Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Book Review and Giveway for Lisa Mayer's The Arrow Bringer



About the Book
Evie could’ve saved Aletheia. Now it might be too late.
Evie Lewis has just been diagnosed with leukemia at sixteen. Then, a powerful being called the Arrow Bringer offers her a choice: spend her last days in peace or save Aletheia. She stays. But then Shawn Lawrence—the closest person she has to a friend—goes in her place. Now Evie must save Shawn and race to fix her mistake as a shadow falls over Aletheia. Even as leukemia consumes her body, a new enemy and more imminent perils pursue her. And she must endure all and save Aletheia while keeping her darkest secret:
that it’s all her fault.
Book: The Arrow Bringer by  Lisa Mayer
Author: Lisa Mayer
Genre: Allegorical Fantasy
Release Date: March 19, 2019

Purchase a copy at: Click Here


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Mayer recognizes, far better than most, the power of words. She also understands that what people need to know about Jesus is that His love is unconditional, His mercy is unending… and that there are no lengths to how far He’ll go to save His people.
Jesus melted Lisa’s hard heart through words. Now, she hopes to use her words to do the same for others. She loves Jesus and His people and you won’t find a judgmental bone in her body. She lives in Indiana with her husband, Rich, and her furbaby, Scooby. She loves writing, and in her free time, you’ll find her curled up in her superhero pajamas binge-watching her favorite movies and TV shows.


Book Review


 
Lisa Mayer allows us to follow Evie. Evie, a teenager finds out she has terminal leukemia. The Arrow Bringer, who is like a Christ figure, asks her to save Alethia a magical land by stopping her biological father from destroying the golden arrow that protects the land. Evie didn't agree to help out until she saw a vision of her best friend Shawn being injured in Alethia. 

These characters are very compelling with many things that are relatable. Evie, the main character and the narrator of the book, is selfless, brave, and mature for her age. She also has trust issues and fears being hurt by others so she closes herself off and pushes people away.  Every character in the book has something they are overcoming and learning. 

The Arrow Bringer is geared towards young adult, but I believe adults will enjoy it as well. I know I enjoyed this book.  It is a beautiful fantasy/sci-fi book. The story is full of action. It moves very fast and is hard to put down. There is one battle and conflict after another. It contains so many moving scenes sometimes really emotional scenes. The one thing I found someone annoying is Lisa Meyer states their feelings in dialogue instead of allowing us to intuit the feelings from their actions. For example, Evie reports her thoughts in way too much detail when I already know how she feels. 

The book shares Jesus to an unsaved friend. One important theme is the concept of the lie that "I've messed up too much for forgiveness." Several characters expressed this feeling in the story. They feel they deserve whatever situation happens to them because they did the damage and can't be forgiven. You will have to read the book to find out if they overcome this or not. The reader sees the beauty of true sacrificial love and sacrificing one's self for others. It reminds us that God is always on your side despite the conflicts you are going through. 

Would I recommend this book? Yes. I look forward to the next book in this series. This book reminds me a lot of Percy Jackson, Lord of the Rings, Hungar Games, The Chronicles of Narnia and Merlin. 

Purchase a copy at: Click Here

More from Lisa


The Lamp Post

The inspiration to write a book often starts with a dream. Mine started with a lamp post.
I had no idea that after watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in December 2005 my life would never be the same. From that moment, I read every Narnia and C.S. Lewis book I could get my hands on. I searched for Narnia in every wardrobe and ended up finding it deep within my heart… and that’s when I knew I wanted to write a modern Christian-fantasy series inspired by Narnia. And the first book of The Aletheian Journeys came to life—The Arrow Bringer.
I’d like to say that my first draft was pure magic. But my journey was only beginning, and I had a lot to learn. Writing is an art and requires the patience of a sculptor. I began with a large block of marble and a vision, and then sculpted away until I discovered the beauty underneath.
In truth, it wasn’t just the writing in and of itself that makes The Arrow Bringer special to me. It’s about what The Arrow Bringer reflects—that as I became a better writer, in a way I also became a better person. I learned who I am and accepted myself, my characters taught me to be strong, and I fell more in love with Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong. I want The Arrow Bringer (and the six following novels in The Aletheian Journeys) to make it—make an impact, make a difference, make straight His paths. C.S. Lewis changed the world with Narnia. Anyone who reads it knows what it is to love Aslan better here by knowing him first in Narnia. And yet all of us still hunger for something that we can’t explain—and that is Jesus Christ.
At its heart, The Arrow Bringer is a love story. The story of the love of the Arrow Bringer for this people, for friends and family struggling to save Aletheia, and a story of love between us and Jesus. The story is meant to inspire, to bring hope, and to remind you of how much you matter. I sincerely hope, with all my heart, that you will find the Arrow Bringer not only in Aletheia… but in every chapter of your life.
It wasn’t just my writing journey that began with a lamp post… but my journey with Christ. By coming further up and further in, I found more than I ever could have dreamed. I hope the spark from that lamp post will fuel The Arrow Bringer, honoring the legacy of C.S. Lewis, and inspiring a new generation. Within The Arrow Bringer, I hope you’ll find joy, romance, friendship, and adventure. Most of all, I hope you discover that Jesus’ mercy has no end… and He loves you far more than you could ever imagine.



