Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Review: The Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry (Plus: Giveaways!!)

My Review:

Wow. Powerful. Moving. Heart-wrenching. Eye-Opening. Educational. Beyond Suspenseful. Must Share!

These are just a few of the words and phrases that come to mind when I think of this book. To say it was suspenseful would be an understatement. Truly a book I could not put down until I was finished.

I highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in opening up their worldview and understanding what's really going on in the world around us. The story was so compelling - it felt as if the author, Alana Terry, must be writing a memoir.

Have you felt your heart hurt for those facing persecution but felt you could never fully comprehend it? Yet you desperately wanted to understand and know how to pray? Look no further. This is a strong voice for the persecuted church and a great educational resource for anyone willing to open their hearts and minds.

If you do have a heart for the persecuted church, take time to learn more about, The Voice of the Martyrs. It's a wonderful organization who puts a voice, face and name to those standing for their faith around the world. They not only tell their stories, but they support them in a variety of ways.

*Read "The Story Behind The Beloved Daughter" by Alana Terry CLICK HERE

The Beloved Daughter, an inspirational suspense novel by award-winning author Alana Terry, is a story of persecution and triumph set in the oppressive North Korean regime. The audiobook version of Alana's bestselling debut novel is narrated by Kathy Garver, a four-time Audie award winner and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Motion Picture Council. (You might also recognize Kathy as Cissy from the TV show Family Affair.)

Listen to a sample of Kathy reading from The Beloved Daughter.

The Beloved Daughter

Synopsis: In a small North Korean village, a young girl struggles to survive. It is her father's faith, not the famine of North Hamyong Province, that most threatens Chung-Cha's well-being. The Beloved Daughter follows Chung-Cha into one of the most notorious prison camps the contemporary free world has known. Her crime? Being the daughter of a Christian.

Join the giveaway
     *Winner, Women of Faith Writing Contest
     *1st Place, Book Club Network Book of the Month

     *Amazon Bestseller (#5 Christian Suspense)


" engaging plot that reads like a story out of today's headlines..." ~ Women of Faith Writing Contest

"Alana is a master storyteller, and I can’t imagine anyone failing to be captivated by this harrowing tale. What we have here is a compelling story, but it’s also one of great importance." ~ Brad Francis, Author of The Savvy Demon's Guide to Godly Living 

"The Beloved Daughter is a beautifully written story that is...both personal and representative of the challenges that many North Koreans still face today." ~ Sarah Palmer, Rescue Team Coordinator at Liberty in North Korea

"The author does a phenomenal job... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - but have tissues handy." ~ Pauline Creeden, Editor AltWit Press

Order your own copy of The Beloved Daughter.

Awesome Prizes!

You don't want to miss out on the month-long Beloved Daughter audiobook launch party. See the Alana Terry facebook page to get started. Multiple winners every week ... Hundreds of $$$-worth in prizes!

ENTER THE DRAWING: In addition to the Facebook party, you can enter the grand prize drawing below for a chance to win a $100 gift card to either Target or Amazon (you choose!), or one of the awesome prizes from the prize gallery (think Christian T-shirts, jewelry, books, CDs, lotions, and more)!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was asked to share my honest review in exchange for a free copy of the book.
I gladly participated in the book tour and launch party.*

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review and GIVEAWAY!! (The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky)

I became aware of Carrie Turansky’s books when I read Surrendered Hearts . . . and I loved it! Her style of writing immediately drew me into the drama of the story and connected me to the characters in a very real and personal way. And I definitely found this to be true when I was blessed to receive an advanced copy of The Governess of Highland Hall.

As an avid reader of books from this time period and general story line, I found The Governess of Highland Hall to be vastly intriguing. The beginning of the story was riveting and it didn’t take long for me to visualize each of the characters, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. If I find myself struggling with taking the authors descriptions and making a mental image of what each of the main characters look like, I end up wanting to put the book aside . . . even if the storyline itself could be worthwhile.

As some of you know already, this book could easily be seen as the Christian version of Downton Abbey. Having just watched the full series of Downton Abbey before I received Carrie’s book, I really enjoyed reading and visualizing her story all the more, especially with the Christian basis. I also enjoyed the genuineness of the characters struggles and the fact that it wasn’t always focused on the two characters and their budding relationship. As a reader, I felt I had the pleasure of learning a great deal about the many other characters involved in the lives of the two main characters. They each added richness to the story itself, in their own unique way. To me, the story came across as real and thus, very refreshing to read and experience.

