Review ~ A Broken Kind of Beautiful

a broken kind of beautiful

Title: A Broken Kind of Beautiful


Author: Katie Ganshert


Release Date: April 15, 2014


Genre: Fiction / Christian / Romance

Synopsis

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four-year-old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth — appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows — so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line — an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.

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My ****4.5 Star**** Review

Wow. I am feeling so uplifted right now. This book has left me feeling completely gushy and warm! I don’t think the title could have been more perfect.

Ivy is the main focus of the story. She’s broken. As it turns out, she’s not the only broken person in the story, though. Davis and his sister Sara are both struggling with issues of their own. Then there’s Marilyn who steadily has to deal with discouragement.

This book is full of raw honesty and wisdom. It’s a book I think anyone can relate to. While the characters may have held some lofty positions and their circumstances may not be ones we’d ever find ourselves in, the main issues are ones we can all find ourselves struggling with: fear, loneliness, rejection, lust, GUILT. This is a story of redemption.

Ivy may be a fasion model with problems I’ve never seen the likes of, but I could still completely relate to her emotions.

Davis. What an amazing man of God. He constantly pushes aside the flesh in order to put God’s will first. He’s the kind of caring and self-sacrificing man most single women long for. But he’s punishing himself. I loved listening to the pastor impart his wisdom. He’s a listener, and he knows how to gently guide Davis in the right direction.

As far as the writing itself, the story had a nice smooth pace throughout, and Ms. Ganshert really knows how to grab the reader. There are some quotes that just really hit you. I found myself saying, “Ouch,” more than once. It had me questioning if there were areas in my own life where I was trying to play God. It’s a beautifully written story that I recommend to everyone, especially those of you looking for a Christian romance that is so much more than just a romance.

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.*

About the Author ~ Katie Ganshert

Katie Ganshert

Christy Award finalist, Katie Ganshert is the author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows. She lives in Iowa with her handsome husband, their dinosaur-loving son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption, which she and her husband hope to complete sometime before they are fifty. – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/author-spotlight.php?authorid=145407#sthash.TW4CBPC1.dpuf
Website: http://katieganshert.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKatieGanshert
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5197636.Katie_Ganshert
More Info: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=234965

Happy Reading,

Alison

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Review ~ The Tyrant’s Daughter

The Tyrants Daughter

Title: The Tyrant’s Daughter


Author: J. C. Carleson


Publisher: Random House Children’s


Release Date: Feb. 11, 2014


Genre: YA / Contemporary / Fiction

Book Description

From a former CIA officer comes the riveting account of a royal Middle Eastern family exiled to the American suburbs. “Every American should read this book. It’s an eye-opener.”—Suzanne Fisher Staples, Newbery Honor-winning author of Shabanu

When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She’s conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can’t bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?

J.C. Carleson delivers a fascinating account of a girl—and a country—on the brink, and a rare glimpse at the personal side of international politics.

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My ****4 Star**** Review

This story takes you through Laila’s perspective as she’s been brought to the U.S. after her family has been removed from power and murdered in a coup. It’s an easy fast-paced read. It is at times an emotional read, too.

Where I struggled with this story, is that for most of the book, I had no clue what the point was. I couldn’t see where the story was going. There wasn’t a clear cut conflict in which I had a side to root for. There were plenty of problems that Laila had to deal with, but I wasn’t sure of the main point. In the end, I was able to see where it was going, though. Plus, there was a big shocker that I didn’t see coming. Even when I wasn’t sure what the point was, I found myself curious.

So, why 4 stars? I thought this book was truly unique. The plot was different from anything I’ve read before, especially for a YA novel. But, even the writing style was different. It’s rare to come across books these days that are so different. Therefore, I appreciate it when I come across them! I also enjoyed the emotional scenes that popped up here and there. And, I enjoyed a perspective of a real-life sitution that I’ve never gotten a chance to read about. Truly interesting and eye-opening!!

