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My Favorites (January-July) 2017

The hot-topic question of July that I have seen floating around is:

“What is your favorite book (or series) that you have read this year?”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t possibly pick only one favorite when I’ve read so many amazing books. Thus far I have read 57 books. Now, I know for at least one or two of my awesome blogging friends, this is not a jaw-dropping number. However, as I have been told, “It’s not the number that’s important.” (Major props to my friend Carrie who is well on her way to reading 300 this year)

With that said, I will share with you, my loyal reading friends, the books I have read so far this year that has continued to stick with me long past my finishing of the story. I’ve enjoyed reading others, but these seem to stick with me the longest. Without further adieu, and in no particular order…

Many Sparrows by: Lori Benton
All of You  by: Sarah Monzon
Just the Way You Are by: Pepper Basham
 A Moonbow Night by: Laura Frantz
 In His Eyes by: Stephenia H. McGee
 My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho by: Susanne Dietze
 The Butterfly and the Violin by: Kristy Cambron
  Name Unknown  by: Roseanna M. White
 The Road to Paradise by: Karen Barnett
 So Pure A Heart  by: Amber Lynn Perry

Clicking on the title of the book will take you to Amazon where you can read more about the book. Clicking on the name of the author will take you to the author web page.

I would love to hear from you.

What are a few of your favorite books so far this year? Do you have any that have lingered with you weeks/months after you have read the last page?

Make sure to click on the “Follow” button to the right to follow my blog!
Feel free to also find me on Goodreads or on Facebook!

A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England #1) Roseanna M. White

Edwardian Romance and History Gains a Twist of Suspense

Synopsis:

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

ANUgraphic

My Review:

I couldn’t put down this fantastic, fast-paced, story! From the very beginning, I found myself fully immersed in Rosemary’s story.  Filled with mystery and intrigue and woven with golden threads of the truth of the matchless love of God.

Rosemary is an easy character to cheer for. From the very beginning, I felt deeply for her plight and cheered as she began to learn who God really is, and how much He loves her. Rosemary is searching for clues that will prove that Peter is either loyal to Germany or to Great Britain. Will she find what she is looking for in time?

Peter is a bit of a recluse, hiding away in his study typing on his typewriter all day. Peter is more comfortable with the characters in his stories than his neighbors in the village. Being of German descent, and the fact that he spends most of his time hidden away, leads some to question his loyalty. Could the active imagination of his neighbors, and the talk in the pub lead to his downfall?

This book is one that you will not want to miss. With an amazing library that book-lovers will appreciate, a mystery to uncover, and the strong threads of faith, I highly recommend this delightful page turning story!

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“If Jesus, could save tax collectors and harlots, thieves, and hypocrites, who are you to say you’re too far gone, hmm? Our God is bigger than our sins. And if there’s something saying otherwise into your ear, know it’s a lie straight from the devil.”

About the Author:

RoseannaJuly2016-185x300Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring.

Being educated at St. John’s Collete (the Great Books School) taught Roseanna to ask questions, to value conversation, and to never accept the simple answer without exploring it for herself. She and her family make their home in the mountains of West Virginia where she and her husband both grew up. Roseanna is a member of ACFW, a frequent speaker at writers events and also small groups of readers, and an unabashed email addict.

Web page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest

  A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England)

First Line Fridays (7/21/17) Love’s Unfading Light (Eagle Harbor #1)

Happy Friday! July is speeding by and before we know it August will be here. I hope that you are finding time to enjoy your summer.

This week I’m featuring a book I read a few months ago ‘Love’s Unfading Light’ by Naomi Rawlings. You can read my review here. The digital book is currently free for download on Amazon! I have really enjoyed reading the Eagle Harbor series. Now is a great time to get started reading this delightful story!

LUL

Eagle Harbor, Michigan
June 1880

“I said no.” Tressa Danell scowled at Finley McGabe, who’s rancid breath wheezed across the bakery counter that stood between them.

