Book Review | “Tea & Crumples” by Summer Kinard

Posted Sunday, 29 May, 2016 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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Acquired Book By: Whilst participating in #LitChat last Summer [2015] about Indie Publishers and the stories they publish, I found two publishers in attendance. Light Messages Publishing happily corresponded with me a bit after the chat concluded. Whilst in communication with their publicity department, I was encouraged to look through their beautifully lovely catalogue and see if one of their upcoming releases might suit my bookish curiosities. This selection was suggested to me due to my appreciation for tea: “Tea & Crumples” by Summer Kinard, who had attended the chat. If your curious about the Small Press Showcase #LitChat I attended you can replay the conversation in whole by visiting the Nurph Channel for LitChat where it’s archived.

This marks my second review for Light Messages Publishing, as I began reviewing for them with my review of “The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley” of which I loved! I received a complimentary copy of “Tea & Crumples” direct from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I applaud Light Messages as an Inspiring Publisher of Realistic Stories:

Of the two stories I picked to read first by Light Messages, it was Tea & Crumples I nearly felt I might not have the strength to read as I knew it hit on a harder story arc than I generally allow myself to read. I am mindful of my emotional sensitivities as much as other ‘triggers’ in fiction that are outside of what I can tolerate to read (most of which are listed on my Review Policy; but a few surprises still can happen despite my self-control to recognise what will affect me) – however, with this story, I felt a connection to the novel’s heart as I read about it’s premise. It’s hard to describe – sometimes I feel like I’m guided by grace and the faith I lean on everyday – my entire blog life (and my activities in Twitter) have been a walk of faith in other words.

I get certain intuitive glimpses about stories – sometimes it’s a miss on my judgment calls, but more times than naught when I feel especially keen on a story such as this one, I decide to trust that instinctive nudge to read a story! I should have realised Light Messages would challenge my heart in a good way rather than an adverse one – as despite my trepidation, as soon as I settled into the narrative and the graceful textured style Kinard’s writings spilt out into the novel – I found myself comfortably relaxed inside where Tea & Crumples would take me!

This was quite similar to how I felt wrapped up inside The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley, as I could not take my eyes off the text nor fully yield to pull myself out of the world Örnbratt created! The writers being published at Light Messages have an intuitive way of alighting their readers inside a fully conceptionalised story with strong inspirational messages and lives backlit by faith, love and hope. It’s a pleasure for a lifelong reader of INSPY fiction to discover but moreso than that, I applaud the strength of the stories they are publishing as a whole.

My third author I’ll be reading is Deborah Hining – I have a feeling she’s going to leave an equally strong impression on me, as all three authors combined have a bit of a common threading between them, if you think on it a bit! Laughs. I am simply drawn into lives of strong women who have an obstacle in life or faith affirming moment arising out of their ordinary hours to embrace. I love finding INSPY stories who have a textural element of insight of real-life inside them – where they broach inside what I refer to as INSPY Realistic Fiction as they are such hearty composites of our modern lives or the historical past; depending on the story.

I also like writers who stitch together the faith of their characters through their internal thoughts and show how faith is a cornerstone of their lives; as natural as breathing and as readily important! Thus far, I am happily soaking inside the works by Light Messages authors – finding the publisher truly understands what modern INSPY readers are seeking and how blessed we are the authors are writing such grounded stories of strength and perseverance!

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Book Review | “Tea & Crumples” by Summer KinardTea & Crumples
Subtitle: faith, tea, love : a novel
by Summer Kinard
Source: Direct from Publisher

“Tea is how I love people.”

Welcome to Tea & Crumples where tea brewed strong with grace has the power to bring people together. The click of chess pieces and susurrus of fine papers mingle with aromas of warm pastries, tea,
and the caramel of hospitality. Through it all, the steady love of God pours out in daily rituals.

Meet Sienna, whose spiritual gifts are the heart of the shop. Walk with her as she struggles to believe in miracles even while she walks in the shadow of death under the weight of temptation.

Tea makes Sienna remember. She remembers pain in order to hold fast the joy of her lost daughter and happiness gone in order to hold fast to Peter’s love. Tea is there with Sienna when every bit of her has
been poured out. So are her friends. They keep vigil when all that’s left is faith, tea, and love.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-61153-123-7

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Light Messages Publishing

on 2nd November, 2015

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 314

Published By: Light Messages Publishing (@LMpublishing)

Author Page @ Light Messages Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TeaAndCrumples

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

About Summer Kinard

Summer Kinard

Summer Kinard is the mother of five, a tea lover, soprano, and author of inspiring novels and curricula for active learners.