Giveaway





To celebrate her tour, Lisa is giving away a grand prize of a Narnia gift basket that includes:


- Signed copy of

The Aletheian Journeys: The Arrow Bringer

- Entire The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on Blu-ray 

-  A movie companion booklet

- Two of Lisa R Mayer’s favorite Narnia reflection books in pristine condition from her personal collection: 

1. The Heart of the Chronicles of Narnia: Knowing God Here By Finding Him There by Thomas Williams

2. Believing in Narnia: A Kid’s Guide to Unlocking Secret Symbols of Faith in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia by Natalie Gillespie!!


Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Blog Stops



Multifarious, March 22
The Becca FilesMarch 28
Artistic Nobody, March 30 (Spotlight)
Purchase a copy at: Click Here

 

















Monday, March 18, 2019

Vivir El Dream by Allison K. Garcia Book Review and Giveaway

ABOUT THE BOOK
The fates of an undocumented college student and her mother intertwine with a suicidal businessman’s. As circumstances worsen, will their faith carry them through or will their fears drag them down?
Linda Palacios crossed the border at age three with her mother, Juanita, to escape their traumatic life in Mexico and to pursue the American dream. Years later, Linda nears college graduation. With little hope for the future as an undocumented immigrant, Linda wonders where her life is going.
Tim Draker, a long-unemployed businessman, has wondered the same thing. Overcome with despair, he decides to take his own life. Before he can carry out his plan, he changes course when he finds a job as a mechanic. Embarrassed about working at a garage in the barrio, he lies to his wife in hopes of finding something better.
After Juanita’s coworker gets deported, she takes in her friend’s son, Hector, whom her daughter Linda can’t stand, While Juanita deals with nightmares of her traumatic past, she loses her job and decides to go into business for herself.
Will the three of them allow God to guide them through the challenges to come, or will they let their own desires and goals get in the way of His path?
Click here to purchase your copy.

Book: Vivir el Dream by Allison K. Garcia
Author: Allison K Garcia
Genre: Christian Latino Fiction
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Click here to purchase your copy.

MY BOOK REVIEW

Vivir el Dream is an inspirational story containing many thought-provoking points on the undocumented immigration issues we are facing in the United States.  It stirs up emotions. 

The reader follows three main characters: Juanita, Linda, and Tim. 
Juanita knows very little English but works her tail end to help support her daughter. 
Linda is an undocumented immigrant and a very smart college student who is working day and night. 
Then there is Tim who is a born-and-raised American who is married. This couple lives the American dream. Tim's wife is a country club member and their children attend a private school until they are faced with Tim being laid off. 
These characters are relatable. 

This book touches on many topics including, illegal immigration, rape, marriage abuse, marriage struggle, 


Alison K. Garcia authenticity to the story by not being afraid to put lots of Spanish dialogues and terms in her book. English people, like myself, have to turn to the footnotes containing the English translations. This pulled me out of the story quite a lot.  

I knew a little bit about undocumented immigration and the Dream Act because I was an intern for Alan Headbloom's Feel Like You Belong.  Alan interviews a variety of immigrants who came to America for a better life. 

All and all, Vivir El Dream gives a wonderful glimpse into the struggles and determination undocumented families deal with and what they won't go through to have a better life.  It also shows what United States citizens go through too. Garcia gets you thinking. I love how she put two different lifestyles side by side. This would make a really good book club book because you could get some really good discussions. I would recommend this book. This isn't an easy read, so don't plan on reading it all in a couple of hours. 