Special note: I love when authors are able to describe, perfectly, something you have always felt or thought, but could never put into words – and Carrie was able to do just that, for me!

In addition, if you have been a teacher or a parent, I believe you will connect with the main character, Julia, in a very real and personal way. Through the experience I have gained as a teacher, I quickly connected with Julia’s thoughts and actions in a special way. Also, I really enjoyed the insight into William’s responsibilities. Something I haven’t found in reading other stories from this time period.  

And, just for fun, I’d like to post a couple questions for Carrie Turansky to answer concerning her story. I think I’m safe in saying that these questions should not give anything away from the story line so, for those worried about a spoiler alert, you should have no need to worry.

Questions for Carrie:

  • I don’t know why, but the fact that William held devotion time and at a certain time of the day, really struck me as out of the ordinary when I was reading. Were morning devotions typical of this time period or of this certain class in society? Did you do research to back that up or was that a personal addition to the story?

  • What research did you do to add the detail behind what Williams’ workload and a typical day looked like? I found that addition very helpful and intriguing as an avid reader of books form this time period.

  • Did you have any particular children in mind when describing the behavior, attitudes, etc . . . of the children in this story? I think this is the first book, in a long time – and one from this time period, where the children actually seemed real. I even made a note while reading that said, “Why do we automatically assume children of this era would not behave like the children of today?” 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Take the 21 Day Challenge

Take the 21 Day Challenge!
Get 5 FREE eBooks - 2 Days Only
10/17/13 and 10/18/13

PLUS enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!
Why 21 Days?

It's a commonly known fact that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. You may spend 21 days trying to form a good exercise routine or kick a bad habit, but what about taking 21 days to form a new spiritual habit? 

That's the reason for the 21 days series - to provide you with 21 days worth of biblical devotions to help you form new habits that draw you closer to Christ. And for two days only (October 17th-18th, 2013) we're giving all 5 books away for free. After that, they will be available for only 99 cents each. So what do you say? Will you join us in strengthening your walk with God? If so, download one or all of the books below at no cost to you during our free promotion - and scroll down to enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card as our gift to you!   

Be Inspired...Join the 21 Day Challenge!
Download 5 Free eBooks for 2 Days Only
generosity challenge

Living a Life of Generosity: 21 Days of Generosity Challenge
  • Do you want to live a life of generosity?
  • Do you want your life to be a blessing to others?
  • Do you want to have a giving spirit that overflows from a heart that is fully trusting in God as provider?
If so, consider embarking on this 21 Days of Generosity through this short but powerful eBook.
faith challenge

Living a Life of Faith: 21 Days of Faith Challenge
  • Do you want to live a life of faith?
  • Do you want your faith to be more than simply saying "I believe in God"?
  • Do you want to have a genuine faith that overflows from a heart that is fully trusting in God in every area of your life?
If so, consider embarking on this 21 Days of Faith Challenge through this short but powerful eBook.
gratitude challenge

During a season of transition in my life, I found myself overwhelmed with negative emotions like self-pity and a complaining spirit. It was as if a dark cloud had descended over me. I prayed and asked God for wisdom on how to overcome these negative emotions. And I sensed Him leading me to do this 21 days of gratitude challenge. 

Over the course of the 21 days, God began to change me as I spent intentional time being grateful for all I have been given. I did this through writing in my journal each day and also sending a hand-written thank you note to someone different each day.
And now I want to share what I learned with you in the short, but powerful book.
teen devotionals for girls
Our lives are ruled by habits. We are defined by them. How our days play out, how we act and react, and even how we eat, sleep and talk are all affected by our habits - for better or for worse. It's said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit or break an old one, so why not spend the next 21 days forming a habit of spending time with God? If you've got 21 days, we've got 21 devotions specifically written for today's teen girls.
Are you up for forming a habit of spending time with your Creator? If so, download this book and get started on these devotionals!
teen devotionals for guys
Teen Devotionals' for Guys!, brought to you by, are written for teen guys who want to find their true strength in Christ, these devotions designed to be read, pondered on and applied to daily life. We want you to know that the Bible isn't just a book that's over 2000 years old.It's completely applicable to our lives today - even as teenagers. We know that girls and guys don't face the same issues in high school - not even close. So these devotions were written with today's teen guys in mind. Go ahead. Dig in. Find your true strength in Christ.
Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to win a $50 amazon gift card, sponsored by Body and Soul Publishing
  This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Review: Time and Again by Deborah Heal