She writes about faithful people overcoming trials with the help of tea, friendships, and love. Summer’s first novel, Can’t Buy Me Love, was a USA TODAY Happy Ever After pick for Women’s Fiction. Her paranormal Orthodox Christian romance, The Salvation of Jeffrey Lapin, has received glowing reviews from readers.

Summer writes about faith, tea, and love in journeys of healing. Follow her family’s journey with tea at TeaAndCrumples.com. You will find up to date posts on her writing life at her site: WritingLikeAMother.com, or follow her on Instagram for up to the moment updates. All links are below.

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Balancing Life Amidst Chaos:

Although I have taken up java since I turnt twenty-nine (soon to be eight years past), there is something quite authentic about how ‘tea’ can calm your ever last nerve; the aromatherapy notwithstanding; when you brew a cuppa tea – it’s almost as if the act itself has a calming effect long before the brew sets the leaves into the water. I could readily see why Kinard showed how tea fused serenity into Sienna’s life and how the art of tea-drinking was a ritual she appreciated with her husband Peter. Tea has this way of encompassing more of your life than it detracts. I even know java won’t last as long as tea in my drinking habits, except for a return to the ‘green bean’ of Yirgacheffe (the one brew of java that tastes like tea!)!

If tea can help purport balance into one’s life, it’s healthy attributes for your wellness is equally as keen! Sienna knows tea is only one component, she leans hard on her faith even during the hours where her mental focus is off-kilter; she prays as readily as I used to find meditative bliss in the motions of Tai Chi Chaun! Sometimes your prayers change through how you approach a prayerfulness in your life’s activities; ebbing in and out of you as you find new ways to sort through your thoughts and become mindful of your spirit’s rhythm.

My review of Tea & Crumples:

Settling into the atmosphere of Tea & Crumples – a cute start-up bakery with a frazzled owner at it’s helm is a delight, as it strengthens the honesty of how everyday life can have it’s obstacles arrive quite out of the blue and take you for a stumbling spiral of re-acquiring the balance you felt you had already! Sienna’s day was charmed already by the quirky fate of unsuccessful bouts of scones, those curious bakery delights I cannot seem to master myself (seriously always seeking a scone recipe only to find the baked result quite lacking!) whilst a phone call tips her thoughts to consider, how out of order is her life really? Is there more than what she can see on the surface? When multiple things go wrong in our lives, this is the humanistic response system kicking in – what did we let escape our peripherals?!

Sienna was blindsided (no other way to say it) by her husband’s medical crisis finally being discovered by a twist of fate involving a broken leg; although I’ve heard this can happen, so it begs the question, not quite as accidental is it were on appearance? I must confess, owning a book-stationery-bakery or cafe is a dream of my own – especially if fiber artists, vintage typewriter enthusiasts and board gamers would love some good old fashioned analog entertainment! I started to swell in pride just reading about Sienna and Tovah’s business preparations as they followed a path similar to the one I’ve been contemplating myself! I have an entrepreneur background by osmosis from my parents – plus, I am a firm believer in independent businesses which become the lifeblood of any community whilst giving forward motion to one’s country’s economic future. Finding two strong women as start-up business owners really was a bang-on brilliant way to begin Tea & Crumples!

I even appreciated how Tea & Crumples was set-up for traditionalists who were non-technologic – from letter writers and those who write novels by hand to the community spirit of a shared game (in this case: chess); wherein I had fond reflections of playing the same game at Cracker Barrell restaurants as they were the only ones who provided a board! The type of tea shoppe fusion of old world classics and modern adaptations that can enliven your spirit just by stepping inside the door! How I long to have a place such as this locally! It’s truly a hidden gem if you can find one – the coffeehouses tend to takeover the locality of markets but teahouses are equally beneficial!

Counter-current to the opening of her new shoppe, was the reality of having a hospitalised husband fighting Cancer whilst not giving up Hope for having children in the future. (secretly I hoped they’d adopt if they couldn’t conceive; you could feel how natural parenting came to both of them; they’d do a world of good to a child in search of a home) I appreciated seeing how Kinard kept the sensitivity of the situation in tact with how she presented Sienna and Peter, but also, carved in a bit of normalcy too, how even in the worst of health or situation, you can have a bit of peace from home (such as his afghan blanket tucked around him) whilst stepping through a new perimeter of routine. (could relate to this especially when loved ones lived at a nursing home) I loved how you could sense, taste and feel everything Kinard’s characters were expressing or trying to hide from view; including their doubts and fears; the very emotions which tried to overcome them as they kept them at bay by their fortitude of believing all is not yet lost, thereby Hope has a chance to thrive.