 

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line & then head over to see what First Lines these friends are sharing today:

 Fiction Aficionado // Reading is my SuperPower // Bibliophile Reviews //
Bookworm Mamma // Robin’s Nest // All the Book Blog Names are Taken //
Faithfully Bookish // Radiant Light // Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen //
With A Joyful Noise // Kathleen Denly // Romances of the Cross // Jane Reads //
Singing Librarian // Moments Dipped In Ink // A Baker’s Perspective //
Lauraine’s Notes //Moments Dipped In Ink // Molly’s Cafinated Reads

If you would like to host First Line Fridays on your blog, contact
Carrie at Reading is my SuperPower.

Keeping Secrets (Children of the Light #1) by: Donna Hechler Porter

A woman with a past, a man determined to uncover the truth, and a secret that could tear them apart forever.

Synopsis:

A Grieving Husband: Amon Cayle needs a seamstress. He has spent the last year rebuilding his life after the tragic death of his wife in a kitchen fire, the same fire that nearly took the life of his eldest son as well. The business of grieving their loss, as well as the work of his tobacco plantation, has caused him to neglect the simplest of tasks. His family now needs clothes and despite his dislike for Mary McKechnie, and their shared past, he offers her the job.

A Desperate Mother: Mary McKechnie needs a job. Her brother has threatened to take her daughters and place them into indentured service if she can’t provide for them. He hasn’t made it any easier by insisting she work only for fellow Friends. When Amon Cayle offers her a job, she has little choice but to accept.

A Devastating Secret: The last time Amon spoke with Mary, after she walked away from him into the arms of another man over twenty years ago, she assured him she was not keeping secrets. He didn’t believe her then, and he doesn’t believe her now. While she is working for him, he is determined to find answers. She is just as determined to not give them.

Will Mary be able to save Amon from the past? Or will his love threaten to destroy them both?

My Review:

This book will whisk you away to a bygone era. Come sit in the kitchen while Mary brews up a cup of tea and shares her story. Like the title suggest, this book is full of secrets. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

Mary’s life hasn’t been easy. Her marriage to Samuel had not been what anyone would consider a love match. He had been a difficult man to live with, harsh and easy to anger. At 40 years old, she finds herself a widow with 5 girls, and if that isn’t enough her older brother is threatening to take the girls away and place them as indentured servants. She refuses to allow that to happen and desperately needs work.

Amon continues to grieve the loss of his wife, the charred remains of the kitchen a daily reminder of what he lost. However, it seems it is time to start moving forward. Among many things he has neglected, his children are growing out of their clothes. At the suggestion of his sister, he reluctantly agrees to hire Mary to sew his family a new wardrobe.

Mary & Amon share not only a history but secrets. Are the secrets of their past too much to surmount? Come find out in this historical story of love lost, and found, and of a family that struggles to hold on to what is most important.

The old-speak language in the book can be difficult at times, and in a few places the “thee” was forgotten and replace with “you”. As the title suggests there are many secrets; so much so that at times it was almost overwhelming. As a whole, I did enjoy reading the story of Mary & Amon and I am interested to know what will happen with some of the other characters.

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“No one understood the private pain or hardships of another. That’s why judgement is best left to God; our command is to love. We will never be given enough time for that.”

About the Author:

DonnaHechlerPorterDonna Hechler Porter has always been interested in writing and history. It was natural for her to combine her love of both and channel it into writing historical fiction as well as books on her own family’s genealogy. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and RWA’s Hearts Through History Romance Writers chapter. She currently resides in southeast Texas where she home schools her teenage sons, teaches flute lessons, tutors children in reading and writing, and continues to write novels. Her first novel, Keeping Secrets, won RWA’s Indiana Golden Opportunity contest for Best Historical Fiction of 2013 and is currently a final in RWA’s Las Vegas chapter’s I Heart Indie Contest.

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter

Keeping Secrets is the first book in the Children of the Light Series. The Society of Friends (Quakers) and colonial Virginia in the years preceding the French and Indian War provide the backdrop for this sweeping historical about families trying to live their faith in a new land. Following Keeping Secrets will be the second and third books of the trilogy: Breaking Promises and Binding Fire.

 Keeping Secrets

  Breaking Promises

  Binding Fire

Children of the Light trilogy

‘Grounded Hearts’ Giveaway and Blog Tour

What do you get when you mix World War II, a brave midwife, a wounded pilot, and a risky secret? Jeanne M. Dickson’s new historical fiction novel, Grounded Hearts. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.

