Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

HFVBTour for Anna Belfrage’s DAYS OF SUN AND GLORY with Giveaway!!

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What can I say? I LOVE Anna Belfrage’s books, and I love this series! I am thrilled to be part of this tour.

Adam and Kit’s story takes place in a time that I am not overly familiar with (1300’s – I’m more of a Tudor gal), and I find it so interesting and educational to read about the various trials and tribulations as folks fight to be close to the crown. I love Kit’s character and her strength of personality and spirit. Each of these books gives me a great story (well-written), new info to learn, and a visit with characters I enjoy!

If you are “missing” Anna between books, check out her blog, which is fun to read and always interesting!

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review copy!

Days of Sun and Glory (The King’s Greatest Enemy #2)
by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: July 4, 2016
Matador
eBook & Paperback; 418 Pages

Series: The King’s Greatest Enemy
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Adam de Guirande has barely survived the aftermath of Roger Mortimer’s rebellion in 1321. When Mortimer manages to escape the Tower and flee to France, anyone who has ever served Mortimer becomes a potential traitor – at least in the eyes of King Edward II and his royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Adam must conduct a careful balancing act to keep himself and his family alive. Fortunately, he has two formidable allies: Queen Isabella and his wife, Kit. England late in 1323 is a place afflicted by fear. Now that the king’s greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere – among Mortimer’s former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France.

Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the king’s grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is time to act – to safeguard her own position, but also that of her son, Edward of Windsor. As Adam de Guirande has pledged himself to Prince Edward he is automatically drawn into the queen’s plans – whether he likes it or not.

Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics. Yet again, they risk their lives – and that of those they hold dear – as the king and Mortimer face off. Once again, England is plunged into war – and this time it will not end until either Despenser or Mortimer is dead.

Days of Sun and Glory is the second in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

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Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.

When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.

Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.

Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.

The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, was published in 2015. The second book, Days of Sun and Glory, will be published in July 2016.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog,http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule –

Follow along and discover a new blog!

Monday, August 29
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 30
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, August 31
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads

Thursday, September 1
Review at Lampshade Reader
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, September 2
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, September 5
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, September 6
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, September 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, September 8
Interview at Books and Benches
Character Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, September 9
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, September 12
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 13
Review at Let Them Read Books
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, September 14
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, September 15
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Monday, September 19
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, September 20
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, September 21
Review at It’s a Mad Mad World

Friday, September 23
Review at The True Book Addict
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Monday, September 26
Review at Diana’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, September 27
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings

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Giveaway

To win a copy of Days of Sun & Glory by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/oVmiR/days-of-sun-and-glory

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FORGIVE ME by Daniel Palmer

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Description (via Net Galley)

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THAT DARKNESS by Lisa Black

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Description (via Net Galley)

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Worst-Kept Secret by Sienna Cash

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No one wants to move back home at twenty-six—especially not Charlie Michaelsen, and *especially* not if it means dealing with her overbearing sister, not to mention confronting six years’ worth of unresolved grief over her dad’s death. But when reclaiming her childhood bedroom coincides with reconnecting with her long-lost high-school sweetheart, it feels like a sign. Next door, Wade Hunter has moved home, too. Charlie hasn’t seen her neighbor since he was an awkward tween, still using the shared treehouse that had defined her own childhood. Now he’s back, a nineteen-year-old college student with secrets of his own—and embarrassingly gorgeous to boot. As her ex-boyfriend frustrates her—are they just friends with benefits?—Charlie turns more and more to the kid next door. Along the way their running dates and casual conversations give way to something that feels like anything but “just friends.” Simple lust? That’s the easy answer. But maybe there’s a deeper reason why the only person Charlie can talk to—and be real with—is the teenaged boy next door.

WORST-KEPT SECRET is a sexy, poignant tale about love, grief, family, and childhood… and how sometimes going home means growing up. (Amazon overview)

 

So – I actually know Sienna Cash but she DID NOT ask me to review her book. In fact, I purchased it for myself for my kindle through Amazon. This is a “New Adult” title – a relatively new genre that is geared to 18-25 year olds. I have had some challenges with this genre in the past as I find the protagonists (female in every one I’ve read) to be completely self-centered and annoying, and the stories often without merit. I chalk that up to my being old (50 this year!) and rather old-fashioned and married. However, this novel was different I just loved this book! This was a fun and fulfilling read, where Charlie actually realized her complete self-centeredness. Charlie was not a perfect person but her imperfections were at times hysterically funny. What I liked best about Charlie – unlike some other novels I’ve read in this genre – was that she didn’t go around thinking she was better than everyone else and that she was entitled to better treatment than the next person just because she was – I don’t know – young? pretty? something else? She was very real.

I think another reason I liked this book so much was that it took place outside of Boston in a town very similar to the one where I work (which I do not think is a coincidence). It’s always great to be able to perfectly picture a setting.