Warnings: Mild language, violence, and making out/petting, but no sex
*I received a copy via NetGalley and Random House Children’s in exchange for an honest review.*

About the Author ~ J. C. Carleson

JC Carleson

J. C. CARLESON is a former undercover CIA officer who has navigated war zones, jumped out of airplanes, and worked on the frontlines of international conflicts. She now lives and writes in Virginia with her husband and two young sons. Her previous publications include the novel Cloaks and Veils, and Work Like a Spy: Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6209666.J_C_Carleson
Website: http://www.jccarleson.com/

Happy Reading,

Alison

BIG FAT DISASTER ~ Book Blast & Giveaway

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Synopsis

Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It’s her life: Dad’s a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. From a mansion, they end up in a poor relative’s trailer, where her mom’s contempt swells right along with Colby’s supersized jeans. Then, a cruel video of Colby half-dressed, made by her cousin Ryan, finds its way onto the internet. Colby plans her own death. A tragic family accident intervenes, and Colby’s role in it seems to paint her as a hero, but she’s only a fraud. Finally, threatened with exposure, Colby must face facts about her selfish mother and her own shame. Harrowing and hopeful, proof that the truth that saves us can come with a fierce and terrible price, Big Fat Disaster is that rare thing, a story that is authentically new.
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About the Author ~ Beth Fehlbaum

In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is an experienced English teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading. She is currently a Library Science student at Sam Houston State University.
Beth is the author of Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014); Courage in Patience (Kunati Books, 2008); and Hope in Patience(WestSide Books, 2010). Hope in Patience was named a 2011 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Truth in Patience, which rounds outThe Patience Trilogy, is as yet unpublished. The Patience Trilogy has been revised and is available for acquisition!

Beth has a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of her work with victims’ advocacy groups. She has been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where she addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope”.

Beth is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, like Ashley in The Patience Trilogy, and the day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give her a unique perspective, and she writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope.

Beth lives with her family in the woods of East Texas.
You can find Beth online at http:www.bethfehlbaumbooks.com
on Facebook, and on https://twitter.com/bethfehlbaum

Happy Reading,

Alison

Promo ~ Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen

Retarded Girl cover copy

Publication Date: March 15, 2014


Genre: Fiction/Mystery


Publisher: Sartoris Literary Group

Synopsis

Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen by Lauren Leigh is a spellbinding murder mystery that offers a sympathetic look at the struggles faced by individuals with disabilities.

Baby is every adoptive parent’s nightmare—blind, paralyzed from the waist down, unable to speak, and diagnosed with developmental and intellectual disabilities. For the first 10 years of her life she is raised outside in a dog pen by a cruel adoptive father, a Mississippi deputy sheriff who values his bird dogs more than his daughter.

Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen is the story of Baby’s placement in a Mississippi mental institution for individuals with profound retardation after the brutal murder of her father and the arrest of her mother, and her desperate attempt to escape the institution.

Once the mother is convicted of murder and sentenced to death, the story takes a bizarre twist as mental health professions discover that Baby is capable of communication, despite being trapped inside a grotesque body that holds her prisoner.

How much does Baby know? Can she prove her mother’s innocence?

As the mother sits on death row, the clock ticking, a brilliant psychologist has the shock of her life when she discovers that Baby is not who she seems. The question is will the psychologist be able to solve the mystery in time to save the mother’s life?

Similar to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in the manner in which it reveals the inner workings of a mental institution, it is, in the end, about the triumph of intellect and passion over indifference and cruelty. It is written in the tradition of The Sound and the Fury and To Kill a Mockingbird, two novels that address the complex issue of intellectual disabilities.

