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Contemporary Romance: 

On Love’s Gentle Shore by Liz Johnson — When Natalie O’Ryan’s fiancé books their wedding in her hometown, Natalie didn’t know the only reception venue available would be an old barn belonging to Justin Kane–the best friend she left behind all those years ago after promising to stay. As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin discover the groundwork for forgiveness–and that there may be more than an old friendship between them. (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Their Ranch Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus — Single mom Carly Wagner is surprised to learn she’ll have to share ownership of the home she’s inherited with her first love—and first heartbreak—Andrew Stephens. The man who fled their tiny Western town is back and standing in the way of her dreams to expand her B and B. Now a successful businessman, Andrew has eight weeks to buy Carly out. But Carly’s too stubborn to persuade—and too beautiful to ignore. When fire ravages her inn and she and her daughter move in to their shared property, Andrew’s in over his head. Time is running out and Andrew must decide: leave and chase another deal…or stay and chase Carly’s heart. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Time and Tide by Kristen Terrette — Recovering from addiction and a near death experience, Chad moves to Moanna Island, a small island close to Savannah off the Atlantic coast, to begin a job with his family’s real estate empire, a job he was supposed to have taken years ago. Free-spirited Ryan Mason is a Moanna local girl from a blue-collar family. She’s dropped her own dreams to help her father care for her schizophrenic brother. When Chad and Ryan meet at the rehabilitation center where her brother lives, feelings develop between them. Can their crazy worlds ever fit together once he learns her secret and she finds out he is the sole heir to the Cusher Empire? (Contemporary from Hartwood Publishing Group)


Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh — When a workaholic interior designer returns to her hometown to check on her brother’s welfare, she reconnects with a soldier, secretly in love with her, over a renovation project that will help the struggling town. (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House)

Cozy Mystery: 

A Tempting Taste of Mystery by Elizabeth Ludwig — Judging a pie contest leads Cheryl Cooper and friends into mayhem and mystery after someone begins methodically sabotaging the entries. (Cozy Mystery from Guideposts Publications)

Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard — FBI Special Agent Serena Jones arrives on Martha’s Vineyard with her family, ready for a little bit of R&R and a whole lot of reminiscing as they celebrate the engagement of an old family friend. But crime doesn’t take a vacation, and she’s soon entangled in an investigation of a suspicious death tied to an antiquities smuggling ring.When her investigation propels her into danger, Serena must stay the course and solve this case before anyone else dies. But just how is she supposed to do that when the two men in her life arrive on the scene, bringing with them plenty of romantic complications–and even a secret or two? (Cozy Mystery from Revell [Baker])

Historical Romance:

The American Conquest (Window to the Heart Sage, Book 3) by Jenna Brandt — Margaret must leave behind her title and wealth in Europe in order to escape and start a new life in the Colorado Territory. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)


Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection by Susanne Dietze, Michelle Griep, Anne Love, Gabrielle Meyer, Natalie Monk, Jennifer Uhlarik, Erica Vetsch, Jaime Jo Wright, and Kathleen Y’Barbo — Journey along in nine historical romances with those whose lives are transformed by the opulence, growth, and great changes taking place in America’s Gilded Age. Nine couples meet during these exhilarating times and work to build a future together through fighting for social reform, celebrating new opportunities for leisure activities, taking advantage of economic growth and new inventions, and more. Watch as these romances develop and legacies of faith and love are formed. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Rebel in My House by Sandra Merville Hart — Promises can be impossible to keep–especially when a Confederate soldier trapped behind enemy lines looks to a Gettysburg seamstress for help. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

A Match for Melissa by Susan Karsten — Wanting a godly husband, Melissa’s only choice is to follow her father’s wishes, even when doing so may not achieve the desires of her heart. (Historical Romance from Prism Book Group [Pelican]).

