Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review + GIVEAWAY: When Grace Sings


When Grace Sings
By Kim Vogel Sawyer
The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy, #2
WaterBrook Press, 2015


Summary

When trouble roars into quiet Arborville, Alexa and Anna-Grace find themselves the target for discord and exposed secrets. Can they continue to seek the God of all grace amidst the fog of confusion?

Alexa Zimmerman wonders if the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas will ever fully accept her. Her family roots here aren't what anyone thought when she first arrived, but she is hopeful that her culinary and hospitality skills will win the skeptics over. The bed-and-breakfast she's operating needs to succeed so Alexa agrees to allow Briley Forrester, the hotshot reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder not knowing his real motives for being amongst the Plain folk.

But when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna-Grace Braun, the presence of extended family brings out Alexa's insecurities and sets Briley on the trail to uncovering a web of hidden truths.

Plans for a secure future and the sweetness of young romance hang in the balance when Alexa and Anna-Grace have to face that their secrets are interconnected, binding the two in ways they could not have imagined. They must trust in a loving, heavenly Father and His plan for their futures.


My thoughts

When Grace Sings is simply a beautiful, moving and poignant story. I'm the perfect audience for character-driven stories, which is something Kim Vogel Sawyer does extremely well. But even more than the rich characterization, she builds emotion into fascinating storylines and never fails to clearly present the gospel message in a way that flows naturally with the story.

Set in an Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas, When Grace Sings is book #2 in The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy. I regret that I haven't had time to read the previous book, When Mercy Rains, but Kim did such a good job at covering the past that I had no problem reading this book as a standalone. As with any series, however, I recommend reading the stories in order. I also need to mention that, although the ending is satisfying, not everything is wrapped up and there's much more to anticipate.

While this narrative flows easily from four different character perspectives, it's really a complex story because of all the relational and life issues brought in - teen pregnancy, adoption, family secrets, guilt, acceptance, following God's will. I loved and could easily relate to all the characters, but it's usually the most flawed character who draws me the most - and that would be the cocky and flirtatious Briley Forrester, a Chicago tabloid reporter who seeks to show that all is not peace and harmony within the Amish/Mennonite community, making a name for himself in the process. And then there's Steven, the "good" son who struggles with following the path his father has chosen for him. The two girls, Alexa and Anna-Grace, simply pull at the heartstrings.

Something I especially enjoyed is the spiritual message that Kim so flawlessly weaves into the narrative. The title, When Grace Sings, is beautiful in itself, but the meaning behind it is even more so - the idea of grace, so freely given, combining with Zephaniah 3:17's picture of God rejoicing over us with singing.

This story concludes with several characters still dealing with the effects of long-held secrets. We all know that it's only when they are brought into the light that secrets lose their power, so there is much to anticipate in the next story. I'll end with the thoughts Kim shared in a Litfuse interview when asked what she hoped readers would take away from this story, for she captures the essence of When Grace Sings so beautifully: 

"God gives second chances. We as humans make our mistakes, we flounder and err and build walls that seem insurmountable. But when we confess our wrongdoings and ask God to redeem us, He brings restoration. It’s NEVER too late for a second chance."

I rate books according to how they affect me, so . . . 5 stars for When Grace Sings. Highly recommended.


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Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of twenty-nine novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Connect with Kim online at kimvogelsawyer.com, Facebook, and Twitter.


Litfuse Landing Page:

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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GIVEAWAY

To enter the drawing for When Grace Sings. . . 

1) If you're on Facebook, please go here and share about this giveaway 
2) Answer the following question:


Have you ever been on either the giving or receiving end
of second chances?

If you'd like to receive e-mail notifications of reviews, author interviews and giveaways, please subscribe to my blog in the upper right corner. "Likes" on my Facebook page, ThePowerofWordsBookReviews, are also greatly appreciated, as are followers on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and this blog.

BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Thursday, May 28. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.

Eligibility: US residents

26 comments:

  1. I think everyone has experienced the gift of a second chance at least once in their life. For me, that second chance came through my horses. When I mess up, got angry or simply did the wrong thing, they never fail to forgive and forget. Its a beautiful reminder of how our Lord gives us a second chance, no matter how badly we mess up.
    info at heritageliterature dot com

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    1. That's a wonderful example, Lauren. I also think you're right about us having received second chances, and hopefully we are gracious enough to extend them in return. Thank you so much for sharing, and good luck in the drawing.

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  2. God gives me second chances every day. Praise God! Imagine if we had to be perfect constantly? His grace ad mercy are so amazing!!!

    kathrynlvoss(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. You said it well, Kate. Thank you for sharing, and best wishes in the drawing.

