March 17, 2019

Vivir el Dream blog tour + giveaway

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About the Book


Vivir kindle cover
Book: Vivir el Dream
Author: Allison K Garcia  
Genre: Christian Latino Fiction  
Release Date: May 19, 2017

The fates of an undocumented college student and her mother intertwine with a suicidal businessman’s. As circumstances worsen, will their faith carry them through or will their fears drag them down?
Linda Palacios crossed the border at age three with her mother, Juanita, to escape their traumatic life in Mexico and to pursue the American dream. Years later, Linda nears college graduation. With little hope for the future as an undocumented immigrant, Linda wonders where her life is going.
Tim Draker, a long-unemployed businessman, has wondered the same thing. Overcome with despair, he decides to take his own life. Before he can carry out his plan, he changes course when he finds a job as a mechanic. Embarrassed about working at a garage in the barrio, he lies to his wife in hopes of finding something better.
After Juanita’s coworker gets deported, she takes in her friend’s son, Hector, whom her daughter Linda can’t stand, While Juanita deals with nightmares of her traumatic past, she loses her job and decides to go into business for herself.
Will the three of them allow God to guide them through the challenges to come, or will they let their own desires and goals get in the way of His path?

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Allison Garcia

Allison K. Garcia is a Licensed Professional Counselor, but she has wanted to be a writer ever since she could hold a pencil. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Shenandoah Valley Writers, Virginia Writers Club, and is Municipal Liaison for Shenandoah Valley NaNoWriMo. Allison’s short story, “At Heart,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of From the Depths literary magazine, along with her flash fiction. Her work, “You Shall Receive,” was published in GrayHaven Comics’s 2014 All Women’s anthology. Winning an honorary mention in the ACFW Virginia 2015 short story contest, “Just Another Navidad” was published in A bit of Christmas. Allison’s book, Vivir el Dream, published May 2017, has won several prestigious awards: 2016 ACFW Genesis Contest Finalist, 2018 Eric J. Hoffer Montaigne Medal Finalist, Honorary Mention in the 2018 Eric. J. Hoffer Awards E-book category, and 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards Finalist in the Christian/Relgious Fiction category. Her highly-anticipated novel, Finding Amor, was released in September 2018. Latina at heart, Allison has been featured in local newspapers for her connections in the Latino community in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A member of cultural competency committees for work and a participant in several pro-immigrant rallies and other events in her region, she also sings on the worship team and enjoys get-togethers with the hermanos in her church. With the help of her husband, Julio, and their son, Miguel, she has been able to nurture her love for the Latino people.

More from Allison K. Garcia

Authenticity and Love

When I wrote my debut novel Vivir el Dream in 2012, I never imagined that it was going to win five awards, that I would be invited to churches and universities and NPR to speak about it, or that it would be taught on a college campus. That’s not why I wrote it. Sure, I hoped that people would read it and love it, but I never imagined the impact it would have and the book’s relevance seven years later. There were two main reasons I wrote Vivir el Dream: authenticity and love. They go hand-in-hand, but I shall tell you a little about how God sparked the story in my heart. In 2011, we had three church members deported, and one of them was a dear friend—a good man who loves his family, greeted the congregation at the door, helped take the collection every Sunday and set up the tables and chairs for special programs. To see our friend, and hermano en Cristo, treated in a way that traumatized his children and nearly tore apart up his family, was something that broke my heart. But what broke it worse was seeing how the media spoke about undocumented people and sadder yet, having conversations with other Christians who spoke anger and hatred towards “illegals.” God spoke to my heart about this. How could my brothers and sisters in Christ be so unkind and uncaring? Hadn’t they read The Good Samaritan? Didn’t they remember about loving our neighbors? It happened again and again, and I realized, with God’s help, that one of the challenges was that people didn’t understand the real story. They were fed a certain stereotype by the media, an image of a tattooed person in a gang or a drug dealer. They hadn’t actually met anyone undocumented. Or at least they hadn’t realized they had. In my life and in my job as a counselor, I had met tons of undocumented immigrants, and I had known them the great majority to be kind, hard-working people who wanted the best for their family and were willing to risk it all for the chance at the American dream. I saw love, I saw bravery, I saw strength, I saw faith. And I believe that God showed me those things so that I could reflect that in my novels. A wonderful thing happens when we’re reading a book. We jump into the shoes of the main character. We understand their plight. Their hopes are our hopes. We feel their story, their dreams, their love, their anguish, their joy. That is one of the great things about reading. We escape our own lives for a while and experience a new adventure, gain a new understanding. We go places and meet people and do things we would never be able to in our own lives. So that is what God placed on my heart to share with the world: an authentic experience of a mother and daughter who are undocumented Christians. It’s controversial, but then so was the Gospel. What is more controversial than Jesus’ teachings? To love those who hate us. To turn the other cheek. To give away all possessions to join Him. I mean, what is more controversial than being asked to believe that a man born over 2,000 years was the Son of God and was risen from the dead after three days and that giving one’s heart over to Him will save one’s soul so as to live for all of eternity with God in Heaven? And yet, that is the very heart of the Gospel. To love God and to love others. So, in the spirit of loving God and listening to Him, I wrote Vivir el Dream and published it even when the world pushed against it and continues to do so, perhaps more now than in 2012. All the more reason to love our neighbor more and to hold tighter onto God and His teachings. I hope you enjoy my book. I hope it takes you on a new, heartwrenching adventure that carries you from the anguish in crossing a desert with your three-year-old daughter on your hip to the freedom in cooking tamales in the kitchen while swaying to cumbia, from the stabbing fear of living in a country that doesn’t want you to experiencing the joy of first love, and from the desperation of staring down an empty barrel to the understanding of truth for your fellow man. God bless. And happy reading.