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels — Moor your heart on Mackinac Island along with resident sweetheart Maude Welling, an heiress trying to prove her worth by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel. Meet Ben Steffans, a journalist posing as a wealthy industrialist who has come to the island to uncover a story about impoverished men pursuing heiresses at the famed hotel. Will a growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed in this Gilded Age romance? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Salvation by the Sea by Kristen Reed — Life has been anything but easy for Muirigan thanks to a series of life-altering calamities, but she’s found peace with her new, understated life by the sea. However, the maid’s past comes back to haunt her when she saves the shipwrecked Prince Halvard one morning. Failing to recognize one of his dearest childhood friends, the prince invites Muirigan to live at court as a reward for her valiant heroism. As the two reconnect, something deeper than friendship blossoms, but will their newfound affection survive when Muirigan’s lies are revealed and Halvard learns the truth about what has befallen since their tragic separation? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble — As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful. But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Speculative:

The Genesis Tree by Heather L.L. FitzGerald — Deception is rampant, the enemy is subtle, and love dares to tug at Sadie’s heart amid the turmoil that forces her and her family back to the Tethered World below. (Speculative/Contemporary Fantasy from Mountain Brook Ink)

I am excited today to offer you a guest post from my dear friend and fellow author, Janet Sketchley. Thanks for this beautiful inspiration, Janet.

Unfailing (Unlimited) Love
by Janet Sketchley

Have you ever personalized a Bible verse as your own?

Some verses we speak back to God in prayer, and others we cling to as promises.

In an effort to fill my mind and spirit with good things, I’m working to memorize Scripture verses. I have them on note cards that I see in the morning and when I’m getting ready for bed, and I try to recite them to myself at traffic lights and other moments of waiting.

 

But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.

I will sing to the Lord
because he is good to me.
Psalm 13:5-6, NLT*

 

 

What I first loved about this one is that ending with “He is good to me” builds a warm reassurance that yes, God is good to me. It makes these verses good weapons for times of discouragement.

Then I saw something new. Don’t you love it when God does that?

“I trust in Your unfailing love” — why had I limited that to myself?

This is a personal psalm, affirming the writer’s personal trust and declaring his needs, but trusting God’s unfailing love can go way past the boundaries of trusting for ourselves.

We can trust His unfailing love for others — for the ones so painfully heavy on our hearts, the ones we fear won’t turn to Him, the ones in crisis, the ones who are sick or grieving, lonely, or lost.

He doesn’t just love us. His love reaches for each one, and that love has the power to draw and to save.