About the book:

In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

My Review:

This book starts off strong. With realistic characters and action packed adventure, you will find yourself smack dab in the center of the action.

I appreciated the history and research that went into make this story come to life, and I enjoyed learning more about how Ireland and it’s people experienced World War II.

Nan is a strong heroine. You quickly come to understand why she makes some of the choices she makes. Although, there were several times that I wished I could go inside the book and give her a good strong talking to. Nan feels like she has to earn forgiveness, and with that feeling she never feels like she has done enough to earn it.

Dutch is as handsome as he is patient and kind. He’s the perfect yin to Nan’s yang. Dutch is fighting his own history and struggles, yet he is willing to reach out and help others.

For me the tempo of the story is a little slower toward the end, and there was not as much character growth as I would have preferred.

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write a positive review. The thoughts an opinions expressed are my own.)

About the Author:

jeannebiophoto_origJeanne was born into an Irish-American family, the only girl in a family with four brothers. Her Irish grandmother lived with them, and was a constant source of stories about life in Ireland and the saints and ancestors long gone from this earth. She credits her mother, her aunts, and grandmother for her love of storytelling. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.

Jeanne writes romances set in WWII Ireland and also contemporary romances either set in Ireland or there’ll be Irish/Irish American characters.

Web Page // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

Join Jeanne in celebrating the release of her new book by entering to win the Celtic Knots Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 31. The winner will be announced August 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Please visit the Landing page for this tour at:

First Line Friday (7/14/17) Child of the Mist (These Highland Hills #1)

It’s Friday, and time to share the first line. The summer is zipping by. The days are longer, warmer, and filled with the shouts and joys of children playing outside. I hope that you too have been able to get outside and enjoy the summer sun.

Today I’m choosing to share with you a slightly older favorite of mine. Child of the Mist by Kathleen Morgan. This book was published in 2005 as part of the “These Highland Hills” series (which grace my bookshelf at home). The other titles in this series are: “Wings of Morning” and “A Fire Within“.  I hope you enjoy the first line, and let me know if you have read this book also.

 

ChildOfTheMist

March, 1563
Kilchurn Castle, Argyllshire, Scotland

“N-Nial!”
The weak but insistent cry rose above the muffled sobbings, carrying across the large, stone-walled bedchamber to the fireplace.

 

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line & then head over to see what First Lines these friends are sharing today:

 Fiction Aficionado // Reading is my SuperPower // Bibliophile Reviews //
Bookworm Mamma // Robin’s Nest // All the Book Blog Names are Taken //
Faithfully Bookish // Radiant Light // Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen //
With A Joyful Noise // Kathleen Denly // Romances of the Cross // Jane Reads //
Singing Librarian // Moments Dipped In Ink // A Baker’s Perspective //
Lauraine’s Notes //Moments Dipped In Ink // Molly’s Cafinated Reads

 

If you would like to host First Line Fridays on your blog, contact
Carrie at Reading is my SuperPower.

 

 

Passport to Adventure (Daily Devotional for Juniors) Rich Aguilera “The Mud Guy”

Synopsis:

Join The Mud Guy on his exciting adventures around the world! Visit the Hong Kong Bird Market in Kowloon, China Remember the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas Negotiate for souvenirs in Santiago, Cuba Learn about tough love in Martha s Vineyard, Massachusetts Marvel at the natural rock pillars standing 1,200 feet tall in Meteora, Greece Each of these amazing places will teach you how to grow in your friendship with Jesus! In this devotional for middle school aged children you will learn about God’s faithfulness in tough times; the importance of finding time every day to retreat to a quiet place to spend time with God; being a witness to others by the way you live as an imitator of Christ; and most important, “Remember Calvary!” Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can remember that God has already won the battle for us, and if we stay close to Him, we will be on the winning side!

My Review:

I purchased this Devotional book for my son as a Christmas gift. My son was super excited, he couldn’t wait until January 1st to get started. He loves reading the stories and often goes back to re-read stories again!

We have enjoyed as a family reading the daily devotionals together; reading the stories together as a family has brought up some fun and unique discussions.

There are fun places to learn about and explore thru the pages of this book. We learn about God’s amazing creation and are reminded how much He loves us all.

