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Review – The New Husband – D.J. Palmer

the new husbandThe New Husband
Author: D.J. Palmer
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
What makes Simon Fitch so perfect?
-He knows all her favorite foods, music, and movies.
-Her son adores him. He was there when she needed him most.
-He anticipates her every need.
-He would never betray her like her first husband.

The perfect husband. He checks all the boxes.

The question is, why?

Nina Garrity learned the hard way that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But with Glen gone―presumably drowned while fishing on his boat―she couldn’t confront him about the affair or find closure to the life he blew apart.

Now, a year and a half later, Nina has found love again and hopes she can put her shattered world back together. Simon, a widower still grieving the death of his first wife, thinks he has found his dream girl in Nina, and his charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, while her friends see a different side to him, and they aren’t afraid to use the word obsession.

Nina works hard to bridge the divide that’s come between her daughter and Simon. She wants so badly to believe her life is finally getting back on track, but she’ll soon discover that the greatest danger to herself and her children are the lies people tell themselves.

Review:
After my enjoyment of Saving Meghan (see review HERE), I was honestly worried when i was offered the chance to review The New Husband on whether it could keep it on the edge of my seat like Saving Meghan did. But to start of, I would caveat that this book should have some kind of trigger warning for abuse – just as a heads up. there were a few places that I felt uncomfortable and I’ve never been in that kind of situation.

While I found this one to be must more in your face with the whole done it (I mean, i had a pretty solid idea of who the bad guy was fairly early on) but seeing all the psychological twists…at one stage I tweeted that the book was a total mindfuck – and it was. Its honestly hard to write a good review without divulging spoilers and I hate doing that.

I will admit that through most of the book Nina kind of annoyed me – I know that Simon was a psycho and all that but it seems like she had no personality even with her first husband and now was just trying to find herself. Her daughter was by far the more interesting of the 3 characters you get to know in the Garrity family – and I really liked her friend (and of course, the dog made the story all the more enjoyable like dogs do). My only other comment will be that there was a bit of a dangling thread to simon’s story that i would have loved to have seen tied up – but that makes me wonder if there is another story coming…

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2020 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – The Lover’s Portrait – Jennifer S. Alderson

the lover's portraitThe Lover’s Portrait
Author: Jennifer S. Alderson
Series: #1 in the Zelda Richardson Mystery series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
When a Dutch art dealer hides the stock from his gallery – rather than turn it over to his Nazi blackmailer – he pays with his life, leaving a treasure trove of modern masterpieces buried somewhere in Amsterdam, presumably lost forever. That is, until American art history student Zelda Richardson sticks her nose in.

After studying for a year in the Netherlands, Zelda scores an internship at the prestigious Amsterdam Historical Museum, where she works on an exhibition of paintings and sculptures once stolen by the Nazis, lying unclaimed in Dutch museum depots almost seventy years later.

When two women claim the same painting, the portrait of a young girl entitled Irises, Zelda is tasked with investigating the painting’s history and soon finds evidence that one of the two women must be lying about her past. Before she can figure out which one it is and why, Zelda learns about the Dutch art dealer’s concealed collection. And that Irises is the key to finding it.

Her discoveries make her a target of someone willing to steal – and even kill – to find the missing paintings. As the list of suspects grows, Zelda realizes she has to track down the lost collection and unmask a killer if she wants to survive.

Review:
Sometimes when you pick up a random book for a reading challenge (in this instance, I needed a book that was set primarily in Netherlands), you discover a gem. The Lover’s Portrait is one of those gem’s – i’d honestly never even heard of the author and I came by it searching fiction and Netherlands on Amazon (and then narrowing down to kindle unlimited books). I’ve studied the holocaust on and off over the years and know about the looting and stealing of artwork that occurred in many of the Nazi occupied countries – so a mystery about discovering what happened to a collection of paintings was something that caught my eye and i borrowed it. And then it sat on my kindle – i think for maybe close to a month before I actually picked up my kindle and read it.

I was pretty much sucked into Zelda’s story right away – she kind of reminded me of myself at times (not that i have any experience with museum’s – but rather the bull in a china shop get right to the problem and sometimes going a bit too far). I thought the author did a good job of writing a character who was kind of out of place in society as she isn’t native dutch but also trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her lift (and waiting to find out if she was accepted in a master’s program in museum studies). The mystery in and of itself was solid – i had kind of an inkling about 1/2 way through of who the bad guy(s) were but at times, the author left me questioning whether I was right or not (which to me is the sign of a good mystery). I liked how she alternated between WW2 Amsterdam and present day Amsterdam.