The regulars of Tea & Crumples were a curious lot – Cleotis Reed was bent on securing the chess board to match wits with everyone he knew in towne who could challenge him to a good round. Whilst a lingering man of the cloth was giving everyone at the shoppe a bit of worry for the worse, especially in his favouring of Sienna. Bethel was a breath of fresh air – bursting into the shoppe ready to chat about living histories or local lore; always in need of three cups to restore her peace of mind before heading back to work. And, then there were the curious sorts who were not quite known by name of yet, but who liked to take a respite inside the shoppe, writing over tea and letting the atmosphere of the place settle their spirits. The type of place you could be right at home and enjoy the ambiance whilst you visited.

There is a beautiful passage across pages 72 to 75 wherein Kinard has Sienna explain how she understands which tea befits each customer to such a degree of familiarity of what I disclosed in my top anchour of this review, I could only smile! I loved the simplicity of the story’s heart and how with each stitching of a turn of it’s dialogue and sequencing, we get to take a moment of pause on what gives Sienna her greatest strength. A gentle story for a harried world where sometimes it’s quite lovely to read a story about how all of us can renew our own spirit right in the midst of our own life emergency.

Grace moves so strongly through this novel – you become so very absorbed into the story-line, it’s hard to come up for air, much less curate a way to express the emotional tidalwaves of joy you have in reading it! I have felt so attached to Sienna’s life, walking alongside her and watching as her spirit starts to rally back to life as her friends lift her up at the moments where she cannot carry-on by her own accord. She leans on her faith, but we all need a bit of a bolstering at times; for her, it comes through her prayer warrior friend Marnie (who makes long distance calls a feast of friendship and compassion; reminding me of my own past with calls to friends out-of-country) and even through her regulars, such as Bethel who found the truth in her eyes (about the tragic loss her daughter). Bethel had such a caring heart to share her own healing story – how photography and re-visiting places important to her during pregnancy were a way to move forward but with the grace of remembrance and honour to light the path! A very touching sequencing of two maternal hearts growing closer together and where friendship can lend a hand towards strengthening how you allow yourself to heal.

Continuing to see a living testament of Sienna’s faith play out in her erstwhile hope filled prayers and her firm rock of Hope as her husband’s condition vacillated from good to better to worse was realistically charged by the compassionate mercy we can experience in our lives. Mercy to carry on when we feel weakened and mercy to guide us when we feel lost. Kinard knits a close narrative by having each of her characters’ face trials together and be risen in relief by the grace of each of their unique ability to lift up a bit of renewing hope at a moment it’s needed the most. I even liked the fitting ways in which she added prayer to the narrative and how throughout the passages of the story, there were wells of truth etching through the guiding light of her hand on the context of it’s core of inspiration.

Touchingly emotional, achingly honest and giving of the small moments where we battle through our struggle with our humanness to understand life’s changing currents; Tea & Crumples has buoyancy through each darkness that alights on Sienna’s path. I was as heart-stricken as Sienna as she continued to receive bad news in regards to Peter; I think my anguished ‘No’s’ out-spoke her own; I felt so deeply connected to her emotional conscience; half rooted in hope and half realistically calm through the chaos.

Kinard populated this story with such wonderful characters: Tovah the right arm of Sienna in running the company, whose faith was as deep and true as her partners; Lettye whose instincts for customer service were a standard above what you dare think it possible to find; Jessie whose musical gift matches well her joy around children; and Nina whose family immigrated to America has her own sea of troubles brewing on the fringes of everything else that is happening. These women are bonded in their sisterhood, strengthened by their faith and held together through the hope of what tomorrow can yield.

You do not want to exit this story, such a blessed experience to meet it’s characters – you cannot easily put it down either – for even a short absence frets your anxiety, as you simply have to return – how will it all knit up together in the end? What is to become of Peter? What happens to the security of finances for Tea & Crumples? How does Nina’s family weather their impending storm? What will a shoppe with so many negative reviews do to change the mindset of the community? Such a bounty of stress and yet, underneath it all is the simple joys of laughter, shared conversations, and the bounty of the unexpected happiness that wafts in through an open window you did not remember opening!

I could very well return to this world – if it spun into a duology (anchoured by two stories) or proceeded further into more stories. The honest truth is – how can this be the ending!?