Purchase HERE

What I liked . . . 
  • Let me start by saying that Deborah Heal really knows how to "hook" a reader! This book seemed to contain more "hooks" then I have ever experienced while reading. I realized quickly that this could have been overdone, but in my opinion - it wasn't. 
  • There were so many layers to the story that could have been easily overdone, but (again) in my opinion - they weren't. 
  • There were nuggets of truth and great mini-lessons for the reader throughout the story.
  • If you like history, you will enjoy reading this book. If you like contemporary fiction, you will enjoy reading this book. I found it intriguing to observe how smoothly she connected the contemporary story with the historical.  
  • I greatly appreciated the notes from the Author at the end of the book, which she indicated as recommended reading before diving into book 2 in the series! She shared some interesting historical background!
  • Every once in awhile I would think, Aha! I caught her. She missed this . . . Now I have something to point out in my book review! Oh wait, she just read my mind and had the characters answer my question . . . again . . . Touché!
  • However, I did catch something that made me grin from ear to ear! "We lock onto her and go with." Do you notice anything funny about the way that sentence ends? I had to wonder if that was done on purpose or by accident. Let me know in the comment area if you caught what I'm referring to. :-)
  • Even though this book was hard to categorize (age group of readers), I thought it would easily fit in the young adult category, however it is a great fit for any age reader. I would recommend this for older teenagers, young adults, teachers/tutors, and those who love suspense, time travel and history.  
  • Overall, I enjoyed the concept of the story. I love history and especially the way it came alive for the main characters, Abby & Merredith.
Side note: I went into the story without reading any detailed descriptions or other reviews of this book. I prefer to approach books this way, especially when I am planning on sharing a review of it on here. And, I'm particularly glad I did that with this one.

What I didn't like . . .
  • The ending . . . I know by now that Deborah loves "hooking" the reader . . . . and that couldn't have been any clearer than at the end of the book! My note in my Kindle was literally, "The end???????" There is no question in my mind about wanting to read the second book in the series, Unclaimed Legacy.
  • In all seriousness, there was just one or two spots for me where the spiritual lesson seemed a little disjointed with how it was approached and I found myself wishing that the spiritual concept being presented would have been explained a little better to the character (and for the sake of the readers). 

And finally, I have question for the author . . . Deborah, may I please have what Merrideth had on her computer?? I'm definitely jealous! ;-)  

The series: 

START the series. Purchase "Time and Again" HERE.


Disclaimer: I requested this book through Body and Soul Publishing and the author provided a copy of each book in the series in return for a fair and honest review. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Review: Perfecting Kate by Tamara Leigh

Purchase Here
Although it took me awhile to settle into the rhythm of the writing style, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story by, Tamara Leigh. I say "rhythm" because I'm a music teacher at heart . . . I can't help it.

Perfecting Kate, is written in the first-person with a contemporary writing style, befitting our modern day language. It didn't flow as easily for me at first, which was most likely because this particular style is not what I typically enjoy reading. However, it didn't take long for the characters to take over, steal my heart, and draw my attention away from the writing style and into the story.

I also loved how I could completely and totally relate to the main character, Kate. 

I don't want to dive too deeply into the characters or the story, because I truly do not want to give anything away! However, I will say that Kate's character is one most women can relate to and sympathize with. Although the harsh critiques she receives from her "friends" may seem over the top (it did to me . . . at first!), I quickly realized many of us have had similar experiences with people speaking to us in the same way, and sometimes worse then what Kate received. Realizing this opened my heart to recognize the pain many people experience, sometime on a daily basis. A great reminder to pray for others who are in this type of situation.  

I was also grateful for Kate's journal entries at the end of each chapter. Her repetitive apologizes to God made me smile - as I have written the same type of journal entries myself. Although, I am thankful God has taught me (in recent years) how to live more by grace . . .  something I could tell Kate was (possibly?) beginning to grasp.