I’ll admit that i’ve already borrowed the second book in the series and can’t wait to see where Zelda’s adventures take her next!

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2020 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review- Beach Read – Emily Henry

beach readBeach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Publication Date: 19 May 2020 (Berkley)
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2

Review Copy Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss

Description:
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Review:
I was scrolling through Edelweiss a few weeks ago looking at the available for download books when I came across Beach Read. While I’ll admit, I initially clicked on the description because of the cover, it was the first couple lines of the description (romance writing no longer believing in love) that totally sold me. It is kind of obvious from the majority of my reviews here, that romance is a genre that I read on a pretty frequent basis – but having a POV of a romance author who didn’t believe in love, seemed like something unique. Plus enemies to lovers (in this instance a romance writer and a literary writer – which gives me visions of a dude with his nose in the air) seemed like something that I would enjoy – since in general its one of my favorite romance tropes.

The premise to me was an interesting dichotomy, I follow quite a few romance authors on various social media platforms and the vast majority all seem to have a happily ever after with the significant other that potentially helps to feed into their writing mojo (I don’t have any solid proof of this but its a pretty solid working hypothesis). Anyways – what happens when a romance writer can no longer write romance – what does she do next? That formed a great basis for a challenge between two writers – January will try her hand at writing the next great american novel (which honestly, i typically try to avoid because i find majority of them to be pretentious) and Augustus (aka Gus) would try his hand at writing a romance novel.

I think the weakest part of the plot for me – we saw a lot about January writing her great american novel, but i wanted to see more of Gus trying to write his romance. I don’t know if alternating POV’s would have worked but the ending just left me feeling a bit empty about that aspect of the plot – which is why I ultimately gave Beach Read 3.5 stars.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2020 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – Free – Chris Anderson

freeFree: The Future of a Radical Price
Author: Chris Anderson
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆
Dewey Decimal Challenge: 658 General management

Description:
Far more than a promotional gimmick, Free is a business strategy that may well be essential to a company’s survival. The costs associated with the growing online economy are trending toward zero at an incredible rate. Never in the course of human history have the primary inputs to an industrial economy fallen in price so fast and for so long.

Just think that in 1961 a single transistor cost $10; now Intel’s latest chip has two billion transistors and sells for $300 (or 0.000015 cents per transistor – effectively too cheap to price). The traditional economics of scarcity just don’t apply to bandwidth, processing power, and hard-drive storage. Yet this is just one engine behind the new Free, a reality that goes beyond a marketing gimmick or a cross-subsidy.

Anderson also points to the growth of the reputation economy; explains different models for unleashing the power of Free; and shows how to compete when your competitors are giving away what you’re trying to sell.

Review:
Its been a while since I’ve dabbled in my Dewey Decimal Reading Challenge. Not that I haven’t been reading any non-fiction, I still probably average a book a month – but I definitely fell into my comfort zone of biographies since I stopped blogging. So a SRC (Seasonal Reading Challenge) task to read a non-fiction book that had been shelved as Economics seemed like a good way to get back to it.

Free is a word when it comes to services that we think a lot about. For many of us, we use many free services every day – especially if you are on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are all free. For the readers among us, Goodreads is free or my other often used site MyFitnessPal (where there is a free and a premium option). Most recently Strava, a running/cycling app, announced that many of the benefits that used to be free were now going to be exclusive to members (for $4 a month) – but the number of people I observed who talked about no longer using was significant. Chris Anderson’s book talks about how services can offer, what are oftentimes robust, services for free. How they can pursue funding with limited costs and other economic benefits.

Honestly, many of the things he touched on, I had never really considered. I’ll admit (guiltily) that I spend a significant amount of time of Goodreads most days which is a prime free site for readers; I’ll also admit that I pay the premium fee for MyFitnessPal (mostly because it allows a slightly greater level of customization that I enjoy). This book made me things about free, nearly free and services that cost. It was kinda dry at times (but honestly that is just economics in general for me – i think i went through 5+ books for this task – all borrowed free from my library – before settling on this book).

