Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Amy Grant's "Tennessee Christmas" CD: review and GIVEAWAY!

Get cozy by the Christmas tree and pop in Amy Grant's newest CD, Tennessee Christmas, and you'll no doubt feel all the warmth of the season. The soft tones of Grant's voice coupled with a soothing instrumental accompaniment, and even one song that highlights the more raucous side of the holidays, make this the perfect addition to your Christmas music collection. The title song, Tennessee Christmas, welcomes listeners into the home of Grant and her family. In fact, inside the cover she shares that the music was actually recorded at her home. There are thirteen songs, half of which are new tracks and the rest are traditional Christmas songs you'll recognize. She's added a few personal reflections and background vocals with family and friends. In her words, "Nostalgic...warm...hopeful...loved...not alone...These are the things I hope you feel as you listen to this record." These are definitely the things I felt with several of the songs on this album. Here is one of my personal favorites:

I will be giving away one free copy of this CD to one of you!!  Comment on this post with a a favorite Christmas memory or tradition to be entered into the drawing I'll have on Monday, Dec. 5th. If you don't win the drawing but would like this CD, go here to pick up your own copy from Itunes.

Connect with Amy!
Amy's team will be putting together a compilation of videos of fans receiving Christmas surprises. If you'd like to post a video on social media, use the hashtag #TNChristmasSurprise. Here's a sample of one family's suprise to their loved one : ). Don't you just love videos like this?!

Looking forward to reading your comments! Merry Christmas!!

*Only for residents of the continental US*

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Reviewer's Bookshelf: The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

Book summary (Amazon): Evangeline is gifted with a heavenly voice, but she is trapped in a sinister betrothal—until she embarks on a daring escape and meets brave Westley le Wyse. Can he help her discover the freedom to sing again?

Desperate to flee a political marriage to her cousin King Richard II’s closest advisor, Lord Shiveley—a man twice her age with shadowy motives—Evangeline runs away and joins a small band of servants journeying back to Glynval, their home village.

Pretending to be mute, she gets to know Westley le Wyse, their handsome young leader, who is intrigued by the beautiful servant girl. But when the truth comes out, it may shatter any hope that love could grow between them.

More than Evangeline’s future is at stake as she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to protect the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?

My thoughts...
I wish I would've had books like Melanie Dickerson's to read when I was a teenager.  Honestly, the selection at the school library had nothing like this. Knowing that this is a Young Adult novel, as I read it I thought of what it would be like for my daughter, but in the process I enjoy it just as much as an adult.  

Melanie combines an interesting setting, medieval England, with adventure, moral dilemma, faith and very clean romance.  The story of Evangeline and Westley is part of a series of fairy tale retellings that have been written with a slight twist. This story is a retelling of The Little Mermaid in the sense that Evangeline pretends not to be able to speak, although she can, and has quite a beautiful singing voice. It is that voice that Westley was drawn to initally, even though he wasn't able to see the face of the girl who was singing. This is just the beginning of their story. As it continues, the characters face various physical and moral dilemmas as they must overcome evil and trust one another. 

I really enjoyed the building of the plot in this novel and how it was not only a romantic story, but one that had depth. Themes like honesty, trust, and faith were prominent in this tale, as well as perseverance. Evangeline had led a pampered life but wasn't whiney when she struggled through doing hard work. This is a great message to a young audience. The pace was steady and was especially exciting as the plot began to build. The main characters were brave, and somewhat stubborn and reckless in one sense, but they worked together to fight the good fight. 

I love Melanie's style of writing and the way she weaves faith and character into these classic fairy tales. Personally, I love these newer versions! I can't wait to share them with my daughter when she gets a little older. As an adult, I enjoy the setting, action, and the interesting plot twists in the story. But most importantly, that it's not our own efforts or "magic" that allows us to persevere, but our faith in God and His power.

**I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in order to give an honest review, which I did.**