So pick up this book if you are looking for a great end of summer read. I hope that there is more to come of Charlie’s story. Keep writing, Sienna!🙂

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HFVBTour for Susan Spann’s THE NINJA’S DAUGHTER

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I am very excited to be part of the blog tour for Susan Spann’s latest installment in her Hiro Hattori mysteries: THE NINJA’S DAUGHTER. I had recently read THE FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER and really enjoyed it. I love cozy series and this time and setting is unique for my reading: 1500’s Japan, with a Jesuit priest and his bodyguard Ninja master as the main characters. Susan Spann is a master at plotting and a fantastic writer. The mystery moved along at a solid pace, with lots of actions and twists, but what I love most is how much the culture and daily life of Japan in those long ago days are imbued in these books. I feel like I’m learning as I’m reading – which is why I love HF!

Here’s the overview from HFVBT:

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The Ninja’s Daughter: A Hiro Hattori Novel by Susan Spann

Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Seventh Street Books
eBook & Paperback; 230 Pages

Series: Hiro Hattori Novels/Shinobi Mysteries
Genre: Historical Mystery

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Autumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.

As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace–but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.

In The Ninja’s Daughter, Susan Spann’s poetic voice brilliantly captures the societal disparities, political intrigues, and martial conflicts of sixteenth-century Japan through the persevering efforts of ninja detective Hiro Hattori to solve a murder authorities consider of no consequence.” -JEFFREY SIGER, International Bestselling Author

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iTunes | Indiebound | Kobo

About the Author

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Susan Spann is the author of three previous novels in the Shinobi Mystery series: Claws of the Cat, Blade of the Samurai, and Flask of the Drunken Master. She has a degree in Asian Studies and a lifelong love of Japanese history and culture. . When not writing, she works as a transactional attorney focusing on publishing and business law, and raises seahorses and rare corals in her marine aquarium.

For more information please visit Susan Spann’s website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, andGoodreads.

Follow the tour and discover a new blog!

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 25
Review at The Readers Hollow
Review & Giveaway at Lampshade Reader

Tuesday, July 26
Review at Reading the Past

Wednesday, July 27
Review at Nerd in New York

Thursday, July 28
Spotlight at Cafinated Reads
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, July 29
Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, August 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, August 2
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Booklover Book Reviews

Wednesday, August 3
Guest Post at Diana’s Book Reviews

Friday, August 5
Spotlight at The Bookaholic Swede

Sunday, August 7
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, August 8
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 9
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, August 10
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, August 12
Spotlight at Laura’s Interests
Spotlight at Life of a Female Bibliophile

Monday, August 15
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, August 16
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, August 17
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Thursday, August 18
Review at Layered Pages

Friday, August 19
Spotlight at Christy’s Cozy Corners

Monday, August 22
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Tuesday, August 23
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, August 24
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Thursday, August 25
Spotlight at The Recipe Fairy

Friday, August 26
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME PART OF THE TOUR AND FOR MY E-COPY TO REVIEW!

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GLORY OVER EVERYTHING by Kathleen Grissom

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I really enjoyed THE KITCHEN HOUSE, so I was thrilled when GLORY OVER EVERYTHING – Beyond the Kitchen House – came up on Net Galley. This novel essentially continues the story begun in THE KITCHEN HOUSE. (see my review of that here )

Here’s what Net Galley had to say about GLORY OVER EVERYTHING:

Description

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Litfuse Blog Tour for WHEN DEATH DRAWS NEAR by Carrie Stuart Parks

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I’m happy today to be part of the blog tour for WHEN DEATH DRAWS NEAR by Carrie Stuart Parks, through Litfuse Publicity.
Here’s an overview of the novel:

When Death Draws Near (Thomas Nelson, August 2016)

Death has always been part of Gwen Marcey’s job. But when faced with her own mortality, everything takes on a different hue.

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs and homes when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky. The Eastern Kentucky town, located deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, has been plagued by a serial rapist and a series of unexplained deaths. Before Gwen can develop a composite drawing, the latest witness vanishes, just like all the previous victims.

Turning her attention to sketching the face of an unidentified body, she discovers a link between his death and a Pentecostal serpent-handling church. Serpent-handling is illegal in Kentucky, and the churches have gone underground to avoid the authorities and continue to worship as they believe. Gwen is offered a handsome reward to infiltrate the renegade members, a reward she desperately needs as it seems her breast cancer has returned.

Joined by her digitally-obsessed, Generation Z daughter, Gwen goes undercover to a nineteenth century revival, planning to draw the faces of the snake handlers so they can be identified and arrested. Instead she uncovers a murderous plot and a festering evil.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2auSB8Y

About the author:
 
 

Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
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This story was a little different than I expected, but I enjoyed it. (I was thinking it might be very “noir”). It is number three in a series, but it is a stand-alone title (I hadn’t read the previous books and didn’t realize they they existed until after I was done with this one).
Gwen is a strong female character, struggling with numerous personal issues (divorce, parenting, health, general self-esteem, etc.). I liked how her emotions and feelings were realistic; what I struggled with was that some of her actions required me to suspend my belief (would you take your teenage daughter along if you knew you were in danger? I wouldn’t). I liked the story, though, and found it fast-paced.
This is under the Thomas Nelson imprint, which is a Christian imprint line, however, this story didn’t seem like the typical Christian novel I receive. I have readers who do not pick up books classed as “Christian” as they feel they don’t relate (basically because they aren’t Christian), however I think this book would appeal to a wide range of readers. One thing I did like about this story line and the character of Gwen was the underlying theme of accepting yourself for who you are and accepting your challenges in life with grace, and knowing that you aren’t alone.
I will look for other books by Carrie Stuart Parks – including those in this series!
Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review e-copy!
But wait, there’s more!!
A Giveaway!
 For an “Undercover Artist Starter Set” ==