Overall 3 stars.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Review – Stages of the Heart – Jo Goodman

Stages of the Heart
Author: Jo Goodman
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2
Release Date: 05 May 2020

Review Copy Provided via Publisher and Edelweiss

Description:
Experience has taught Laurel to be suspicious of the men who pass through Morrison Station. She’s been running the lucrative operation that connects Colorado’s small frontier town of Falls Hollow with the stagecoach line since she inherited it from her father, and she’s not about to let some wandering cowboy take over the reins. But newcomer McCall Landry isn’t just any gunslinger. He seems to genuinely care for Laurel, and with his rugged good looks and mysterious past, he could be the one man to finally tempt her off track…

Call Landry doesn’t expect much from Falls Hollow. He doesn’t expect much from anything anymore. But Laurel Morrison took him by surprise when she put in a good word for him, a virtual stranger, after the stagecoach was robbed–and she keeps taking him by surprise. Charmed by her clever wit and fierce loyalty, Call finds himself falling hard. Now all he has to do is convince her he means to stay–in her bed, in her life, and in her heart.

Review
I feel like Jo Goodman is an author I should have read more of – but when i go and look at my goodreads shelves, i’ve only read one book by her with 2 more shelved. Yet, when i started reading Stages of the Heart I felt like i was falling into a comfort zone. American Historicals seem to be a sub-genre in romance that has (while not necessarily fallen out of favor) but just not as popular recently (or at least so i’ve noticed). Stages of the Heart takes post-Civil War US and mixes in an independant (and sometimes fiesty) female, a war veteran and a mystery.

I thought overall the mystery was probably the better part of the plot – the romance (at times) felt kind of forces and just ah ha – i don’t know if i completely bought it. Not saying that it was bad – it just felt a bit lacking at times. I liked how Ms. Goodman developed the mystery plot line and while I had an inkling of who i thought the culprit was, it didn’t spoil the reveal towards the end. The character of characters (namely Laurel’s ranch hands – the old man names Rooster and the twins) were a needed comic relief at times. Honestly, i would love to see a short story or 2 about them – maybe the twins down the road – just musing out loud.

Anyways, a solid historical romance with mystery – definately heavier on the mystery if you look those kind of plots (like I do). Overall, 3.5 stars.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2020 in Book Review, Review

 

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Long Hiatus

i'm back

Wow – its hard to believe that my last post here was in April 2019 – which means, that I officially didn’t blog for over a year.

Its not hard to explain why – a combination of multiple reading slumps (I think i actually went close to 2 months without reading any kind of romance which i think is a record for me); demanding civilian job and training for my third Ironman (we’ll just say that day didn’t go as planned) – and now prepped for a military deployment for a year. But i’m back! i can’t promise that I’ll post every day or even every week but i’ll do my best!

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Review – Saving Meghan – D.J. Palmer

Saving Meghan
Author: D.J. Palmer
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided By Publisher

Description:
Can you love someone to death?

Some would say Becky Gerard is a devoted mother and would do anything for her only child. Others claim she’s obsessed and can’t stop the vicious circle of finding a cure at her daughter’s expense.

Fifteen-year-old Meghan has been in and out of hospitals with a plague of unexplained illnesses. But when the ailments take a sharp turn, doctors intervene and immediately suspect Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare behavioral disorder where the primary caretaker, typically the mother, seeks medical help for made-up symptoms of a child. Is this what’s going on? Or is there something even more sinister at hand?

Review
Saving Meghan came at the perfect time for me, I was getting ready to head out of town for a short trip and I was in an epic reading funk. I started reading it one day at lunch (while I was waiting a brutally long time for my computer profile to load) and before I knew it, I was sneaking chapters in between breaks in class and I totally blew off a workout that night to keep reading. So yeah, I kind of devoured it. Also I loved the interactive part of reading this – when the publisher asked you to tweet were you – #believebecky or #protectmeghan – because it made you think about which side of the debate you came down on – did I believe that Becky (Meghan’s mother) was hurting her or was Meghan really sick…

I’m not going to spoil Saving Meghan for you – and honestly, its kind of hard to touch on many of the different plot points without potentially risking spoilers – but suffice to say that I totally didn’t predict anything about how the story unwound, whatsoever…I was guessing right up until the very last page what was going to happen. I did think that Palmer did a solid job of developing all of the characters – even those that I thought were going to be relatively minor to the storyline – were two dimensional and believable. There were so many different layers to the characters in Saving Meghan – there was family dysfunction (oh boy was Becky’s family dysfunctional); there were the medical mystery of what was going on with Meghan, there was a family dealing with grief and the role that the internet plays in solving medical mysteries (or does it cause more confusion).

D.J. Palmer is a new to me author, but after taking a look at his website (which is under his pseudonym Daniel Palmer) – i’m definitely going to be reading more of them by him in the future. I love a good medical thriller/suspense/mystery and good ones are often few and far between (so if you have any recommendations, please let me know!)