On the flip side, Kate's series of "Thank you for . . . " statements to God was a needed reminder for me. What a great way to re-focus and stay positive! I may incorporate that into my journal entries now.

Confession time: The timing of when I read this book was impeccable. At the time I began reading this book, I had been struggling with a lot of the same things Kate ended up dealing with in the book - self image wise. And, wow. Talk about conviction.  I know this story has and will continue to make an impact on a lot of lives (myself included).

To express how much I enjoyed the book and the impression it left upon my heart and mind, I decided to create a pin via picmonkey (on the right).  I used one of the quotes from the book, a photo I had taken, and a scripture verse (which came to mind after completing the book).

If you can't tell already, I enjoyed reading this book. Although the writing style may not be for everyone (It wasn't for me . . . at first!), I would recommend this as a great summer read. 

So, make sure to connect with Tamara Leigh at any of the places listed below, and grab her book to throw in your beach bag before you go on vacation. (Click here for a sneak peak!) And, don't forget to stop back here to let me know what you thought! Blessings! 

 Connect with Tamara:

Purchase her book(s):

  Below is a song I heard on the radio a couple days after I finished reading, which felt like the perfect theme song for this book. (Tamara, would you agree?)

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Book Review: Out of A Dream by Rosemary Hines

Brief Review . . .

Great read - Highly recommended! The writing style flowed seamlessly, which made for a quick and enjoyable read. It was packed with wonderful life lessons and an intriguing story-line that kept me on my toes, wondering what might happen next. I was moved on a deep level by the very believable characters and their real-life struggles, which I could easily relate to.

And, the sure sign of a good book? I found myself reacting out loud, highlighting often, and taking notes! Not only that, there were moments where particular sections brought conviction to my spirit on ways that I could improve in my own relationship with God.

This is definitely a book that I will want to go back and read regularly. I highly recommend this book and am very anxious to begin reading the next one in the series entitled, Through the Tears. And trust me, you will too! 

Digging Deeper . . . 

On my kindle there is a handy feature that allows you to highlight and take notes on the page for you to review later. This is tremendously helpful to me, as I tend to forget easily the specific thought I had regarding a certain section that really struck a chord with me and I knew I had wanted to have available for future reference. 

As I shared earlier, there was a lot of highlighting and note taking going on while I was reading, Out of A Dream by Rosemary Hines. I won't share all of the highlights with you (trust me . . . you would not want that!) because I was highlighting every time I felt an immediate connection to what was written. I notated my immediate (audible) reactions and made sure to mark any quotable moments.

My notations included reactions such as, "made me chuckle" . . .  "really??" . . . "I keep thinking about how real and authentic this is coming across to me as the reader" and, "Wow, that really struck a chord." 

I loved a particular connection that the author wove into the story. It was a lesson for the characters on recognizing how one source of spiritual guidance (unbeknownst to the character) always brings fear and anxiety into one's spirit, while the other (again, not obvious to the character) always will bring the "perfect love that casts out fear."

What I found most intriguing about her writing style was how she cleverly connected the dots . . . not only in the plot line, but within the character development. I literally felt dragged, as the reader, into their thoughts and feelings as they went about deciding their particular worldview and made various decisions. 

I loved the fact that, as I was getting to know the character and became involved with what they were thinking (even though I may have disagreed with it in reality), it made perfect sense to me at the time.

I also loved that I was unable to immediately figure out how the story was going to develop and conclude. If you love books that keep you guessing, this is definitely a suspense story for you! 

After putting the book down, I definitely was moved both emotionally and spiritually. I also came to learn and respect how other people determine their belief systems and worldviews, which I really appreciated and found tremendously helpful. It helped to shed light on questions I had, regarding how one comes to believe a certain way and why. And, I most definitely felt feel anxious to start her next book in the series, Through the Tears!  

As I shared on Amazon - "Great Read - Highly Recommended! 5 out of 5 stars!"


To purchase Rosemary's books on Amazon click here.
 (Read more reviews for, Out of a Dream here)

To connect with Rosemary Hines:

 p.s. I thought you would enjoy this picture, Rosemary . . . 

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.