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  3. Every time we make a mistake and learn from that mistake that is our second chance. Taking that second chance and not making that same mistake is a great gift. We need to take such a gift and hare our mistakes with other so they learn not to do the same in life. We should not be ashamed of making mistakes but ashamed of not learning from them and sharing them. Thanks Sarah Harper email:chriss1234us@yahoo.com

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    1. "We should not be ashamed of making mistakes but ashamed of not learning from them and sharing them." . . . As my pastor loves to say, "That will preach!" Thank you for your interest in Kim's book, Sarah, and also for sharing.

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  4. Hi Carole. Our best second chances come from GOD. Each new day HE gives us is a second chance to learn from any wrongs we may have done and do better. And, how many times did our precious parents give us second chances? One that was really good was at the end of my 10th grade school year, I was in the hospital for a week during final exams. When I got out my teachers gave me time to study and then take my exams. And, I passed all with top scores. Only had one teacher who was not good at second chances. It was my Home Economics teacher. I needed to hem a dress I had made and couldn't finish for being in the hospital, so she gave me the only bad grade I ever remember getting. She said she would if we didn't finish, and would not budge even tho I was in a hospital. I would sure love to win Kim's book. Thanks, Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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  5. Carole, I shared this contest on my Facebook page. Maxie >mac262@me.com <

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  6. In November I found out i had bladder cancer. With the help of the doctor's and follow I have had a second chance. I am clean now.

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    1. What a praise, Lana! I would imagine the phrase "second chance" has special meaning for you. Thank you for sharing. And don't forget to leave your e-mail address for the drawing.

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  7. I Carole, I shared this to my Facebook page as requested.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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  8. Oh!!! Really hope I win! Thanks!
    ~Charis

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    1. Thank you for dropping by, Charis, but please share on Facebook and answer the question to enter the drawing. And don't forget to leave your e-mail. Thanks!

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  9. Of course. By humans....and by God daily.

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    1. I'm glad you stopped by, Loretta. Don't forget to leave your e-mail for the drawing.

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  10. I follow your blog and also shared this on facebook.
    As a child of God I am given a second chance every day when he forgives my sins. None of us are perfect or expected to be perfect. It's so wonderful to now we have have a great God that forgives us and that we have our sins washed away. I love God and couldn't get through my day without him.
    I have read the first book in the series and would really love to be able to read this book now. I have been looking forward to it's release. Thank you for the opportunity. Deanne Cnnamongirl(at)aol(dot)com

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  11. I give to the local animal shelter when I can. When they post on Facebook what that are in need of I go out buy it drop it off and then get a thank you letter for the chief of police here who is in charge of writing the thank you letters. Make me feel good I am helping the animals in the kennels. kamundsen44@yahoo.com Kim

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  12. I'm posting for Jayne, who left a message on Facebook:

    I think we have all experiences second chances, sometimes in the small ways. Daily with our children and large life changing adult experiences. I would love to read this book.
    jayne6379@yahoo.com

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  13. God has given me three second chances for an earthly life. The surgeon made a terrible mistake during my cancer surgery and I ended up only having 15 minutes to live and another surgeon saved my life. My husband also helped push my bed down to the OR asap. I ended up in a coma for 2 days. The other 2 times I had massive infections and had to have surgery. They told us I would have died in another 24 hours each time.
    God is so good.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
    Maryann

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  14. The Good Lord has given me more than second chances and I am so thankful.

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  15. I've given a second chance (a couple of times) to my late husband. It was after praying and knowing that it was the "right" thing to do. I loved him unconditionally like my heavenly father loved me. I have no regrets for giving him a 2nd chance.
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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  16. I'm thankful for second chances! Mine maybe a little different than some. After 13 years of marriage I left my husband and divorced him, thinking there was greener fields. At the time I had two boys ages 12 and 9. Even though we were divorced my husband prayed I would come back. Yes I got a second chance when I truely understood forgiveness and unconditional love. We remarried and God restored our marriage and gave me a second chance. A year after remarrying we were blessed with another child. We call him out restoration baby. Our boys are 31, 28 and 16 now. I am so thankful for second chances from my awesome husband and God who always give us second and third etc chances.
    My email is jhdwayne(at) peoplepc(dot)com

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  17. I just love the title of this book, and your review really makes me want to read it! Thanks for joining us at Booknificent Thursdays this week! Always great to have you!
    Tina

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  18. I've had many second chances but I guess the biggest one is when I was diagnosed with breast cancer 8 yrs. ago. It is gone & with every mammogram I've had there is no more. then last November my husband was diagnosed with vocal chord cancer. He had it removed & had Radiation & it is completely gone.

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  19. my email address is cozycorner71@gmail.com. i am sharing on Facebook

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  20. Yes, I think I have had many 2nd chances in life. I am grateful to a Savior that allows them for me through his atonement. sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

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