Welcome to my stop on the book tour and giveaway for April McGowan’s book “Shine the Light.” Please read about the book, my thoughts, the author, her thoughts, where you can find the other stops, and the generous giveaway. Don’t forget to sign up to win!
This contemporary 300 page novel is not a light read. There are deep issues of helping others, faith, family, and sickness discussed. This is a thought provoking book that I had to read a little at a time and then ponder. It made me emotional and sad in a lot of places.
It is the first book I have read by author McGowan and I had a little trouble following it. It didn’t flow as smoothly as most books that I’ve read. It is Book two in a series which might cause the problem for me.
For this Grandmother the character we’re too eccentric with their brightly colored hair, Mohawk cut, tattoos, and piercings. Even some of the conversation sounded off to me. The characters were vividly described.
The author tackled tough, present day issues in her Christian novel. This is a well organized and researched book. The storyline has parenting issues, mental illness, homelessness, PTSD, and facing trials in life. Like I said earlier, this is not a light read.
The people, how they lived, and all of the tough issues all stayed with me. It made me see how much help certain people need and how blessed others are. At the end notes the author states that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders in their lifetime. That is a staggering number.
Inspirational messages are included with the rough issues. Letting the Holy Spirit work in your life, trusting in God, and having faith are mentioned as crucial. It is refreshing to have Christian messages in a book filled with so many problems.
I would recommend this book to a younger age group than mine, although the book has made an impact and stuck with me. It needs to be read in a group so it may be discussed. I would recommend reading Book One first.
It received a 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but I was under no obligation to write a review.
About the Book
Shannon is out to save the world one caring act at a time. She’s stood by her best friend, Amber, through their whole lives especially when Amber lost her sight. She has an active outreach ministry to the homeless and disenfranchised. And she’s even let down her guard long enough to let a boyfriend, Justin, into her life.
Her life has settled into a pleasing routine of teaching, freelance photography work, quiet dinners with Justin, and taking Amber on treks to find new subjects for her visionary paintings. But when a man from her past shows up, her secure world crumbles into triggered PTSD episodes that threaten everything she relies on. Will she be able to overcome these old memories, or will her past crush any hopes she had for a future?
About the Author
April McGowan loves to read and write inspirational fiction. She and her husband, two children, and her ‘mews’ (three cats!), live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is a member of Oregon Christian Writers, the Christian Author’s Network, and American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, homeschooling her son, or playing board games, you might find her at her drum kit, imagining she’s on a world tour. Hey, it could happen.
More from April
Writing About Tough Subjects—with Hope
I began writing over twenty years ago. And technically I wrote long before that as well. But those pieces were ‘just for fun.’ However, as I look back on my short stories, blog posts, and now my published work, there’s a definite theme: overcoming. Overcoming childhood abuse, overcoming an abusive marriage, overcoming loss—physical and emotional. And those overcoming stories were not about overcoming through our own strength, which is so often flawed and lacking, but by relying on the One who can heal us from every wrong, every hurt, and every loss.
After my first novel, Jasmine, I asked my readers what they’d like me to focus on in my next books—what subjects were overlooked in fiction today? The overwhelming consensus was adoption, loss, and mental illness.
As a contemporary fiction author, I stay current on social issues, so that wasn’t a huge jump for me. My readers saw a gap, and I did, too.
Not that it’s wrong to simply read for entertainment—shoot, I do! But I’ve always loved gripping stories with people I could identify with who were overcoming obstacles I’d faced, or watched a loved one face—stories that offer real hope in the face of tragedy.
So began my journey. In book one of this series, Hold the Light, I wrote about sight loss and adoption. I wrote about best friends who were solidly there for each other in the face of great hardship and pain. And in book two, Shine the Light, I’m doing the same—with a twist.
There’s a lack of representation and writing concerning mental illness and how it affects the sufferer and those around them. There is a stigma that is significantly changing, but it’s something we’re still hesitant to discuss. Myself and many I know are deeply touched by this issue, and I think we’re long past due letting those that suffer from mental illness and their families know that they are not alone. Or if they are, that they don’t have to be.
Book two, Shine the Light, is about Shannon’s life. Her love for the downtrodden, the lost, and the injured. Her passion for the underdog. How she became the stalwart friend she is to Amber in Hold the Light, the obstacles she’s overcome, and those she has to continue to grapple through with God’s help.
As with all of my books, I’ve vetted this story with people who have faced these situations and am very careful to respect their stories as well as staying true to my characters. I hope you’ll dive in and find Shannon to be a deep and real and identifiable character. I hope you’ll discover in her a friend.
I know you’ll grow to love her as I do.
The giveaway: Many of my books are set in Portland, Oregon, and as a celebration of that, I’m offering a giveaway celebrating two of my favorite things about the city: Powell’s books and super good coffee! Also cats…but I can’t give one of those away in a contest! Well…I could try, but I’d probably fall in love with it and never send it to you…so for now, books and coffee!
Quiet Quilter, May 4
The Power of Words, May 4
Godly Book Reviews, May 5
Simple Harvest Reads, May 6 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Through the Fire Blogs, May 7
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 8
Real World Bible Study, May 9
Retrospective Spines, May 9
For Him and My Family, May 10
Mary Hake, May 10
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 11
janicesbookreviews, May 11
Pause for Tales, May 12
A Reader’s Brain, May 12
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 13
The Christian Fiction Girl, May 14
Carpe Diem, May 15
Inklings and notions, May 15
Inspired by Fiction, May 16
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 17
Texas Book-aholic, May 17
To celebrate her tour, April is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Powell’s gift card, a Powell’s coffee mug, and Stumptown coffee!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e21c/shine-the-light-celebration-tour-giveaway