I highly recommend this wonderful devotional to families with middle-school age children. You will enjoy having this devotional book for your family worships.

About the Author:

RARich Aguilera was a successful architect when he decided to make a change. He realized that working in the architecture industry was just a career, while his real passion was serving as youth director at church and with children’s ministries. So in 2008, he closed his architecture practice and opened One Mustard Seed, a ministry that finds fun, creative ways to explore nature and the biblical creation story.

Aguilera, “The Mud Guy” from Guide Magazine and 3ABN’s “Kids’ Time,” travels the world looking for evidence of creation and sharing his discoveries with kids and adults in his columns, books and speaking engagements

Rich is blessed with a wonderful wife and two awesome boys. He enjoys working to producing Christian resources for kids that teach on Creation. In addition to freelance writing, producing video and audio, doing speaking engagements, etc. Never a dull moment! You can connect with Rich at the following:

Web Page // Facebook // Twitter 

  Passport to Adventure

 

I’d love to connect with you:

Do you have daily family devotions? What format for family worship do you find works best for your family?

 

Love’s Sure Dawn (Eagle Harbor #3) by: Naomi Rawlings

The bestselling Eagle Harbor Series continues with Book 3, Love’s Sure Dawn.

Synopsis:

No matter how hard she tries to help, Rebekah Cummings always ends up causing more problems than she solves. This time, though, things will be different. She’ll find a way to pay her family’s debts, even if doing so requires leaving Eagle Harbor. Maybe then they’ll start treating her as a capable woman who makes her own choices.

Gilbert Sinclair is going to marry an heiress. With his latest business venture sunk at the bottom of Lake Superior, he needs money to replace the steamship he lost, so he heads to Chicago where his father’s business connections should land him a suitable wife. Like most things in his meticulously planned life, everything goes as expected—until he discovers Rebekah Cummings working as the new cook on his ship.

Rebekah well remembers the pain she endured the last time she tried trusting Gilbert, and Gilbert can’t afford to pursue the love of a working class woman. But they can’t stop the forgotten feelings swirling between them—or ignore the sacrifices they’d both have to make for a future together.

My Review:

I really enjoyed reading Rebekah’s story. Growing up with brother’s she is somewhat the tomboy. She has a big heart for others and feels a strong need to pull her own weight and do her part. Her inability to be patient and wait for God’s leading took her down a path that brought her heartache, but also growth.

Like most who have read the previous two books, I struggled at first to like Gilbert. However, as I got to know the real person he is, not the persona he allows most other to see, I changed my opinion of him. He is possibly the most misunderstood character from the first two books. Gilbert had long ago learned to withhold himself from others, and he had to do some personal soul searching to uncover for himself who he was in Christ. I enjoyed getting to know who Gilbert really is in this book. I found him to be kind, compassionate, and willing to give of himself.

I appreciate reading Naomi’s books and I look forward to reading more from the Eagle Harbor series!

(I received a complimentary digital copy of this book for review from author/publisher. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“The man was cold enough to freeze love and snap it like an icicle in winter”

About the Author:

Naomi-Rawlings Naomi Rawlings is the author of seven historical Christian novels, including the Amazon bestselling Eagle Harbor Series. While she’d love to claim she spends her days huddled in front of her computer vigorously typing, in reality, she spends her time homeschooling, cleaning, picking up, and pretending like her house isn’t in a constant state of chaos. She lives with her husband and three children in Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula, along the southern shore of Lake Superior where they get 200 inches of snow every year, and where people still grow their own vegetables and cut down their own firewood–just like in the historical novels she writes.  You can connect with Naomi at these locations:

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter

 

If you haven’t yet visited Eagle Harbor thru Naomi’s books, you can pick them up at amazon or your local book vendor.

 Love’s Unfading Light (Eagle Harbor #1)

  Love’s Every Whisper (Eagle Harbor #2)

 Love’s Sure Dawn (Eagle Harbor #3)

   Love’s Eternal Breath (Eagle Harbor #4)

    Love’s Winter Hope (Eagle Harbor #5)

   Eagle Harbor – 5 book series 

First Line Fridays (7/7/17): Cover Reveal & Giveaway “Across the Blue” Carrie Turansky

I am super-duper excited to be teaming up with Carrie Turansky for the cover reveal of her upcoming book “Across the Blue“. Not only are you getting the first line for Carrie’s new book, but also a fabulous cover reveal! As a special bonus, Carrie is hosting a giveaway on her site so be sure to CLICK HERE to drop by and enter!

