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Friday, May 17, 2019

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About the Book

Shine the LightShannon 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 MsGowenApril 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!


I wish I could say that this story didn't affect me but it took an emotional toll on me. The author hits hard with very sensitive subject matter and I appreciate the honest and open approach she took. Being homeless, dealing with mental illness,  abuse, living in foster care, or becoming a drug addict all are things people try not to talk about.  In this book we read Shannon's story with realism and pain. I instantly took to Shannon and could feel the hurt of a little girl who wanted to be loved by someone. 

I like how the author goes back and forth telling her story by memories or flash backs she starts having. PTSD is hard to live with and you never know what may trigger an episode. I know this first hand because I have PTSD.  Shannon is  one not  to trust many people and the circle of friends she does have are starting to become concerned for her. It was hard to read how Shannon had to find ways to feed herself as a child when her parents had checked out on her.  I am impressed with the strength she has and the ability to care for others.

I don't want to give anything away from the story because it is one that will stay with you forever. The turmoil Shannon faces as she comes face to face with her past will test her faith. Will she be able to forgive the person who abandoned her? The author does an incredible job of highlighting mental illness in a way that takes away the stigma of it. People who deal with mental illness are sometimes treated poorly and this book opens readers eyes to how devastating it can be for families and the person who suffers from it

Shannon's friends' Justin and Amber are very vital to the story. They care deeply for Shannon and I loved their loyalty to her. It's not everyday you can find people who are always there for you. With all that Shannon has had to deal with, she still reaches out to the homeless. I think with her knowing what it is like to be homeless, her empathy for them is genuine .

Justin reminds me of my husband in so many ways. They both are strong, have integrity and love unconditionally. God knows just what we need and always places the right people in our lives to help us. When Shannon said she was damaged goods, I knew exactly how she felt. This book has been hard to read but I am thankful for an author who will tackle the hard subjects and bring the truth to the surface. 

"I think if we give over the hard things to God, He can use it to shape us, and then we can help other people."

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Simple Harvest Reads, May 6 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Mary Hake, May 10
Carpe Diem, May 15


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.

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