Excerpt

When Thad Vanderbilt arrived at the county jail, he was eating a hamburger that he’d picked up at the drive-through window of a fast-food restaurant. He took bites of the burger and sips from a cup filled with iced tea as he walked into the building and asked to meet with Rivers in a private conference room.
As she walked in the door, he was in the process of wadding up the paper wrapping around the burger. He tossed it into a nearby trash can and then took a sip from the cup, gurgling the last few drops from the bottom of the cup before discarding it. Left behind was a touch of mayo that stuck about an inch from the corner of his mouth. Rivers noticed it, but said nothing, not really caring whether her lawyer looked foolish or not.
Thad stood and extended his hand as she approached the table and sat in a folding chair. His fingers felt damp from the soft drink cup, and she wiped her hand against her jumpsuit.
“I’m Thad Vanderbilt,” he said. “I’ve seen you around town, but I don’t think we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.”
“I’ve seen you in your convertible.”
Thad laughed. “Yes, and it will be paid for in another three years, just in time to trade it in for a new one.”
Rivers didn’t think that was funny and she did not respond with a laugh of her own.
Thad looked at a legal pad, reading over his scribbled notes.
“I see your husband was a deputy.”
Rivers nodded.
“And you have a little girl named Baby. Is that correct?”
“Yes. Have you seen her?”
“No, I haven’t. I understand she was taken away and placed at Silverstone Retardation Center.”
“That’s what the sheriff told me.”
“She’ll be well taken care of there.”
“I hope so. She’s not used to strangers.”
“They are used to people like her.”
“What do you mean, people like her?”
“You know, retarded.”
“Oh.”
“How do you want to plead on this?”
“What do you mean?”
“Guilty or not guilty.”
“Oh.”
Rivers didn’t answer, sort of drifted away, lost in thought.
“Did you hear me?”
“What?”
“Guilty or not guilty?”
“What’s the difference?”
“If you plead guilty, there is no trial and the judge decides your sentence. If you plead not guilty, you go to trial and listen to people say a lot of bad things about you, and then the jury decides if you are guilty or not guilty, and then, if you are guilty, they pass sentence.”
“And if the jury decides I am not guilty?”
“Then they send you home.”
“In that case, who goes to prison?”
“The prosecutor will decide if there is someone else he wants to prosecute. If there is, then he will go after them and try to get a conviction.
“Oh.
“So what do you want to do?”
“Did the sheriff give you any information about Angus?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Did the sheriff give you any details about what happened to him?”
“Sure.”
“Would you mind telling me what you know?”
“No problem.” He looked over his notes. “OK. They found his body yesterday, buried along the tree line of your property, about fifty yards from the dog pen.”
“Did he look upset?”
“Excuse me?”
“Did it look like he was upset over being dead?”
Thad paused again, this time to collect his thoughts. “Ma’am, when you’re dead I don’t think you necessarily look upset or not upset.”
“I see.” She lowered her eyes, looking down at her lap, where her fingers were intertwined in a knot. “Does it say anything about how he died?”
“Yes, ma’am, it says he was struck in the chest with an ax.”
“That all?”
“No, it says he was hacked on a little bit.”
“Do they have the ax?”
“Apparently, it was buried with him.”
Rivers sat quietly for a while. Then she put her hand on her chest, feeling her thumping heart. “Would you mind seeing after the burial?”
“That’s not really what I do.”
“Baby and I are the only family he’s got. If not you, then who?”
“Ma’am, you’ve put me on the spot.”
“I know that.”
Thad doodled on his legal pad as he struggled with her request. He had moved to Murphy County from Memphis, where lawyers played by a different set of rules. In Memphis, her request would have been laughed at, but not in a rural community where everyone knows everyone else, or if they don’t, they know of them or have heard stories about them.
“That’s not something I usually do,” he said. “But I’ll make an exception in your case.”
“Thank you.”
“But you still haven’t answered me.”
“About what?”
“About your plea.”
“Can I decide what goes on the tombstone?”
“I don’t know for sure, but assume that would not be a problem. You are his wife.”
“Will there be flowers?”
“Yes—if I have to send them myself.”
“That’s nice.”
“I don’t mean to be rude, ma’am, but I need to know your plea.”
Rivers looked up, as if searching for the answer on the ceiling. Inexplicably, a serene look appeared on her face. “What will happen to me if I plead guilty?”
“It is a capital offense to kill a police officer, so the penalty would be death by injection.”
“I see.”
“Is that what you would like to do?”
“Yes, I believe it is.”

About the Author ~ Lauren Leigh

Lauren Leigh is a mental health professional who has devoted her life to working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. This is her first novel.