Click here to purchase your copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allison K. Garcia is a Licensed Professional Counselor, but she has wanted to be a writer ever since she could hold a pencil. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Shenandoah Valley Writers, Virginia Writers Club, and is Municipal Liaison for Shenandoah Valley NaNoWriMo.

Allison’s short story, “At Heart,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of From the Depths literary magazine, along with her flash fiction. Her work, “You Shall Receive,” was published in GrayHaven Comics’s 2014 All Women’s anthology. Winning an honorary mention in the ACFW Virginia 2015 short story contest, “Just Another Navidad” was published in A bit of Christmas. Allison’s book, Vivir el Dream, published May 2017, has won several prestigious awards: 2016 ACFW Genesis Contest Finalist, 2018 Eric J. Hoffer Montaigne Medal Finalist, Honorary Mention in the 2018 Eric. J. Hoffer Awards E-book category, and 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards Finalist in the Christian/Relgious Fiction category. Her highly-anticipated novel, Finding Amor, was released in September 2018.
Latina at heart, Allison has been featured in local newspapers for her connections in the Latino community in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A member of cultural competency committees for work and a participant in several pro-immigrant rallies and other events in her region, she also sings on the worship team and enjoys get-togethers with the hermanos in her church. With the help of her husband, Julio, and their son, Miguel, she has been able to nurture her love for the Latino people.

Click here to purchase your copy.

MORE FROM ALLISON K. GARCIA

Authenticity and Love
When I wrote my debut novel Vivir el Dream in 2012, I never imagined that it was going to win five awards, that I would be invited to churches and universities and NPR to speak about it, or that it would be taught on a college campus. That’s not why I wrote it. Sure, I hoped that people would read it and love it, but I never imagined the impact it would have and the book’s relevance seven years later.
There were two main reasons I wrote Vivir el Dream: authenticity and love.
They go hand-in-hand, but I shall tell you a little about how God sparked the story in my heart.
In 2011, we had three church members deported, and one of them was a dear friend—a good man who loves his family, greeted the congregation at the door, helped take the collection every Sunday and set up the tables and chairs for special programs. To see our friend, and hermano en Cristo, treated in a way that traumatized his children and nearly tore apart up his family, was something that broke my heart. But what broke it worse was seeing how the media spoke about undocumented people and sadder yet, having conversations with other Christians who spoke anger and hatred towards “illegals.”
God spoke to my heart about this. How could my brothers and sisters in Christ be so unkind and uncaring? Hadn’t they read The Good Samaritan? Didn’t they remember about loving our neighbors? It happened again and again, and I realized, with God’s help, that one of the challenges was that people didn’t understand the real story. They were fed a certain stereotype by the media, an image of a tattooed person in a gang or a drug dealer.
They hadn’t actually met anyone undocumented. Or at least they hadn’t realized they had.
In my life and in my job as a counselor, I had met tons of undocumented immigrants, and I had known them the great majority to be kind, hard-working people who wanted the best for their family and were willing to risk it all for the chance at the American dream. I saw love, I saw bravery, I saw strength, I saw faith. And I believe that God showed me those things so that I could reflect that in my novels.
A wonderful thing happens when we’re reading a book. We jump into the shoes of the main character. We understand their plight. Their hopes are our hopes. We feel their story, their dreams, their love, their anguish, their joy. That is one of the great things about reading. We escape our own lives for a while and experience a new adventure, gain a new understanding. We go places and meet people and do things we would never be able to in our own lives.
So that is what God placed on my heart to share with the world: an authentic experience of a mother and daughter who are undocumented Christians.
It’s controversial, but then so was the Gospel. What is more controversial than Jesus’ teachings? To love those who hate us. To turn the other cheek. To give away all possessions to join Him. I mean, what is more controversial than being asked to believe that a man born over 2,000 years was the Son of God and was risen from the dead after three days and that giving one’s heart over to Him will save one’s soul so as to live for all of eternity with God in Heaven?
And yet, that is the very heart of the Gospel.
To love God and to love others.
So, in the spirit of loving God and listening to Him, I wrote Vivir el Dream and published it even when the world pushed against it and continues to do so, perhaps more now than in 2012. All the more reason to love our neighbor more and to hold tighter onto God and His teachings.
I hope you enjoy my book. I hope it takes you on a new, heartwrenching adventure that carries you from the anguish in crossing a desert with your three-year-old daughter on your hip to the freedom in cooking tamales in the kitchen while swaying to cumbia, from the stabbing fear of living in a country that doesn’t want you to experiencing the joy of first love, and from the desperation of staring down an empty barrel to the understanding of truth for your fellow man.
God bless. And happy reading.