When we speak these verses, silently or aloud, it’s an opportunity to remind ourselves that His unfailing love is big enough to trust for our loved ones as well as for our own needs. And yes, He is good to us.

~~~

Janet Sketchley is the author of the Redemption’s Edge Christian suspense series and the devotional book, A Year of Tenacity.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

I’m pleased to share an interview today with Amelia Legend, an author of Adult and Young Adult fiction.

Amelia Legend

Amelia Legend

JANICE: Amelia, thanks for taking the time for this interview. How long have you been writing and how did you come to it?

AMELIA: I first started creative writing as a teenager. I originally only wrote poetry as a way of processing my thoughts and feelings. It wasn’t until I was 25 that I sat down and wrote my first book. I suppose, in a way, I was always a writer; I just hadn’t found my story yet.

JANICE: Who are some of the people who most influenced your decision to write?

AMELIA: My daughter. It wasn’t until I had my first child that I was able to sit down and write my first manuscript. Considering how exhausting it is when you first become a parent, how much you struggle with how to handle this enormous change in your life, and time management normally writing would be the last thing a mother would spend her free time doing! Yet somehow, having my daughter gave me a voice to write my fears and my struggles down in a work of fiction in a way I hadn’t been able to before. I owe it all to Lily.

JANICE: Very sweet. What’s your preferred genre?

AMELIA: Young Adult or Adult fiction will most likely be my foundational genre, but I do hope to try a little mystery or fantasy at some point!

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JANICE: Why do you write?

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AMELIA: I write because I’m a writer. Some people are born as teachers, as pastors, as farmers, maybe even born to be stay-at-home mothers. Some people are born with an uncontrollable need to create, and I am undoubtedly one of those people who cannot go through life without writing or reading something! It’s simply who God made me to be.

JANICE: How and where do you write? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

AMELIA: I write in my office at home. I have to be alone and in a quiet space where I can experience the story without distractions (when my daughter is napping or asleep for the night). When I see a story form I always see images and characters in snapshots. I have to create the points between but I feel as if the story is already there, I just have to find it. So no, I’m not a plotter because the story evolves as the characters grow; nevertheless, I do know what the outcome of the book will be before I start the manuscript.

JANICE: Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?

AMELIA: LIFE!

JANICE: Ah, yes! How do you research and how do you know you can trust your sources?

AMELIA: Every book is different, therefore your research will reflect that need. I would suggest checking credentials and references if you need in depth research to support your story line.

JANICE: What do you like most / least about writing?

AMELIA: I love the emotional evolution of a character. How a character grows and changes throughout the story. Sometimes the story changes and it surprises the writer as much as the reader. I love that about writing! Otherwise I really really hate social media promotion! I’m not great at the promotional aspects of writing!

JANICE: You’re definitely not alone there! What do you find are some of the best methods of promoting your work?

AMELIA: Book reviews are essential to a writer’s legitimacy in the writing world. Having another author or a professional book review company is crucial! Having your readers write reviews is even more important to the growth and promotion of any book.

JANICE: What are your favourite / most effective social media?

AMELIA: I’m really only on Facebook and my personal blog at the moment, but I have definitely been considering broadening my social media scope to Twitter, Instagram and other forums because of their notable effectiveness.

JANICE: You are a wife, mom, student, as well as an author. How do you balance professional time with personal time?

AMELIA: Time management is a constant struggle for every writer; all you can do is set goals and work as hard as you can, when you can.

JANICE: What are you currently reading? Do you prefer digital or print?

AMELIA: I’m in the middle of King’s Crown by Victoria Avenyard. It’s a wonderful series and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it! I like both digital and print. It comes down to which is more convenient at the time, if I’m travelling, or whether or not I have been able to go to the bookstore or library. Sometimes it’s easier to get a new release on my Kindle because I live in the countryside.

JANICE: Yes, it’s so instant and convenient. Let’s switch gears a bit here. What are some of your favorite things? What makes you unique?

AMELIA: Well, I’m not really sure I can be objective about what makes me unique, I truly believe we are all unique in our own ways and the best way of finding out how is by getting to know someone. I suppose what makes me an “odd duck” is my adaptability. I accept change better than most and it has allowed me to have freedom in ways few people ever experience. Before moving to Canada I lived in California, before California I lived in Alaska, before that I lived and worked in Haiti, and so on and so forth. Some of the best decisions I’ve made, and definitely some of my favourite things, are traveling and trying new things! I like the peace and quiet I’ve found in Saskatchewan but I will always enjoy change and travel.

JANICE: Very interesting. What keeps you going in your writing career?

AMELIA: Every writer has their bad days. Recently I have felt that I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to work on my projects and I feel it’s normal to be discouraged, but what it comes down to is never giving up. Not on your love of writing, not on the gift God has given you, and not on yourself. A writer has to continue to believe that what makes them writers is not recognition, but passion.