When Death Draws Near Carrie Stuart Parks
Plunge into forensic artist Gwen Marcey’s world, full of cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects. Add Carrie Stuart Parks’ new Gwen Marcey novel, When Death Draws Near, to the top of your must-read list. Gwen accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before she can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her—before she becomes a victim herself?

Join Carrie in celebrating the release of When Death Draws Near by entering to win an Undercover Artist Starter Set.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 22. The winner will be announced August 23 on the Litfuse blog.

when death draws near - enterbanner
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BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B.A. Paris

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This book was sent to me by the publisher as part of a campaign celebrating its publication this month.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

The debut psychological thriller you can’t miss!

“A hair-raising debut, both unsettling and addictive…A chilling thriller that will keep you reading long into the night.” ―Mary Kubica, New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author of The Good Girl

This is one readers won’t be able to put down.” ―Booklist (starred review)

“This debut is guaranteed to haunt you…Warning: brace yourself.” ―Bustle (10 New Thrillers to Read This Summer)

The sense of believably and terror that engulfs Behind Closed Doors doesn’t waver.” ―The Associated Press, picked up by The Washington Post

This was one of the best and most terrifying psychological thrillers I have ever read.” ―San Francisco Book Review

 

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable.

Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.

Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.

From bestselling author B. A. Paris comes the gripping thriller and international phenomenon Behind Closed Doors.

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Me again!

Can I just say that I got this book and started reading and then read it all night long until I finished. It had that “Girl on the Train” or “Gone Girl” quality that you just don’t want to put it down and leave it. I’m not going to give away the details here as that would spoil the read, but it had the creepy suspense of “what is going on here??” leading to “what will she do??” to “what is going to happen???” It actually gave me nightmares.

Added to all this was a brilliant marketing campaign where I actually received LETTERS IN THE MAIL from the main character, beseeching me to help her. My kids saw one of those and got a little freaked out when I glibly responded to their horrified, “Mom, WHO is this from??” with “Oh don’t worry – it’s just a character from a book I was reading”. My husband referred to them as “mail from Beth’s imaginary friend”.

If you like suspense and one of those “read it til 4 am even if you have to get up and go to work” titles – this is one for you!!

Here’s a You Tube video for you:

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GIOCONDA by Lucille Turner

Back in May, I did a book blast for Lucille Turner’s GIOCONDA. ((see it here!)

I put this book on my TBR list and the author sent me a copy as a gift (thank you!).

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This is a beautifully written story of Leonardo da Vinci, starting in his boyhood. I loved reading of these days, with a young Leonardo who realizes he is different from others, but is not exactly sure how or why. Once his genius and artistic gift is realized, his career and reputation grows.

However, at heart this is a story of the man Leonardo and it presents him as very human and very real. Within this is the story of the Mona Lisa — who is she and why did Leonardo never deliver her portrait once he had painted it? (which is true!).

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

A solitary and unusual child, Leonardo’s only intimate is Lisa Gherardini, the girl who spies on him in his workshop. Spurned by his tutor, he is sent by his despairing father to Florence as an apprentice. Under the guiding hand of Verrocchio, the master sculptor, he begins to make his name. But success requires sacrifice; Florence demands a level of conformity impossible for him. Forced to leave, Leonardo places himself at the service of the charismatic, power-thirsty Duke of Milan. His journey leads him back to Lisa and the portrait he has waited so long to paint, the culmination of his life’s work.
From the glittering court of the Medici to the mortuaries of Milan and the battlefields of the Po valley, Lucille Turner’s powerful novel vividly imagines Leonardo’s lonely struggle to convince others of his vision of the world.
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I loved this story and appreciated Ms. Turner’s beautiful writing.
Here’s some info on her:
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Author of Gioconda, a novel about the life of Leonardo Da Vinci, Lucille Turner is an international prize-winning novelist who lives between England and France. She has an MA in Comparative Literature and teaches part-time at university in France.

For more information please visit Lucille Turner’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

GIOCONDA is highly recommended for those who enjoy reading Historical Fiction from this time period.
As of this writing (8-6-16), GIOCONDA is only $1.99 for kindle!!
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Saturday Snapshot — More from NYC!

Following up on last week’s post, I wanted to add some shots from St. Pat’s Cathedral and also show the two shows we saw: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and Waitress. We really enjoyed both of them!

I’ve added a picture of the cute little apple pies they were selling at intermission at Waitress!

One morning my husband had to make a business call, so I went out and about and ended up in the Today Show crowd on tv! Now I wish I had a picture of that!!🙂

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at westmetromommyreads.com. See her site for full participation details!

 

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