Review and Giveaway for Shine the Light

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About the Book

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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?

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS (1)

As I began reading this book my heart began breaking for Shannon.  This book touches on a lot of hard issues including abuse, abandonment, homelessness and more.  Though the book is set in the present, because of PTSD, Amber constantly gets thrown back in time to some horrible situations. Amber is her one friend who has been with her through it all, but even she is not aware of everything that has happened to Shannon.  Justin is the man who wants to love Shannon if only she can let him into her heart to stay.  Daniel, her father who lost custody of her, shows up and brings back a tremendous amount of memories.  Daniel’s return coupled with Amber’s engagement and possible move cause Shannon’s PTSD to flare up.

I wanted Shannon to reconcile with her past, reconcile with her father Daniel, and make a future.  The characters were realistic and the storyline was believable.  The book was well=written, even though it was tough to read at some points.  I love how God is mentioned throughout the book.

So if you want to read a book that will make you think, make you potentially cry and make you think about God, check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

April MsGowen

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!

Blog Stops

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

Giveaway

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 the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e21c/shine-the-light-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

Review of Pathway to Liberty’s The Middle Ages Levels 3 and 4

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If you are looking for a history curriculum with a Biblical worldview then let me introduce you to the Pathway to Liberty’s  The Middle Ages, part of the Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum, from Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum.  This curriculum has 4 time periods and 4 levels for each period. I am always on the lookout for new materials for our family to use for history that do not rely on a dry, boring textbook.  I want history to come alive for our children.  Also, I want their knowledge of history to include the true beliefs and ideas of our founding fathers.

For this review, I wanted our 16-year-old daughter and our 18-year-old son to be able to do history together and at a level, I felt they would be comfortable with the work.  So we selected The Middle Ages and Levels 3 and 4.  Because I initially planned on my husband and I studying with our children, we ordered the digital version.  The materials come either in digital format (able to be used by multiple family members or physical materials to be used by one student.  For this review, we received the Teacher’s Guides for Levels 3 and 4, the Student Guides for Levels 3 and 4 along with The Chain of Liberty and The Chain of Liberty Study Guide.

Pathway to Liberty is the creation of Jayme Maccullough and it has levels for students of all ages.  This comprehensive, principle-based history curriculum offers a lot of material. Jayme MacCullough is a speaker, writer, Bible Study leader, and more.

Their website states, “Through education, we can change tomorrow.”.  The curriculum includes four years of materials and each year has four levels plus a teacher guide.   The four years of materials are:

  • Year 1 – Universal History
  • Year 2 – The Middle Ages
  • Year 3 -U.S. History
  • Year 4 – Worl History

And the four levels are:

  • Level 1 – K5 – 3rd grade
  • Level 2 – 4th – 6th grade
  • Level 3 – 7th – 9th grade
  • Level 4 – 10th – 12th grade.

Students are expected to do readings, watch videos, answer questions and more through over 26 weeks for each year.  Four lessons of history are to be completed each week.  The lessons will take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes to complete.  How the lessons are completed can be customized to each family’s needs.  Students have the option to break the daily lessons down into smaller parts.  I have to say I wish this curriculum had been around when we first started homeschooling.  I love the idea of all 4 of our children working on the same material at the same time but at their own level.

For The Middle Ages, students begin with the Roman Republic and the Heroic Age of the Church and conclude with the Age of Exploration.

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For Levels 3 and 4, you need the Student Guide, the Teacher Guide, Chain of Liberty (book and study guide), along with some additional books, Internet access to watch the videos on YouTube, and a dictionary at the minimum.  Other books will be required as the course progresses.  If you decided to get the downloadable version, obviously a very good printer will also be necessary.

The Chain of Liberty and the accompanying study guide begin by taking a broad approach to exploring the pathway of liberty using past events.  In the next section, readers learn about Liberty from ancient to modern times including the ideologies of various types of governments along with the influence of the early church and the Reformation through the founding, exploration, through the eventual erosion of the American government.  The Study guide is the perfect accompaniment to the book providing students with opportunities to take what they are learning and make it their own.

 

The Teacher’s Guide provides information directly for the teacher.  It includes all four levels along with the requirements for each lesson.  The answers for many of the questions are supplied in the Guide as well.  It includes helpful directions and more.

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The Student Guides are designed for the students.  This is where they find their schedule for daily work, helpful information, reading assignments, questions to answer and more.  We loved how the digital version allowed us the option to print out the materials and place them in a notebook that our word studies and other papers could be added to as we completed them.  However, I found it easier to put The Chain of Liberty on my tablet to where we could take it and read wherever we went.

Our family enjoyed the reading assignments and doing the word studies.  When comparing the question from Levels 3 and 4, I could not find any real differences.  However, I obviously would have different expectations for my child doing Level 3 versus my child doing Level 4, especially when completing the Word Studies.  Here are some pages of the Student Guide along with some completed work.

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For the Word Studies, students need a Study Bible, a dictionary (our family has the Noah Webster 1828 dictionary), and a Word Study model.  One is provided in the Teacher’s Manual.  Our family found the instructions for the Word Study to be very useful and the video on the YouTube channel provides excellent instructions along with an example to help demonstrate the proper process for doing the Word Studies.

You can find Pathway to Liberty on social media at the following locations:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PathwaytoLiberty/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pathway2Liberty
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pathwaytoliberty/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClVQD1kM1KnthMBWFTQ_AbQ/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pathwaytoliberty/

Our family loved the way this curriculum challenged us to think and expand our knowledge.  If you are looking for a history curriculum with a Biblical worldview then let me introduce you to the Pathway to Liberty’s  The Middle Ages, part of the Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum, from Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum.  I promise it will be worth your time.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing other years and other levels of this curriculum this week.  So click here or on the graphic below to read some of these other reviews.