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2019 in Book Review, Review

 

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March Wrap-Up

And with a blink of the eye, the first quarter of the year is over. and I have to say this, holy shit, time is flying! This month seemed to speed by – of course, it helped that I was traveling for two weeks so I had nothing to really do but go to the class I was attending, workout and read – without all the distractions of home (although I missed my pup like mad) – see obligatory picture…this is her common pose while i’m laying on the couch reading (or working out in the basement). The end of March saw a most gorgeous weekend with temps in the 70’s – which meant I got to sit outside, get some Vitamin D and finish up the month with some solid reading. Overall for March, my total was 29 books – so right in line with what I read last month and in January (for a current total of 89 books for the year).

New Authors Discovered:
I kick off the month with two new to me authors – that I know I will definitely read more of in the future – my first experience with reading Sylvain Neuval came from his dystopian novella set in the UK where immigrants have to sit a test to determine if they are worthy enough to be granted citizenship. I followed very quickly with The Girls of 17 Swann Street (Yara Zgheib) – which was an emotional look into a residence facility for women with eating disorders. For me it provided a very stark reminder of how fragile life is and how eating habits can transition over time into an eating disorder – but how there is help available. I don’t know if the author had ever been in one of these treatment facilities – but she had an insight that seemed to be very realistic. Finally, while I was traveling, a book that I had on reserve on overdrive for like 2 months came available for me to listen to – so I also discovered Dani Shapiro – though her memoir, Inheritance.

Diversity Challenge
One of my favorite books of March was one that I found when I was scrolling through a list of new releases for March – which was also one of the new to me authors I discovered – The Girls of 17 Swann Street which helped me with my diversity challenge as it featured characters who suffer from a mental disorder (anorexia, as it has a heavy mental component). This was one of those books that I started reading Sunday morning and by that evening, I had finished. It was a can’t put down book for me and I know that I’ve recommended it to several people already. I also read Lion by Saroo Bierdley – this book was the basis of a movie that was released a few years ago where a young Indian man, who had gotten lost as a child was adopted by an Australian couple, finds his childhood home through the miracle of the internet and google maps. In addition to The Test (Sylvain Neuval) mentioned above, I also read two books where main characters who are the children of immigrants or members of another culture (in these instances, specifically Chinese with American Panda (Gloria Chao) and Indian with When Dimple Met Rishi (Sandhya Menon)). I’ll admit that 3 months in, I’m really enjoying this diversity challenge as its making me look more closely at the books i’m picking to read, because previously I was definitely stay within a relatively narrow scope of authors/genres.

Series Continued
March was pretty much a solid hit for series that I’m in the process of continuing. I finished up 2 books in a trilogy that I’d been waiting to finish for a couple of months; I also listened to do more additions in J.D Robb’s In Death series (the end is actually nearly in sight with listening to books 38/39 and currently 48 books in the series available! honestly I catn’t believe that the author still keeps me intrigued with all the different storylines!) My enjoyment of Lisa Kleypas and her historicals continued with the most recent in her Ravenel’s series – but the best part of the entire book for me was seeing Sebastian and Evie from The Devil in the Winter (which is like one of my favoritest historicals romances of all time).

Tackling the TBR
Of the 29 books I read this month, 8 of them were books that had been on my TBR/TBL pile since before January 2018 (because hey, I figure more than 15 months counts being lost on the TBR). The book that has been on the TBR pile the longest that I read this month was Red’s Hot Honky-Tonk Bar – which I bought wayyyy back in 2008-09 (I think it was potentially one of the first books I bought for the kindle way back when. it always surprises me when I enjoy books that have loitered on my TBR for that long – especially authors like Pamela Morsi – who I have read books by before and always enjoyed (yeah, i’m kind of a doofus…lol).

When all was said and done, I think March was a fairly successful reading month and I can’t wait to see what April brings for me – especially since April features the first of the two Dewey Readathons for the year 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2019 in Month in Review

 

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February Wrap-Up

Ahhh, February – the shortest month of the year and the one that a) either feels like it is going to last forever or b) just flies by – you never know. Its also the month where it can be 60+ degrees somedays and on others snowing and storming. I know I don’t regret the snow day we had last week from work, or the fact that I had several days where we had a delayed work start (which is solid because I can get my workout in earlier in the day rather than in the evening). February saw me read (or listen) to 30 books – which is on the lower side of my normal reading (of course it doesn’t help that I have like 10 different books in progress…lol).