While you are here, don’t forget to enter the current giveaway this week for Sarah Monzon’s book “All Of You” 

 

“Across the Blue”

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don’t approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year.

When James Grant, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson’s new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson’s newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret.

 

Across the Blue

The first line is:

Isabella Grayson’s shoes sank into the plush red carpet of Broadland’s south hall, and she released a soft sigh. What luxury!

Carrie Turansky shared with me the following: “I was able to give some input on the cover, helping to choose the model, the outfit, and finding just he right hat. We’ve worked with Darna Michie of East Angel Harbor Hats to design the hats for the photo shoots for my last three covers. She’s wonderful! This hat is perfect for 1909 Edwardian England. The airplane featured on the cover shows how fragile they were, and it makes you realize how brave James Drake was to attempt a flight across the English Channel to France. The white Cliffs of Dover play an important role in the story, so I was really pleased to see them used at the background. I love the cover and I’m very grateful for the design team at WaterBrook! 

Before you go a quick reminder to stop by Carrie Turansky’s page to enter her giveaway and then be sure to come back and continue on the First Line Friday blog hop! Across the Blue is scheduled to release on Feb. 20, 2018, make sure to drop by Goodreads and click on the”want to read”!

 

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line & then head over to see what First Lines these friends are sharing today:

 Fiction Aficionado // Reading is my SuperPower // Bibliophile Reviews //
Bookworm Mamma // Robin’s Nest // All the Book Blog Names are Taken //
Faithfully Bookish // Radiant Light // Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen //
With A Joyful Noise // Kathleen Denly // Singing Librarian // Jane Reads //
 Moments Dipped In Ink // A Baker’s Perspective // Lauraine’s Notes //
Moments Dipped In Ink // Molly’s Cafinated Reads

If you would like to host First Line Fridays on your blog, contact
Carrie at Reading is my SuperPower.

“Making Love Last” by: Laura Taggart

Can a happy marriage really last a lifetime?

Synopsis:

With thirty years of experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist, Laura Taggart understands the unique struggles of newly married couples who find marriage much more difficult than they imagined. Failed expectations, unanticipated conflict, and disagreements about money, sex, children, and more have many young couples assuming they made a mistake, married the wrong person, or just weren’t ready. As a result, one-third of all married couples divorce before their ten-year anniversary.

In this practical and hopeful book, Taggart offers the wisdom and help she would share as a counselor with a couple beginning their marriage. She helps couples examine their true expectations for marriage, provides six action steps for improving the way couples relate, and gives couples a new picture of what it means to enjoy marriage for a lifetime.

Each chapter includes discussion questions for couples or small groups as well as additional questions for personal reflection.

My Review:

As a Social Worker who has worked with families  who have gone through a divorce I can appreciate the need for this book. As a wife who has been married for 13 years, and looking back over the typical highs and lows, I can see where the thoughts shared in this book have a very practical application and can be useful for young married couples.

The coming together of two unique individuals, with their own thoughts, backgrounds and ideas isn’t as smooth and seamless as Hollywood or popular sources would have you believe. Many young people jump into marriage without the benefit of positive role models and without the full knowledge of what it really takes to blend two lives.

I appreciated the positive application of ideas and the thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter. I also appreciated the strong faith application and the reminder that Marriage is God’s gift to us, and the reminder that by drawing closer to God we can draw closer with our spouse and have the marriage that God intended. This book is a wonderful resource for young married couples, and couples struggling to find their way back to each other.

(I received a complimentary digital copy of this book for review from Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

About the Author:

Taggart_LauraLaura Taggart has been a licensed marriage and family therapist for nearly thirty years. As director of marriage and family ministry at Community Presbyterian Church in Danville, California, she founded a highly successful marriage mentoring ministry to help young couples develop a solid foundation for their young and often struggling marriages. A popular speaker at conferences and retreats, she has also taught as an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Web Page // Facebook // Goodreads // Pinterest

 

   Making Love Last