JANICE: How is your faith reflected in your writing?

AMELIA: This one is a difficult question because I don’t write within the “Christian” genre; therefore, some might say my books lack an obvious faith. What I do know is that every time I sit down to write I pray that God helps me write TRUTH. Not a great Christian story with a happy ending or a gospel theology, but a story that reflects the struggle between the good and evil we experience in life. I write stories that show the ugly reality of what that looks like and feels like to experience as a Christian or as a non- believer struggling to see God. God is always in the stories I write simply because He is in our everyday lives, but not always in an obvious ways because that’s the truth of life: Sometimes it isn’t obvious when He is present, but that doesn’t mean He’s not. Sometimes He can feel far and sometimes He can sound like silence, but that doesn’t mean we are alone.

JANICE: I think you articulated that very well. It’s not an easy question. What are some things you learned from your own writing?

AMELIA: I’m trying to learn patience! Creativity takes time, consistency, and a whole lot of patience to write something worthwhile. I feel that is what I’m learning the most right now from my writing.

JANICE: What is your ultimate writing goal?

AMELIA: My ultimate writing goal is to find the right publisher. As an indie writer it is difficult to navigate the world of writing. With the right team, guidance, and goals, I hope to become the best writer I can possibly be. It’s a struggle working in this industry “on your own” and the goal is to find the right people to work with you!

JANICE: Advice for beginning writer?

AMELIA: FINISH YOUR MANUSCRIPT! The best advice is to STOP making excuses as to why you CAN’T or WONT finish your book. If you work at it everyday (or most days) and it takes five years, that’s okay! If you constantly procrastinate you’re only cheating yourself out of your own opportunities and that is NOT okay! So finish your manuscript. Find the right editor. Re-write, re-write, and re-write again. Just don’t make excuses because we always make time in life for what’s important, so stop watching Netflix, stop holding yourself back, stop making excuses, and write.

JANICE: Thanks again for your time and for sharing yourself with me and my readers.

 

If you want to know more about Amelia Legend, check out her blogsite or her Facebook page.

41iyrgl-shl-_sx322_bo1204203200_The Reluctant Caregiver is a realistic but inspiring non-fiction book by Canadian author, Bobbi Junior.

In the midst of work, family, and church and community involvement, Bobbi tells of her journey with her mother through the onset of dementia. This is difficult enough, but since theirs has never been a close relationship, the tension and stress can be exhausting. How do you help someone who doesn’t want your help?

This book is easy to read because it’s a story. But more than that, it is a chronicle of Bobbi’s determination to let go of her own agenda for her mom, and turn it all over to the Lord Jesus. Her recorded prayers and thoughts offer gentle encouragement to the weary soul.

At times, the story of Bobbi’s journey with her mom is very sad. When her mother becomes confused, she is difficult to understand. What does she mean when she says, “I just don’t know. Anyway, here too. I just don’t.” Or when she declares that there are people living in her house at night. Or when “the people” are going to come for the rent. She has forgotten that she owns her home.

The hardest parts for me to read were the mother’s outbursts, suspicions and accusations flung at Bobbi and her brother, when they were sacrificing time, energy and money to help her.

I found this book moving in its honesty about life. Sometimes we face obstacles that keep piling up, seemingly insurmountable. However, I also found it immensely encouraging that Jesus knows every step, and His timing is impeccable. If we allow Him to lead in our lives, He will work everything out for the best.

I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling to help a parent or elder who suffers with dementia or Alzheimers, and especially to those of the sandwich generation who already have more than enough challenges with children and jobs.

If only for Bobbi’s heartfelt prayers and talks with God, this book is a blessing. Add the story of her relationship with her mother and it’s also an invaluable resource.

Take a look at Bobbi’s website for more.

Bobbi Junior

Bobbi Junior

 

Why Before What

The old and sometimes annoying question rises again: Why do I write?

I can’t say, as some writers do, that I can’t not write. I’d probably survive if I didn’t, but I would be much less of a person because I’d be denying the creative spirit within me. The one that comes from God. After all, our gifts are from the Father, and we ought not ignore them. I am so thankful that God has chosen me to use words to tell others about Him.

Why do I write?

When I think back to my first book, a historical novel set in pre-WWI Russia, I saw my story as:

1) a way of preserving my family history (“Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation” Joel 1:3.)

2) a way of passing on the story of God’s faithfulness in the past

So I had an idea of the why. As my books were published and I had the opportunity to present readings, I met people who shared my history and my faith story. It was then I realized that my readers were part of the “why.” They had invested in my books, so I wanted to share truthfully and faithfully. I wanted to influence them to see the God I had met through my stories.

I often find myself working through issues, beliefs, values or personal decisions as I create my stories. As writers, we become very vulnerable to those who read what we write. And it’s only in this way that we can engage readers, through our characters, and introduce them to the Father’s love.

As Kristy Cambron wrote recently in her Novel Rocket blog, Called to Story, we need to know the “why” before we attack the “how.” My favorite quote from this post is: [The why is] “a reminder of our eternal motivation when earthly setbacks threaten to derail.”

 

So let’s keep in mind why we write as a prerequisite to the “how” and the “what.”