New Authors Discovered
February definitely was a GREAT month for discovering new authors – Of the 30 books that I read, 9 were by new to me authors, and at least 4 of them have been added to my read more in the future pile. I already have several books by Fredrik Bachman checked out from the library and on the pile for March and waiting (impatiently) for the next book by Helen Hoang. The Kiss Quotient (Helen Huong) gets the award for the most unique but likeable characters; and Saving Meghan (D.J. Palmer) for the most unlikeable characters (and yet I found myself completely sucked in). I also forsee a binge read of the J.A. Jance series that I started (Joanna Brady series)

Series Continued
I continued to dig into the multitude of series that I have in progress this month. I binged on books 2 and 3 in Kristi Belcamino’s Gabriella Giovanni series and then bought the remaining books in the series so that I could finish reading it in March. I also read the next installment in Rosalind James’ Escape from New Zealand series (I totally fall into the delayed gratification for this series, by trying to ration the books that have been released). I finished up Lauren Dane’s Ink and Chrome Trilogy (although I’ll flat out admit that it wasn’t my favorite book in the series) and jumped back into Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles (the third book def. suffered from that transition in series weakness – or at least I think so). I also continued with the next book in Lucy Lennox’s Made Marian series. JD Robb gave a solid installment to the In Death series with Thankless in Death (I finished up the last chapter of that on the first of the month) Finally, after discovering him in January, I buddy listening to the remaining 2 books in the Reckoner’s series by Branden Sanderson (although technically I finished up the last bit of the third book on the first day of March).

Diversity Challenge
February saw me read a book that hit both a neurodiverse character and by an author that identifies as such – I think of the 30 books that I read this month, The Kiss Quotient was in my top 3 favorites for the month. I loved Stella as a character and the romance between her and Michael had the right amount of sexual tension building throughout. I laughed out loud in several places, in particular, her lesson plans that she made for her sexual experiences. In addition, to the Kiss Quotient, I also rediscovered my enjoyment of m/m romances (specifically this month ones by Mary Calmes) and I’m part-way finished with Halsey Street (Naima Coster) which showed up on my kindle screen one night and caught my eye. I should have it finished in the next couple of days.

Tackling the TBR
Of all my various reading goals, this month my goal of tackling Mt To-Be-Read/Mt To-Be-Listened was the most successful. Of the 30 books that I read, 9 had been on my TBR pile for longer than three years and another 3 for longer than a year. I already mentioned it, but Thankless in Death was probably my favorite lost on Mt TBL that I got to this month (even though I did technically finish it up in March, over 90% of it was listened to in February). I also started Maya Banks KGI series (the first book has been on Mt TBR since 2012 and for some reason and I don’t remember buying them all, but I own books 1-8…I think I might have a TINY problem…) I also had to laugh when I requested a book from the library (The Winter Over) to discover that I had actually bought back in January 2017 (and I have now created a shelf on Goodreads called – “totally forgot I bought that” for those random finds).

My Top 3 Reads for February:
The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang
Beartown – Fredrik Bachman
From Lukov With Love – Mariana Zapata

What About You? How was your February Reading? Did you discover any new must-recommend authors?

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2019 in Month in Review, Uncategorized

 

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Buddy Read – Bleak House – Charles Dickens


Welcome! Come and join Moonlight Reader and me in our buddy read of the Dicken’s classic, Bleak House.

About Bleak House:
Bleak House opens in the twilight of foggy London, where fog grips the city most densely in the Court of Chancery. The obscure case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, in which an inheritance is gradually devoured by legal costs, the romance of Esther Summerson and the secrets of her origin, the sleuthing of Detective Inspector Bucket and the fate of Jo the crossing-sweeper, these are some of the lives Dickens invokes to portray London society, rich and poor, as no other novelist has done. Bleak House, in its atmosphere, symbolism and magnificent bleak comedy, is often regarded as the best of Dickens. A ‘great Victorian novel’, it is so inventive in its competing plots and styles that it eludes interpretation.

Proposed Reading Schedule: (subject to real-life)
Week 1 (25Feb-03Mar) – Chapters Preface-12
Week 2 (04Mar-11Mar) – Chapters 13-24
Week 3 (11Mar-17Mar) – Chapters 25-36
Week 4 (18Mar-24Mar) – Chapters 37-48
Week 5 (25Mar-31Mar) – Chapters 49-60
Week 6 (01Apr-07Apr) – Chapters 61-67
Week 7 (08Apr-14Apr) – Extra Week (if needed)

Discussion Questions:
Well, i’m still looking for some good discussion questions – so there may be some posted at the end of each week, I’m really not sure yet 😉

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2019 in Buddy Listen

 

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