Happy Reading,

Alison

Shattered Embrace ~ Promo Blitz & Giveaway

shattered embrace

Contemporary / Women’s Fiction

Date Published: 3/14/2014

Bethlehem took her first breath as her mother took her last.

Left to survive in overcrowded Ethiopian orphanages, she developed survival skills rivaling a warrior – a fierce, independent fighter before she could walk or talk. As she approached her second birthday, Bethlehem lived her days guided by two rules: everyone leaves and trust no one.

A world away in Canada, Tory Witcraft is trying to adopt from Ethiopia with her husband, Matt, when her adoption agency goes bankrupt, threatening her dreams of becoming a mother. Against the advice of many, including government officials threatening to revoke the adoption, she goes to Ethiopia, and her new daughter, Bethlehem.

When they finally meet, both mother and daughter struggle to connect, each trapped by their own fears and demons. Emotions and tempers run hot. Hearts and dreams collide, shattering a family before it could fully form.

The adoption journey was difficult, but no one expected the hardest part of the journey would begin once they met.

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EXCERPT

An itty bitty little thing of a girl came running into the room. Bouncing high with each step as she flew at them and promptly threw herself into Matt’s lap. Tory’s hand clutched her face, her breath stopped in her chest as she watched Matt draw the little girl close. His body rocked as he held her, his face split into a smile of pure joy.

“Daddy!” she cried out in a squeaky voice. She grabbed Matt’s face kissing each cheek with a big, slimy, open mouth kiss.

“Bethlehem!” Matt breathed out as he hugged her and kissed the top of her head.

“Bethlehem,” Tory whispered the name, as if saying it for the first time as she took in the face of the little girl she had studied through pictures for months. Blowing up the pictures until she could examine every facet of the the little girls features. Seeing her up close, face to face, finally close enough to touch left Tory breathless. Her skin itched to touch her. With a tentative hand she stroked her back.

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About the Author ~ P.R. Newton

P.R. (Piper) Newton is a proud geek mom of two little boys, one through birth, one through adoption. She has a background in psychology and continues to take post-grad courses in childhood trauma and development. In her writings she loves to explore the human mind, putting her characters through unthinkable things, just to see how they react. She is a full-time author, who believes in the magical, creative inducing powers of arm warmers and stripy socks.

Website: http://prnewton.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PRNewtonAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PRNewtonwrites

Happy Reading,

Alison

Requiem for Doctor Edward Browne ~ Book Blast & Giveaway

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Title: Reqiuem for Doctor Edward Browne

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Richard Dean Smith

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 580

Language: English

ISBN – 978-1-44013-771-6

When Dr. Browne’s partner retires, his practice is taken over by Dr. Forbes Q. Hazzig, who becomes a zealot for a ‘managed care revolution’ of ‘marketplace medicine.’ Browne and his associate Dr. Kennes receive irrational, discordant information from healthcare experts, consultants and economists. Browne learns that rhetoric of a mass movement must be as erroneous as possible promising a vague, glorious future. Hazzig grows immensely rich and gains enormous power relying on intimidation and coercion.
Joanna Browne’s exhibition of J.M.W. Turner becomes a thrilling success, yet Hazzig’s wife succeeds in eliminating Joanna’s position at East Valley Museum of Art. Joanna must accept a position at a distant university; her absence devastates Browne.

Browne and Kennes discover managed care was based on a Washington bureau hoax, the ‘health maintenance strategy’ of 1973: an irrational mass movement, a mass hysteria. Hazzig plots to humiliate and ruin the two doctors; each threat goes awry. Hazzig is discredited; his illusory wealth collapses.

Reunited with Joanna, Dr. Browne receives a disturbing invitation to return to East Valley to be recognized with Dr. Kennes for their efforts to expose the folly of managed care. Browne is reluctant to relive his lonely, troubled, distressed past.

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About the Author ~ Richard Dean Smith

Richard Dean Smith 48 words The author received medical education at Kansas University Medical Center and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. He is presently Medical Director of the Rehabilitation Services, John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek, California. Dr. Smith lives and practices where managed care had its beginning and its most rapid growth.

Happy Reading,

Alison