GIVEAWAY


To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a gift basket that includes 4 Christian novels, secret recipes for some of the Mexican cuisine described in Vivir el Dream, and authentic arts and crafts from Guadalajara, Mexico or by preference, a $40 Amazon gift card!!

CLICK HERE to Enter

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! 
Blog Stops
Multifarious, March 16
The Becca Files, March 26
Power of Words, March 28






Sunday, March 17, 2019

Damned by Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor Book Review and Giveaway



SYNOPSIS

Over a hundred years after the death of Magnus Blackwell, Altmover Manor sits abandoned.

Lexie Arden and her fiancé, Will Bennett, are determined to rescue the neglected Mount Desert Island landmark. They want to make Altmover Manor their home. But Magnus has other plans.

A spirit bound to his former residence, Magnus finds himself inexplicably drawn to the young woman. She has a supernatural gift; a gift Magnus wants to exploit.

As Lexie and Will settle in, secrets from Magnus's past begin to surface. Compelled to learn all she can about the former owner, Lexie becomes immersed in a world of voodoo, curses, and the whereabouts of a mysterious dragon cane.

Magnus's crimes won't be so easily forgotten, and what Lexie unearths is going to change the future ... for everyone.   

MY BOOK REVIEW

Damned is a page-turner book. I couldn't put it down. Alexandrea Weis brought her readers into magical mysterious worlds. This is the second book in the Blackwell series. I would highly recommend reading the first book first. You can do it without it but there are details you will miss. Weis brings you on a journey that is captivating.  An engaged couple Lexi and Will. Will is an architect and wants to restore the manor back to its original stage. While they are fixing up the Manor they start digging up the manor's past. Lexi comes across some photographs. These photos will help Will restore the home back to its original. The Manor's caretaker, Remi, recognizes that Lexi has a special gift. Magnus has also taken a special interest in her also. This book is very suspenseful, entertaining and great character arcs. I could really see this book becoming a film or even a tv series. 


MORE ABOUT THE BOOK 
Praise for DAMNED

"... seamlessly blends mystery, magic and matters of the heart to create and enthralling read." ―RT Book Reviews

"Damned is absolutely riveting, an absolute page turner. Just when you think the carnival ride is over you discover it's barley begun... If you only read one book, this should be it." ―Tracy Riva, Midwest Book Review 

"Damned is full of intricate characters, voodoo, and a luxurious setting that will steal your breath away. You'll want to follow Magnus and Lexie to Hell and back, and that's stunningly likely." ―Mercedes B. Yardley, Bram Stoker Award-Winning Author of Little Dead Red



ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author of over twenty-seven novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers Association, Weis writes mystery, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.

Lucas Astor is a multi-award-winning author from New York. He has resided in Central America, the Middle East, and traveled throughout Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight. He is a writer and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Weis and Astor’s first collaboration was the multi-award-winning Magnus Blackwell Series.

PHOTO CONTENT FROM ALEXANDREA WEIS AND LUCAS ASTOR


GIVEAWAY


--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

-  1 Winner will receive a $20 Dollar PayPal/Amazon Gift Card.
**Ends April 1, 2019

Direct Link to Enter: Click Here



a Rafflecopter giveaway



 More information Click Here

My Thoughts on this College Scam



                                 

You might have already heard about Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman being involved in one of the biggest college scams in our American's college history. Lori Loughlin, known for Aunt Becky on Full House, and her husband, a fashion designer, paid over $500,000 to get her two daughters in the Universit of California.

Felicity Huffman, an actress known for Desperate Housewives, is accused of paying $15,000 disguised as a charitable donation s
o her daughter could take part in a rigged college entrance-exam. She hired a guy who changed the answers to the correct ones.

There are many things they are doing to punish these parents and children I agree with, but there are also some things I don't agree with.



