“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Review of "The Sacred Scarred: A Modern-Day Christian Twist on Beauty and the Beast" by Joanna Alonzo



"The Sacred Scarred: A Modern-Day Christian Twist on Beauty and the Beast" by Joanna Alonzo is a great fairy tale retelling with a beautiful Gospel message!  I love the parallels in the story between this book and the original Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, not just the Disney version.  Ms. Alonzo also puts her own unique spin on the tale with a very strong faith element.  The first half of the story is more like a modern young adult novel, whereas in the second half, the writing seems to change and the story takes on more of a fantasy aspect (which I personally enjoy more).  Aside from the fact that the first and the second halves of the book feel slightly disjointed in their style, I think this first novel of Ms. Alonzo’s is very well written.  The end is so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. 

The characters are one of my favorite parts of the story, especially the change that takes place in our main characters.  The heroine, Calysta, is not beautiful or perfect in the beginning of the story, but is very broken, as is Brendan, our beast character.  The characters strive to make Christ first in their lives as the story progresses, even before pursuing a romantic relationship.  This story also has some very well done side characters.  The characters’ relationships with God inspired me in my walk with Christ to be more passionate for Him. 
This book has an amazing message of God making the broken beautiful and bringing beauty from the ashes!

Content and Rating:  I give this book four stars.  It is definitely more on the edgy side, as far as being a clean read.  There is a lot of this edgy content in the beginning to show how messed up our main characters’ lives are before they transform and find Christ (e.g. making out, talk about cutting oneself--with detailed description). 

I want to thank Joanna Alonzo and Almond Tree Publications for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

The link to purchase the book is here

Click here for Joanna Alonzo's website

About the Author:
Joanna Alonzo is a walking paradox. She is a beautiful, albeit messy, mixture of thought and emotion, expressed in the form of hopefully readable – and relatable – stories. She is a kingdom kid, who looks forward to being a writer and storyteller even when she reaches heaven. She is passionate about the unreached, about those who have yet to know the Love she found in the arms of the Almighty. She is intrigued by the world and its people, who day by day, continue to convince her that God is the greatest Storyteller of all.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"An Epiphany in Lilacs" by Iris Dorbian Book Blast & GIVEAWAY!

An Epiphany in Lilacs by Iris Dorbian

Publication Date: January 1, 2017
Mazo Publishers
eBook & Papberback; 180 Pages
Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction/World War II


An Epiphany In Lilacs is a young adult novel set in a DP camp outside Hamburg, Germany following the end of World War II. The author, Iris Dorbian, captures in this story a unique glimpse into the period after the Holocaust when survivors had to deal with their new realities for living, based on her father’s personal experience. After liberation in May 1945, Daniel, a 14-year-old Latvian Jew, is treated in a field hospital in the British zone of partitioned Germany. A survivor of various concentration camps, Daniel fights to recover from starvation and disease. Racked by nightmares, a nearly nightly occurrence, Daniel finds sleep almost impossible. Through his love of nature, and pre-war memories, Daniel struggles to find comfort. He forms an intriguing bond with an older German gentile, another survivor. Later on, as he joins a theater troupe, Daniel tries to move on with his life, yet still searching for the whereabouts of his mother and two sisters. Poised on the cusp of a new life, young Daniel makes his way to the country that will become his new home.

“Rich with powerful and piercing historical references, An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps by Iris Dorbian captures thereality of Jews who survived the Holocaust, the inner scars and the struggles with uncertainty, incessant nightmares, and fitting into the day-to-day lifestyle of ordinary people. It is a heart-wrenching story,told in excellent prose and in the author’s unique style. I have been a huge fan of Holocaust literature, starting with Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, and have always felt appalled by man’s cruelty to fellow man. In this new book, the author explores the terrible effects of a fragment of history on the life of a little boy. This is a story to read and share, a powerful story about freedom and the perils of war.Well-crafted with compelling characters and interesting themes.” – Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite
 
“This was a lovely and inspiring read about survival after the war. The fact that this is based on the author’s personal accounts made this absolutely mesmerizing. This was such a tragic and heartbreaking time in our history, so to be able to read a story like this was like none other. Iris really captures this time period quite well through her father. The connection Daniel finds with the older German (another survivor of the war) and his story about rebuilding his life in the country while searching for his family makes it impossible to put book down.” -Rainy Day Reviews/Bookjunkie Mom Blog

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble (Paperback) | IndieBound (Paperback)

 

About the Author

Iris Dorbian is a business and arts journalist whose articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, Buyouts, Investopedia, DMNews, Jerusalem Report, the Forward, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions. She is the author of “Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater,” which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Journal, ThisSpace.org, Skirt! and Gothesque Magazine. A New Jersey native, Iris has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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


Book Blast Schedule

Monday, July 17
Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, July 18
Book Nerd
To Read, Or Not to Read
Wednesday, July 19
Faery Tales Are Real
Thursday, July 20
T’s Stuff
Friday, July 21
Books of a Shy Girl
A Literary Vacation
Saturday, July 22
Laura’s Interests
Sunday, July 23
Must Read Faster
Monday, July 24
Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots
Tuesday, July 25
WS Momma Readers Nook
Wednesday, July 26
100 Pages a Day
Thursday, July 27
Carole’s Ramblings
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!
Friday, July 28
Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we are giving away a signed copy of An Epiphany in Lilacs to one lucky winner! To enter please see the direct link below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 28th. 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 to giveaway: https://gleam.io/01y6B/an-epiphany-in-lilacs

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"You Can Do This: Seizing the Confidence God Offers" by Tricia Lott Williford Review--A Truly Inspiring Book for Every Woman!




