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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

LSBBT BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Rainwater Secret by Monica Shaw (Historical Fiction)


THE RAINWATER SECRET
by
Monica Shaw

Genre: Historical Fiction / Medical Missionaries
Publisher: Self-Published
Date of Publication: March 31, 2017
Number of Pages: 354


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The Rainwater Secret is a deeply moving, historical fiction novel about a woman who travels to Africa to teach the leper children who were banished from their villages.

Single and feeling there is nothing left for her in small-town England, Anna embarks on an adventure as a volunteer teacher with the Medical Missionaries of Mary. Life as Anna has known it is forever changed as she learns the culture that would banish its sick, disfigured, and crippled to the bush. Babies are left to die on roadsides, children are chased away to live by whatever means they can find. The aged are abandoned. Anna’s daily life is an adventure as she travels from one village to another across a hostile land with few passable roads, rickety bridges threatening to fall apart and casting occupants on the jagged rocks far below, and weather that turns a calm river into a roiling death trap. In spite of the trials, Anna also manages to find love and family in this godforsaken land.

Follow this adventure through disease, weather, strife, death, and determination to turn a few acres of land into a loving home for the outcast lepers of Nigeria.


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I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.

Set in the 1940s, this was an intensely enlightening and moving look into the life of a young woman who willingly sacrificed any sense of convenience and normalcy to travel with Catholic missionaries into Africa in order to teach in a leper colony. Even more fascinating was the fact that it was largely based on the real life and work of the author's great-aunt, making this a refreshing and inspiring read about a woman choosing to live beyond herself as she tries to make a difference in a world so far removed from the only life she had ever known. The writing is so detailed and engaging that I oftentimes found myself forgetting that this wasn't a biography!

Filled with enriching descriptions that take readers across continents, what at first seems like a change of pace for a young woman left reeling from the loss of a suitor gradually encompasses her life and provides new meaning and fulfillment. As she moves beyond mourning, she settles into a life within the jungle that brings about its own drama as well. Each day is filled with hard work, and survival is not guaranteed, but rather than give up or become overwhelmed by the unknown, Anna's determination and loyalty to her Christian charity provides deep satisfaction at completing the day's activities, which ultimately ended up spanning decades. Readers are also provided the unique opportunity to gain even more insight into Anna's perspective when some of her letters to her best friend in England are shared in their entirety. This gives such a complete understanding of Anna's feelings regarding pivotal moments throughout the course of the story. These snapshots across time bear witness to just how much changes, or in most cases, how much remained the same.

As the years go by, Anna becomes so much more than just a character on the page. She truly comes alive as we celebrate with her victories, cry alongside her near misses, and rally behind her unwavering dedication to bring love and learning to the most unfortunate among us. It is within these pages that the glorious meaning of selfless service is defined. 

There is so much to be both entertained and educated by when reading this book, which is a truly solid example of what compelling historical fiction should be! And I do hope that you take the time to check it out!





Monica Shaw is a native of Dallas, Texas where she has been a successful entrepreneur. She attended St. Thomas Aquinas, graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, and earned her Geology / Petroleum Engineering degree from UT Austin. Her debut novel, The Rainwater Secret, started off as a personal research project looking into the life of her great aunt who became a missionary teacher. Monica is married with 3 children.

 Website ║ Facebook LinkedIn Twitter ║ Instagram Goodreads Amazon Author Page 

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
THREE WINNERS! Choice of Signed Print or eBook Copy!
APRIL 23-May 3, 2019
(US ONLY)


a Rafflecopter giveaway  Best of luck!

Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and Monica Shaw! It was an absolute pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
4/23/19
Author Video
4/23/19
Bonus Post
4/24/19
Review
4/25/19
Scrapbook Page
4/26/19
Review
4/27/19
Author Interview
4/28/19
Review
4/29/19
Scrapbook Page
4/30/19
Review
5/1/19
Top Six List
5/2/19
Review

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

LSBBT BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Panic Point by Bill Briscoe (Mystery)


 PANIC POINT
Pepperman Mystery Series Book Two
by
BILL BRISCOE
  
Genre: Mystery / Crime Fiction / Stand-Alone
Publisher: self-published
Date of Publication: March 26, 2019
Number of Pages: 248

Scroll down for Giveaway!