A note of appreciation for Summer Kinard:

Generally speaking, my sensitive heart cannot typically handle stories involving Cancer (hence why this is reflected in my Review Policy; though I reserve the right to make exceptions)  – I even shy away from watching motion pictures or tv series that delve into the subject. Not that I flinch from medical crisis IRL; my own family had it’s fair share of medical emergencies, hospital stays, emergency operations, nursing homes and Hospice; although, never for Cancer. Add to the fact my family over the past two decades has been ‘on-call’ for neighbours who have felt more like family to take them to the ER or to be with them for medical procedures when their family cannot fly down or be in a position to take care of these crises themselves. In full extent, I do not know of a ‘break’ from real-life medical situations and drama, whilst my whole back-history is in the industry adjacent to a morgue; perhaps, this is another thread of insight why I had to take a step back!

I think the tipping point for me is that at some point, I had to step away from ‘medical dramas’ (I was a diehard ER fan until the end of Season 5 where I felt when Dr Ross & Nurse Hathaway left, the soul & heart of ER exited too. I staid a bit too long after they were written off the series; I only followed ‘Chicago Hope’ in syndication and I staid with ‘Strong Medicine’ until honestly the story-lines & new character directions made no sense to me whatsoever when Patricia Richardson joined the cast.) both on the screen and inside novels, too.

However, the point I want to make is somehow Kinard has written a story involving Cancer I can handle and one that I think can resonate with wives and men, as it’s the husband of Sienna (her main character who owns Tea & Crumples) who is afflicted. I still stand by not seeking out stories that involve Cancer, as like I said, I have a sensitive heart and medically driven stories are simply difficult for me to work through these days (a few exceptions are midwives or nursing stories). I wanted to read this story earlier in the year, but after my beloved cat passed away quite suddenly from Cancer herself, I knew the timing was once again ‘off’ for me to pick up this novel. I was too blinded by emotional anguish to read much of anything back then, which is one reason I’ve been fighting so hard to get re-inspired to read since the end of January!

I do admit, before it was disclosed this story deals with Prostate Cancer, I nearly closed my eyes at the revelation – I seriously wasn’t even sure til then, if this was something I could handle reading. For some reason, when the person afflicted was Peter and the condition he was diagnosed was what it is, I breathed a sigh of relief. From that moment forward, I simply settled into the heart-centered prose and let Kinard take me inside her story with a full heart focused on where Tea & Crumples would deliver me! I decided to spoilt the type of Cancer for you, dear reader, in case like me, your sensitive to these kinds of stories and would benefit from knowing ‘which affliction’ Peter has to walk through.

On the writing style of Summer Kinard:

Right from the beginning, I knew I loved Kinard’s organic style of incorporating cultural and religious heritage into her novel Tea & Crumples! As she interwove her character’s backgrounds with such an ease, it reminded me of why I loved growing up in a metropolis where the melting pot of America could be visually seen, loved and appreciated! I loved truly how she let each character in turn shine through their voices, manners of speech, personalities and how what weighed on their hearts was welcome to be heard even if Sienna wanted to remind them to seek tolerance and understanding; even in the face of a person soured on life. It’s this kind of knitting of life lessons, spiritual uplift and positive life affirmations threading through her novel I appreciated the most – a delight to read and absorb!

One of the themes of the novel is finding Grace and the mercies arriving inside your life; yet for me, when I first picked up this novel to read (late in the afternoon on Saturday) I had a wave of insight – this novel was underwritten by a beautiful layer of ‘grace’. I did not read an insight into this until much deeper inside the story (on behalf of Kinard adding it to Sienna’s healing journey) – which re-affirms how I have a sense about stories; about the way in which a story can speak to me to read and how as I read a story, I can gather up it’s central heart; treasuring the time I spent with it’s characters. This isn’t the first time I felt so washed over with recognition I had a premonitive thought regarding a story, but it touched me a bit more this time round, which is why I felt I should mention it.

At the conclusion of each chapter, Kinard reveals character profiles rooted out by their preferences for what they drink at Tea & Crumples! It’s uncanny how accurate the characters are being revealled by how their habitual drinking preferences speak to who they are as people but also the slight quirkiness of their personalities as well! The first thing I noticed past this clever addition and reminder of who was being featured last, is how graceful the undertone of Tea & Crumples was written! Kinard has etched into her novel a certain level of light and given her story an undercurrent of loveliness to the reader whose hoping the story has more solace than angst.

