within the A to Z Challenge in 2013 (a project I still have hopes of continuing until all the essays are completed). The essay that pertains to this topic can be read here.

Autism is not yesterday’s unknown learning difficulty and childhood disability; it’s so much more than a singular label or discredit to a person’s cognitive ability to understand their world and environs. Recognition of children who are on the Autistic Spectrum is becoming a bit easier to understand but it takes a compassionate heart to accept these differences and as a society I am hoping we are striving towards a tolerance level where parents of special needs children (most especially those with autistic children) will find a level of acceptance where previously they found none.

Not all children who are acting up in social situations are immature and not all socially shy children are autistic either – there is a balance somewhere between children with special needs and children who are developing at their own rate of maturity outside their peer group. The best we can all do is to give a kind smile or a welcoming few words of conversation if we see a family out with their children. One of the best ways to help readers expand their knowledge of Autism is by focusing on the authors (such as Walker) who are providing honest impressions and convicting narratives where a gentle hand guides the reader to understand what was previously unknown. I applaud this approach, as acceptance of differences first begins with gaining knowledge to dispel ignorance.

Walker breathes a wonderful light on Autism whilst keeping her single Mum (Valerie) grounded at the same time by her faith and her natural kinship to motherhood.

Previously, the two stories I cherished the most which showcase a character who has Autism were: The Strength of Ballerinas by Nancy Lorenz (review) and Sense and Sensibility: A Latter Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison (review) which were both released by Cedar Fort. Ms Lorenz has continued the story with her sophomore release American Ballerina which is an upcoming next read of mine this Winter; stay tuned for more in regards to this title which she self-published.

Laura L. Walker is a Contemporary Rom writer I enjoy reading:

Walker is one of the few Contemporary Rom writers I appreciate reading because she creates this suspension of real-life exploits against the backdrop of where a life lived in faith can lead a person through their adversities and trials. I used to read more Contemporary fiction (i.e. small towne romances, contemporary women’s fiction and/or contemporary inspy novels) but I stepped out of them for several years now as my heart was wooed into the historical backdrop of History. One thing I missed from reading a Contemporary story is how writers would tackle today’s issues and find a measure of realism out of the stories that could be told to give a reader something hearty to chew on.

For this reason, I have been noticing the trend that I am opting for ‘Realistic INSPY’ fiction a bit over my previous inclinations of lighter faire as I like seeking out characters who are stepping out of a path of regret and seeking a way forward back into the light. I also like seeing different life situations evoking a journey the characters might not have foreseen as one they would take and how they learn to deal with the aftermath of their choices is what I am finding to be a wicked good read.

Even despite the pacing issues in her freshman release, she knitted together a story I felt captured by and was inspired to read. Thus earmarking her as a ready next read of mine once I had learnt of her forthcoming releases – as despite initial hiccups in debut novels, I believe in the authors and the journey they are taking towards bettering their own writerly voice and style. If I can continue to make a connection to their stories and find myself uplifted in spirit or moved emotionally by their characters, I’ll happily follow their ensuing career. What has become an added blessing by being a book blogger, is the chance to re-visit a favourite author’s next work and continue to celebrate them as the new book releases. This is an unexpected grace I’ve found in being a book blogger and on the foot-heels of reading Soda Springs it is quite champion to be celebrating another Cedar Fort author so soon!

Watching her development of fictional strengths and the art of story-telling with a fuller confidence of her story’s heart and internal focus has been quite refreshing! If you read both of her novels close together you will notice a few stark differences; as although I dearly did love reading Pierced by Love there is a new level of clarity and form within The Matchup. It is one of the first times I’ve witnessed such a lovely level of progression within a singular author’s collective works.

After I read the Author’s Note:

I was truly full of gratitude I had the opportunity to read this story, as it was a bit autobiographical for Walker to write the story, as she’s the mother of an Autistic daughter. The strength she amassed to tell this story and to re-visit her own past whilst learning to be a mother to a special needs child is commendable as it was a walk of faith. I had wanted to mention I felt the author has softened a bit in appearance since I was introduced to Pierced by Love; as her new author’s photograph has a lot of light inside it. Perhaps a reflection of personal growth and a newfound confidence in her writing style and voice?

Despite my grievances with choices women are making and the pressure inflicted on them by men, I can honestly say I did enjoy reading this story. I was simply disappointed in the ending because it was beyond predictable and a bit of a let-down. The last time I felt so strongly about enjoying a novel as I was reading it and outright hated the ending was when I read The Horse Whisperer. My reaction to this ending isn’t on that same level as it’s so very rare I’d use the word hate to express my feelings on anything at all, but in regards to The Horse Whisperer nothing else could effectively describe my emotional angst. My only saving grace with that novel was the motion picture who vindicated the ending by a re-writing of it’s closure. This time around, I was simply frustrated the ending left such a bittersweet resolution to the closure of it’s story.

