Monday, September 16, 2013

Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry: Tyndale Blogtour and Book Review

 Every Waking Moment
Chris Fabry
Treha Langsam is a mysterious young woman who has fallen through the cracks, much like many of the elderly people she works with at Desert Gardens Retirement Home. But Miriam Howard, director of the facility, sees her extraordinary gift and untapped potential. Treha is a whisperer of sorts, calling those who have slipped into dementia back to a life of vibrant, if only temporary, clarity.When Treha's and Miriam's stories intertwine with a documentary team looking for stories of the elderly, Treha's gift is uncovered, and the search begins for answers to the mysteries of her past. As their paths converge, each person is forced to face the same difficult question: "What if this is as good as my life gets?"
 A slow-moving, heart-engaging read by Chris Fabry. Treha’s story is so eloquently intertwined with those at Desert Gardens. The back and forth from the resident’s past to Treha’s present is wonderfully done. As a reader who usually likes books to move along quickly I struggled with the pace of the book from the start. But, a little patience paid off as the last two thirds of the story moves at the perfect cadence: revealing more and more of Treha’s past and bridging the gap from beginning to end. I very much enjoyed Treha and her patient gift for pulling people from the haze and darkness even while lost in her own. As sunlight scorches the mist for her past, though, the reader is easily caught up in her search for the truth. And, as her struggle is revealed evermore, found cheering her on to the finish. A sweet story that reminds each of us that the extraordinary is found in carrying out the ordinary of everyday.

Want to know more about the Author, check our Chris Fabry’s interview below!

1. What was your inspiration for this book, Every Waking Moment?

The question at the center of this story is “If this is as good as it gets, am I okay with

life?” I find this is a universal question that hits at the heart of our outlook on life and

our belief in God. The other question it raises is this: If you could bring someone back from dementia or Alzheimer’s and have a conversation, what would you ask? What

would you say to that person?

2. Tell me about your main character Treha Langsam. Was this character based upon anyone in particular?

She was loosely based on my own children and what they’ve gone through the past five

years. This is probably my most personal story to date. We were exposed to toxic mold.

Most people think you can only get a rash or have respiratory damage, but it can attack

the brain. Treha’s symptoms are similar to what I’ve seen in them and others who have

been exposed.

3. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?

I love the fact that God doesn’t look at the exterior; he looks at the heart. As humans, we have a tendency to judge on first impressions, but we miss so much by doing that. Those who are disabled, those who have some kind of struggle in life, those who are

older—all are lumped into a category, and this is such a disservice to them and us.

4. How do you expect Treha’s story to resonate with your readers?

I think everyone feels a bit like Treha. She is the little engine that could, even if she isn’t

given a chance. And it only takes one person giving someone else a chance. I’m hoping

readers will give someone a chance—or maybe let someone else give them a chance.

5. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?

I loved getting to know Treha better because she’s so mysterious to everyone around her. She’s also a bit scary. To crawl into her skin and walk around and see what she sees is a heartbreaking, life-affirming journey. I also liked the discovery that came with other

characters who encounter Treha and see how she changes their lives.

6. What is your hope for this story? How would you like it to impact readers?

My hope is that this force of nature, Treha, would empower readers to believe the truth

about themselves and others. In Christ, you are stronger than you think you are. With God, you can do anything he calls you to do.

7. How has this novel helped you to grow as a storyteller?

Trying to tell a complex story in a simple way is always difficult, and people’s lives are

hugely complex. Trying to uncover the truth about Treha—why she is the way she is and

where she might be able to go from here—helped me as a human being as well as a writer.

8. Your novels typically touch on a relevant and current topic in our culture. What topic

s do you weave into this novel? One thread running deeply through this story is the reliance we have on drugs. It’s much easier to take a pill than to make a lifestyle change. And this is affecting individuals, families, and our culture. It also means a great deal of money to institutions, so in tackling this, I know I’m not going to make friends in the pharmaceutical industry. I’m grateful for drugs—my son wouldn’t be alive today without insulin. But every positive thing can have a negative side as well.

9. What big questions will this novel get your reader thinking about?

What is your backstory? What is the worth of an individual? Old, young, disabled,

unsuccessful... several characters are faced with questions of their own worth as well

as how they treat others. I’ve always heard that your faith is tested by how you treat

someone who can’t do anything for you. This story will get you thinking about some of those deep issues of the heart.

10. How do you manage your time with such a full life, including a writing career, a radio

career, and a large family?

Everyone has the same amount of time each day. We simply make choices about what

we invest in. Hence, I spend less time watching television than I used to. That’s a huge

timewaster. I get up earlier and go to bed earlier. And when you begin your day centered

on God’s Word and ask him what your priorities should be, things generally fall into place. I haven’t arrived at that balance, but I’m struggling as well as I can.

***With thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate: A Book Review

This new book just hit the shelves a couple days ago... check out my review below. And, if Lisa Wingate's style strikes your fancy, check out Firefly Island, too!

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingtate

When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola's rambling Victorian house.Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola's walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola's youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper--the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.

The Prayer Box is a wonderfully crafted novel that touches on the hurts and humors of the heart and the joy of the journey of life.
Tandi has got to be one of my favorite characters in a long time. Her flaws drew my heart to hers and her successes made me smile. As she travels through Iola’s life via her prayer boxes, Tandi begins to see Iola for who she really was – who the Lord molded her in to being. And yet, as she finds Iola’s identity, her own is what is truly revealed.
Lisa Wingate definitely has a way with words and the words penned by Iola, filled with such wisdom, were what made this book great. Tiny snippets of insight from a love-giving life propelled the story with a sentimental and encouraging tone that was hard to put down.
And the final pages – what a beautiful ending to Tandi’s long journey – but I won’t give it away… you’ll just have to find out for yourself!

Get a sneak peak of the first chapter {here}
Buy it {here}
***With special thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with an advanced copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. And, to Radiant Lit who made it possible!

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