Even when the more emotional bits come into view, even early-on, Kinard can be trusted to guide you through them by a calming narrative tone and a reminder about how faith can see us through even if circumstances are spiraling before us; taking away our anchour and giving us a reason to wonder how our strength can continue to carry us forward. This responsive nature in her narrative is why I have always loved INSPY fiction – I am drawn to these stories for a pure uplift by spirit and heart; whilst appreciating the myriad paths of how Inspirational Fiction is crossed through different backgrounds in faith and lifestyles. Kinard herself is a a self-identifying Orthodox Christian inasmuch as my two years of reviewing for Cedar Fort (thread of reviews) was a period of time on my blog where I was more openly describing my walk of faith as a Non-LDS Protestant. This is the gift of INSPY – faith and religion are met at a literary crossroads, where all backgrounds of religion can have a story to be shared with a reader whose open-minded and inspired to seek the stories.

Imagine my joy in continuing to regularly discover and read stories of INSPY through Light Messages and Hachette’s imprints: FaithWords and CenterStreet! (see A Captain for Laura Rose) I am hopeful I might find a few via Blogging for Books as well via Penguin Random Home. The rest of the stories of INSPY I will be reading will come from my personal library and my local library, as I re-define my reading life this latter half of 2016.

I had no idea:

I had no idea the editor for this novel was my first contact with Light Messages: Elizabeth Turnbull! How wickedly brilliant – because I simply loved every inch of this novel; most of which I had to bite my tongue upon writing into my review as it would simply have spoilt the joy of discovery for my readers – there is such a refreshing new twist of phrase to express divinity and insight out of a faith-led life I truly appreciated seeing inked into the pages! Moreso, even was how grace was used as a tapestry of insight to tell the story and how far grace can take us throughout adversity and weave back in happiness during the hours we feel joy has left our grasp!

There are so many enjoyable moments – so many wonderful analogies and especially, those sequences of scenes that held my breath, caught my heart and renewed my spirit! For those, I am thankful this story had such a guiding hand as Ms Turnbull and such a keenly intuitive writer in Ms Kinard at the helm of it’s creation! I can tell I shall be curling up inside her stories again – as this was a wicked delight to read!

This became one of my cherished unputdownable reads for 2016 – I forsaked sleep to finish this story, long past where my eyes were exhausted; I was so dearly attached to Sienna and her journey; how could I sleep and not know how this concludes!? Wow. Ms Turnbull definitely knew I’d love this – she has a true gift in recognising which stories happily speak to which readers!

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Tea & Crumples – Official Book Trailer by LMBooks

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This book review is courtesy of Light Messages Publishing.

Twitter graphic badge for Tea and Crumples provided by Light Messages Publishing and used with permission.

I love this quotation – not only does it summarise the story quite eloquently – it speaks to the cardinal truth of how best to live one’s life. All things are possible if we allow Hope and Grace to intercede on our paths, guiding us further than we thought we could traverse and enriching us along the route.

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Reader Interactive Question:

What uplifts your spirit the most whilst your reading INSPY Fiction!? What draws you back to continue to read authors who are writing stories where faith is centremost in focus to the drama of the narrative unfolding within the novel’s chapters!?

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the novel or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same novel to read.

.@LMpublishing is publishing #INSPY stories I devour due to their heart-focus on Light & Grace! Click To Tweet

.@Somemyrrh is #writing INSPIRING #WomensFiction where faith & grace interconnect through love! Click To Tweet

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Remember! I am reading the novels of Deborah Hining next by Light Messages! I’m starting my first reading of hers (via ‘A Sinner in Paradise’) within the following week! For a quite sneak of a glimpse, visit her Author’s Page!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Tea & Crumples”, book synopsis, author photograph of Summer Kinard, and the Twitter promo quotation card were all provided by Light Messages Publishing and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Comment Box banner created by Jorie in Canva. Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. The book trailer for “Tea & Crumples”had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

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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)

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2 responses to “Book Review | “Tea & Crumples” by Summer Kinard

  1. Carolyn Steele

    What a lovely review to read just as I’m about to brew my own cuppa! Another book I’m going to have to read based on your review! Cheers!

    • Bless you, Ms Steele!

      I love sharing my passion for stories which are writ so beautifully as to uplift my very soul as I’m reading their inner core of heart! I should have brewed a cuppa for myself as I read this story, but I was so dearly engrossed with the story, I could not walk away from it! Not even for a second! When I go to re-read it, I am surely going to try some of the teas mentioned within it’s chapters, but also, what I had forgotten to mention there are some wicked awesome *extras!* in the Appendixes! I know, I *always!* mention those — I was so excited to share my thoughts I had forgotten to say “recipes!” await you, dear reader!

      Truly warms my heart knowing my words on behalf of the stories which touch my heart, mind and spirit are resonating with you to such an accord of clarity! May your readerly heart love the stories once you’re able to make their acquaintances, too! Til then, rock on! I appreciate your kind comments on behalf of my book showcases!

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