  




Is it better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved?
When Earl's bride Morgan vanishes in the Smoky Mountains on their honeymoon, the former Navy SEAL is certain she's been abducted. The park rangers disagree, and after a storm washes away any potential evidence, they call off the official search. Then another man loses his daughter in the same area. Can one last lead help Earl find Morgan before he loses her forever?


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I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.

Given the synopsis, I entered into this story with a tense feeling that ultimately never seemed to loosen its grip! This was such a riveting read, especially once the mystery of why Earl's wife went missing in the first page. I'll admit that I realized early on what was coming given an early interaction between characters, but I was not disappointed in how the story played out nor in its conclusion. Short, fast-paced chapters kept the tension mounting until the very end and certainly packed a dynamic punch for such a small package!


"If it saddens you to look back, and you're afraid to look forward, just look beside you, and I'll be there."

Earl's perseverance is a testament to his strong character and truly embodies the human spirit. Facing mounting suspicion in his wife's disappearance, but also struggling with his own guilt, Earl is horribly conflicted about whether to give up, move on, or continue with a search that seems to matter very little to the law enforcement officials charged with protecting the community. His emotions are expressed with such vehemence that our own sense of empathy is called upon and we can honestly relate to his circumstances and condition. 

"The camaraderie couldn't be explained..."

As an Army veteran myself, I greatly appreciated the level of authenticity presented throughout the story. The men who comprise the mission team came alive on the page as examples of real life individuals I have known and/or worked with, especially Pharts, who brought some much needed humor for the team to maintain their sanity as they embarked on what could very well be a incredibly dauntless undertaking. The team leader, Stan Kowalski, retired Delta Force, drafted the five-paragraph operation order (OPORD), detailing the situation, intelligence gathered on the enemy, and the plan of execution to ensure that all the subordinates understood and followed the order, which is the exact protocol to follow. I was also impressed that once the team received its orders, they actually went through the process of rehearsing those steps briefed in the plan that they would use to carry out the mission. This is such an integral part of any task undertaken within the military and spoke volumes to the story's reliability, especially when using such highly specialized components of the armed forces. This also definitely spoke highly in regards to the author's level of research and the advisers he consulted to create a believable work of fiction that could be enjoyed by a laymen and that provided the representation that service members greatly appreciate seeing reflected across all media formats.

Although this was the second book in the series, it can be read as a true standalone. High expectations have been set for this series and I'm so eager for more!





Bill grew up in the oil and gas refinery town of Phillips in the Texas Panhandle. After graduating from college with a master’s degree, he spent most of his career working for a major insurance company as an agency manager and consultant.

As his retirement was on the horizon, he had an idea about a book. That story, Pepperman’s Promise, became the prequel to The Pepperman Mystery Series, and Perplexity and Panic Point, the next two books in the series, are now available.

Bill and his wife of fifty years live in West Texas. 


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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Grand Prize: Autographed Copies of the Full Pepperman Mystery Series
Two Winners: Autographed Copies of Panic Point
April 16-26, 2019
(U.S. Only)


a Rafflecopter giveaway  Best of luck!


Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and Bill Briscoe! It was an absolute pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
4/16/19
Book Trailer
4/16/19
Notable Quotable
4/17/19
Excerpt
4/17/19
Excerpt
4/18/19
Review
4/19/19
Review
4/20/19
Scrapbook Page
4/20/19
Character Interview
4/21/19
Review
4/22/19
Author Interview
4/22/19
Series Spotlight
4/23/19
Review
4/24/19
Promo
4/25/19
Review
4/25/19
Review


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