"You Can Do This: Seizing the Confidence God Offers" by Tricia Lott Williford is an encouraging read for any woman in any stage of life, facing any type of struggle.  It is a non-fiction Christian book that is a mix of self-help, memoir, and Christian encouragement.  Ms. Williford tells her story to the reader in a way that feels like you are having a conversation with her over a cup of coffee (or tea).  She inserts many helpful and encouraging nuggets of truth for those who are going through hard times or need a confidence boost.  Some examples of topics that she covers are negative thoughts, boundaries, and how we define ourselves.  She puts practical ways to implement these truths at the end of each chapter. 

I love this book!  I feel like Ms. Williford was reading my mind at times and the way she writes is like she is speaking directly to one’s soul.  Her words and stories brought smiles to my face and tears to my eyes.  I love how encouraging and practical this book is.  I especially love Ms. Williford's section on replacing negative thoughts and feelings with Scripture and positive affirmations.  She even lists out relevant Scripture to use for different circumstances.  I personally have been through some rough seasons and have wrestled with my confidence and not feeling like I could do some hard things (like my recent battle with chronic pain and chronic illness).  Ms. Williford's words are balm to my weary soul.  I highly recommend this book to any woman, because we all need to hear these words at one point or another in our lives.

 Content and Rating: I give this book 5 stars.  It is a clean read.  Ms. Williford is very open and honest about some of the struggles she has gone through (for example, sexual abuse and PTSD).  She doesn't go into detail about her abuse. 

I want to thank Tricia Lott Williford and Tyndale House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

 
 Click here to visit Tricia Lott Williford's website

 Click here to purchase the book

Tricia Lott Williford's bio as found on her website:

I am a writer, teacher, reader, and thinker.

I am a remarried widow.

I collect words, quotes, books, and bracelets.

I take my caffeine hot or cold:

I believe diet Pepsi is best with a lime,

and coffee is largely about the feel of the mug in my hand.

Sometimes I snort when I laugh,

talk in my sleep,

and cry without warning.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

"The Captain's Daughter" by Jennifer Delamere Review--A Backstage Pass to Victorian England and Gilbert and Sullivan's Theater

 
 
 
"The Captain's Daughter" by Jennifer Delamere is not at all what I expected; it is completely different and exceeded my expectations!  This book is the first book in the "London Beginnings" series.  I have not read any of Ms. Delamere's work before but I love this time period and the plot description and title were intriguing.

 
The book takes place in Victorian England, taking the reader from George Müller's famous orphanage to Gilbert and Sullivan's productions in the theater.  Ms. Delamere provides vivid descriptions of what London at this time is like, from being on the streets to backstage.  She deftly weaves fascinating historical detail into a well written story. 

 
The main characters, Rosalyn and Nate, are very likeable and relatable.  They both talk of their faith and mature in different ways over the course of the story.  Rosalyn is a sweet character, who is a little naïve at first.  She is very caring towards others.  I liked Nate from the beginning as he is very protective of Rosalyn. 

 
There is an overarching theme of relying on God to meet one's needs.  Rosalyn is brought up in George Müller's orphanage, where they never solicit donations, but rely on prayer and faith for provision.  Rosalyn then has to incorporate that philosophy into her life as she goes out into the world with no money, job, or place to stay at first.  Can she truly live out the faith and example George Müller set?  Other characters also struggle with being able to trust God to meet their needs. 

 
I love how strong the faith aspect is in this story.  “The Captain’s Daughter” kept me turning the pages and is easy to read with lots of breaks.  I do think the title "The Captain’s Daughter" is a little misleading, as there isn't much at all about Rosalyn’s father (who is a captain) or anything to do with ships, etc.  Other than that, I love the premise, the faith aspect and the setting.  I highly recommend this book! 


Click here to go to Jennifer Delamere's Website
Click here to purchase the book

Content and Rating: I give this book 5 stars and it is a clean read.  Rosalyn does find herself at in a house of prostitution at one point and there is a little talk of this subject.  Another woman speaks of her past and of being raped, but does not go into detail.  There is also a theme of predatory men, but again, there is no explicit detail. 
  
Photo credit: Megan Scott

I want to thank Jennifer Delamere and Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.