For example, I agree their children should be suspended from the college.  The parents should pay back all the scholarship money these children received. I don't think they should go to prison for more than a year.

 Our prisons are already really full. I rather not have them take spots for someone who murdered people.  These people didn't kill anyone. They were just really stupid. Instead, I think they should be required to work nasty jobs such as cleaning porta-potties, crime scene cleaner, sewer cleaning, etc,,

I DO NOT agree with them canceling any of their TV shows or Movies because they aren't the only one on those TV shows and movies. There are so many other people working on these productions. You have the Producer, Director, other talents, crew, editors and more. It isn't fair to them.  This Sunday, March 17, Hallmark Channel has decided to not air the next episode of When the Heart Calls for now. They are not canceling the show they are just not airing the episode. However, Hallmark and Crown Media have canceled the TV show Garage Sale Mysteries, which again is not fair to everyone else who worked on the series.


William Singer
Should the kids be punished? I believe Oliva Jade Giannulli and Isabella Giannulli should be punished because they should have stood up to their parents and tell them no they are not going to fake being on a great athlete. Some of the other kids, such as Felicity Huffman's kid, could have not known about their parents hiring someone to change their SAT and ACT scores.

Instead of punishing these kids I feel they should retake the ACT and SAT to see if they really are smart.

I feel bad for these kids. If this happened to me I would feel incredibly awful knowing my parents thinks I can't get into college on my own. What makes the University of Southern California, Yale, Georgetown, and Stanford any better than any other college?

If you really think about it things like this had been going on for years. Money, doing favors and knowing the right people can get you anything you would like. Buying your way into something isn't new. It not ethical, but it isn't new.

This scam has shown how flawed our college system is. I don't agree with people getting accepted into colleges of their ACT, SAT, and athletics.  

My GPA in High School was a 3.90 and my College GPA was 4.0. I worked my butt off in College so I can go get a Masters in Counseling, but I am finding out a lot of the Grad schools require me to take the GRE which is a lot like the ACT and SAT. I am smart but suck at test taking. It doesn't help with my dsylexia. I can get extra time, but it doesn't really help. Can't the schools just test you by doing hands-on exercises?


I have always felt students shouldn't be admitted into a school because of their athletic skills especially getting a full ride scholarship from it. You can only be an athlete for so long before your body says "no more". A person doing Music, Singing, Theatre, Science, Writing, History, Filmmaking, Media, Marketing or Business Entrepreneurship can do it till the day they die.

I work at a film college as their Student Academic Specialist. I am also an alumnus from this school as well. My college, every year,  are selectively accepting only 40 students every year. They don't go by the ACT and SAT scores as much as your portfolio, video entry, and your essays.  The students whose parents had money got further privileges than students whose parents didn't. They would get to go on LA trips, got to be the first people to use the new filming equipment and got to go out to eat with the president of the school because their parents donated a bunch of money.

I got accepted into the University of Michigan. I applied for the Theatre Directing program. There were four steps I had to go through.  First one, send in my application with a video of why I would be good for the program. If they liked my video the next step was to send in my portfolio which they did. Third Step, meet with the Theatre Program Assistant Director. I passed the third step. The final step was to meet with the Director of Theatre Program. The Director asked me if I go to New York a lot to see new Broadway shows. I said, "Unfortunately no due to not having the money." I told him all about my health problems and the costs. He then asked me I go to Chicago to see shows. I told him I only saw one show in Chicago and that was Mary Poppins. A month later I get a letter telling me the reason why I didn't get accepted into the Directing program. It stated it was due to not being able to see lots of shows on Broadway and they fear I would not be able to afford a lot of their mandatory trips to New York, Chicago, and Stradford.  Otherwise, I would have been accepted. I appealed it reminding the Theatre Director I have seen a lot of off-broadway touring companies but got a letter telling me they are sorry but they don't count them.

Instead of staying at U of M and reapplying for the Theatre Directing Program again and look into U of M's film program, counseling, and marketing program I gave the school my middle finger, I didn't actually do that but decided to go to a different one.

Anyways, it doesn't matter our college system is not fair especially if you are poor and are not a great test taker.












Life Keeps Beating Me Up Now Family Can I Give Up?

Me as a Baby, My Mom and My Dad (1986) Life can sure break you down espeically when it comes from family. As you know, I have three am...