On that note: why do you write?

I read something on Facebook this morning that resonated with me:

Discussion is always better than argument because argument is to find

“who is right” and discussion is to find “what is right.”

(origin unknown)

As writers who work from a Christian worldview, we need to know what we believe, and to communicate those truths clearly. It’s a huge responsibility. We must be accurate and insightful, led by God’s Spirit.

However, I see a trend coming in. Again. I know it’s as old as time but it concerns me nonetheless. We are being distracted from the main truths of our faith by those who incite arguments about the details. The small things. The insidious whispers that interrupt and infiltrate our lives and our work.

I have experienced some of this distraction in my own life, and it is always about “who is right.” By wasting time and energy, and creating alienation, we can be led away from communicating the important tenets of faith.

 

 

 

I suggest we need to focus on the basics, the core of Scripture, the heart of the Gospel. One concise statement of faith is the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

 If we enjoy discussion on details beyond this succinct statement, that’s fine. But let’s not be distracted from the work God has given us to do by those who prefer arguments.

“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels” II Timothy 2:23.

“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless” Titus 3:9.

And, let’s pray for a heart of love, which helps us to understand others, withstand temptation, and stand strong in every area of our lives.

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Amish Brides by Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, Amy Lillard — Under bright blue skies, wedding bells ring–fulfilling sweet dreams, impossible wishes, and joyous new beginnings among these three new stories. (Contemporary Romance from Kensington Publishers)


Sprouts of Love by Valerie Comer — An overzealous community garden manager delivers more than the food bank manager can handle. Can love sprout amid the tsunami of vegetables? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Summer Dreams by Delia Latham — God’s love…reflected in the waters of the Pacific, and in the eyes of a young couple who walk its moonstone shores. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])


Right Where We Belong by Deborah Raney, Melissa Tagg, Courtney Walsh — Three sweet stories of small-town romance by three tried-and-true authors. Whether in a quaint home bakery in Langhorne, Missouri, a cozy boho coffee shop in Maple Valley, Iowa, or a charming lakeside cottage in Sweethaven, Michigan, love grows best in small towns just like this! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Spring of Weddings by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell — Two Spring wedding novellas, “A Proxy Wedding,” and “Hope Beyond Savannah.” (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)


True to You by Becky Wade — Former Navy SEAL John Lawson hires genealogist Nora Bradford to help him to uncover the identity of his birth mother. As they work side-by-side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Cozy Mystery:

What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman — A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly, Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he’s tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

General Contemporary:
A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal — The heart wrenching love story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, of the two men who love her and of the forbidden kiss that changed everything. (General Contemporary from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman — A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations. (General Contemporary from Waterfall Press)

Historical:


Blind Ambition by Carol Ashby — What began as a bored man’s decision to try a different road turns into an emotional and spiritual quest that changes the direction of his entire life. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette — A broken and bitter Canaanite woman dresses as a man to fight against the invading Hebrews, never expecting that she would live to be captured and married to one of her enemies, and certainly not to find love and healing among the very people who killed her family. (Biblical/Historical from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Historical Romance:


The Secret Admirer Romance Collection by Amanda Barratt, Lorraine Beatty, Molly Noble Bull, Anita Mae Draper, CJ Dunham, Jennifer Uhlarik, Becca Whitham, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Penny Zeller — Shy expressions of love lead to nine historical romances. Declaring one’s love can be hard–even risky–especially when faced with some of life’s greatest challenges. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson — She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight by Susanne Dietze — It’s a mail-order disorder when newlyweds realize they’ve married the wrong partners with similar names. An annulment seems in order–and fast. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca Rice wonders if Tad Fordham wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . . (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears — They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David’s dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)


Road to Harmony by Sherry Kyle — When Jonas returns to Harmony, Elena’s heart is torn between her secret love, and the storeowner her parents hope she marries. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Hills of Nevermore by Janalyn Voigt — Can a young widow hide her secret shame from the Irish preacher bent on helping her survive? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Romantic Suspense:
Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman — Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it. An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman’s riveting romantic suspense novel. (Romantic Suspense from Faith Words [Hachette])

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