My Review

This is yet another very relevant book from Garcia. She tackles the issues of immigrants working, violence, deportation, and even language in a way that makes it relatable to anyone. This isn't an easy book to read because she doesn't gloss over the hard parts of life - but it is a small peek into how immigrants live. The daily fear they endure is unimaginable.

This book had some twists I wasn't expecting. I'm still processing how some of them made me feel, but in the end most of the book made me really value relationships. I loved how the families banded together in this book and supported each other. At first I really couldn't stand Hector, but I had to remind myself how much he'd been through and that sometimes kids act out when they really need love and support the most. In the end, he was my absolute favorite character and I really wanted an epilogue to find out how his future came out!

There are a lot of things to love in this book, but the way it educates people as they read is probably one of it's best qualities. So often you hear of undocumented immigrants being referred to as "illegals" and people don't bother to think about how derogatory that is. I was glad that was addressed a few times in this book. Another part that was handled well was addressing how many people refer to all Latinos as "Mexicans" when, in reality, many of them are not from Mexico but from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, or one of the many South American countries.

If you are a Christian trying to figure out how to come to terms with some of your feelings about immigrants and immigration in general I hope you can read this book to learn more about their plight.

I received a copy of this book from the author. This is my honest opinion.

 Blog Stops

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a gift basket that includes 4 Christian novels, secret recipes for some of the Mexican cuisine described in Vivir el Dream, and authentic arts and crafts from Guadalajara, Mexico or by preference, a $40 Amazon gift card!!
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/dd7f/viver-el-dream-celebration-tour-giveaway

March 2, 2019

Review: Far Side of the Sea

Far Side of the Sea Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was the perfect combination of history, romance, and mystery. It didn't take me many pages into this book before I realized that I wasn't going to figure out any of the story before Breslin wanted me to. In fact, almost every bit of the second half of the book kept me guessing and some parts left me completely surprised.

One of the things I love most about Breslin's books is her attention to historical detail and accuracy. Her research into carrier pigeons was not only flawless, but it was also very interesting and gave the story a great angle. I also love her use of native languages in this book. Not many authors would have gone to the lengths of using Catalan instead of Spanish in their book, but Breslin did when it was necessary.

I really loved everything about this book, but I have to admit I loved Mabry the most. His character was such a gentleman and always did what was right. I loved his integrity. I really appreciated his flaws too. I won't give anything away, but Breslin's depictions of him were so realistic both physically and emotionally. I cannot imagine surviving the parts of war that he lived through.

I also deeply appreciated the spiritual thread in this book. Some authors are starting to leave this part out in order to reach a broader audience and I'm glad that Breslin still includes it. I loved how seamlessly the message of faith and salvation were woven into conversations in this book. I also loved how prayer was never a thing to be taken lightly, but instead the main focus.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. This is my honest opinion.

View all my reviews

February 26, 2019

Review: The Sky Above Us

The Sky Above Us The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My favorite time period in history to study or read novels based during has always been WWII and especially the time surrounding D-Day, so this was a perfect read for me.

It has been really neat to get to know these brothers in this series. I love how Sundin decided to have each brother in a different branch of service and I especially enjoyed the research she put into pilots for this book. I could almost smell the fuel and hear the engines throughout this book. The red cross members in this book also made great characters. It was neat to put yourself in their shoes and I was quite impressed with Violet because she had a lot of opinions throughout the book, but she was able to let God teach her many lessons in spite of her own thoughts.

Adler was such a great hero. I loved how realistically flawed he was, but I especially loved the tremendous growth he saw in the book. I think that his professional AND spiritual growth added a dimension to this book that made it hard to put down. At times I was annoyed by Violet, but she also underwent some changes and ended up growing a lot too. I really enjoyed watching the relationship evolve.

Between the WWII setting and the amazing characters, this is one of the best books I've read this year.

I received an advanced copy through the publisher. This is my honest review.

View all my reviews