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Post Script banner created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

I did a bit of sleuthing (regarding sequels + companion pieces):

What’s a book blogger to do truly when presented with the appearance of a sequel that isn’t quite declared as such officially? She roots around Wikipedia and the internet, striving to make proper sense out of it and finds something quite interesting in the process! As previously mentioned, The Matchup is not an out-and-out sequel to Pierced by Love although for argument sake this book blogger accepts it as if it were. Now to the point of where this novel falls in the scheme of things within the world of books: from my cursory understanding it could honestly be considered one of two things: a companion piece and/or a stand-alone sequel.

Looking at it from the point-of-perspective of being a companion piece, this attachment serves it quite well as it’s cohesively connective to the Logan family (i.e. the original novel’s younger brother is now a lead character whereas previously it was the elder brother) whilst captialising once again on a faith-based story grounded in LDS.

If we take this as a stand-alone sequel it is quite apt to accept this is a continuation of the former story (on the level of a sibling entering into the lead character’s shoes) without it being completely necessary to read the former installment.

As an aside, I should mention I wished I had had the pleasure of re-reading Pierced by Love, however, at the end of Summer I had to do a bit of a re-organisation of my book shelves and sadly, I had to put away titles I felt I might not get back to over the next year. I packed away Pierced by Love solely because I had not realised it was about to become ‘an expanded upon work of fiction’ if you will. I pulled several titles published by Cedar Fort I had hoped would be continued but left the majority off my shelves. One day I shall appreciate being able to re-read both of these novels back-to-back.

I originally felt this even might be a duology which is a story set apart into two equal halves of a whole as they are each anchoured together by either a character or a situation of events which evolve forward in and out of each other. Whichever way Pierced by Love and The Matchup are known within the book world, kindly note this book blogger will consider them a bookend story who fuse together quite brilliantly.

Reference: Sequel (

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Be sure to follow the rest of the blog tour:

A note about my delayed participation on this blog tour:

When you experience a disruption in your personal life, blogging and reading take a backseat. When you experience an unexpected tragic loss, you have to fight to right the sails of balance and re-emerge stronger as you move through the shadows of grief and sorrow. For a full disclosure of what kept me from blogging about this beautiful new release, please direct your attention to this post which I released on Sunday (17th January).

Originally, I was planning to post my review on the 24th of January (one week after my disclosure), however, it took until Saturday the 23rd to even find a renewal of joy in reading again. Therefore, as I only have had this novel a few short days, in actuality I am reading it right in line with the hours I have with it whilst taking into account I’ve just returnt to reading as well. If a diabolical plumbing issue hadn’t arisen out of the blue (afternoon of the 25th), I would have been a bit quicker in my readings but hope my review will still tempt those who are seeking wicked quality INSPY Fiction within the lens of LDS Fiction, as soaking inside a Contemporary Sweet Romance was quite the enjoyable feast after coming out of so much personal drama.

The Match-Up blog tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & Media.
Previously I was introduced to Laura L. Walker’s writing via:

If you are unfamiliar with LDSFiction or are a regular INSPY Rom reader who has not yet sought out titles by Cedar Fort, I highly recommend you visit my introduction to Ms Walker’s writing style and the flow of context of her LDSFiction debut: ‘Pierced by Love’. By extension of my own personal thoughts about this second novel being either a sequel or a duology edition to the original, you will happily enjoy reading my thoughts on the story that started it all.

Pierced by Love Blog Tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & MediaFun Stuff for Your Blog via Reader Interactive Question:

What are you seeking out of an INSPY Realistic Fiction where Romance takes a back-seat to an inspiring journey where characters are seeking redemption and a second chance?

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

{SOURCES: Book Cover Art for “The Matchup”, author biography, book synopsis, blog tour badges for “Pierced by Love” and “The Match-Up” along with the badge for Cedar Fort Publishing & Media were provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media and used with permission. Laura L. Walker’s updated author’s photograph was provided by the author Laura L. Walker and used with permission. The second paragraph of the author’s biography was written by Jorie. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Comment banner created by Jorie in Canva. Post Script banner created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Tweets are embedded due to codes via Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Tuesday, 26 January, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Autism, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Divorce & Martial Strife, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Learning Difficulties, Life Shift, Modern Day, Mormonism, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Single Fathers, Special Needs Children, Sweet Romance, Writing Style & Voice

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4 responses to “Blog Book Tour | Sophomore release continues the story first read inside “Pierced by Love”, as Laura L. Walker carries her story forward in this INSPY sequel!

    • Good afternoon, Zara!

      Thank you for your enthused response! I apologise I did not reply sooner, as January was a bit of a rough month for me as I tragically lost my beloved cat. I had written about it prior to taking a short respite offline, as my heart simply wasn’t into reading or blogging at that point in time. I hope you do get a chance to read “The Matchup” as it was a wonderful continuation of the story! If you haven’t read “Pierced by Love” I highly recommend that you read it first, as you will appreciate this one a bit more. Thanks for stopping by!

        • Thank you Zara for your condolences! It took the better part of February & March to feel as though I could move forward from my loss. It is definitely a horrible feeling when we have to say good-bye – I’m sorry for your loss in return. We get so attached to our companions, it’s hard when their no longer in our lives. I’m thankful I could help you find a new book to read – I think you will appreciate this one! It was such a delight after reading “Pierced by Love” however, you could read this first if you prefer as the two stories are independent of each other yet connected in a way that will not affect the readings! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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