Book Review | The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

dream daughter

Book Description

Book Review | The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson

the girl who lived

Book Description: Ten years ago, four people were brutally murdered.

One girl lived.

No one believes her story.
The police think she’s crazy.
Her therapist thinks she’s suicidal.
Everyone else thinks she’s a dangerous drunk.
They’re all right—but did she see the killer?

As the anniversary of the murders approaches, Faith Winters is released from the psychiatric hospital and yanked back to the last spot on earth she wants to be—her hometown where the slayings took place. Wracked by the lingering echoes of survivor’s guilt, Faith spirals into a black hole of alcoholism and wanton self-destruction. Finding no solace at the bottom of a bottle, Faith decides to track down her sister’s killer—and then discovers that she’s the one being hunted.

How can one woman uncover the truth when everyone’s a suspect—including herself?

From the mind of Wall Street Journal bestselling author Christopher Greyson comes a story with twists and turns that take the reader on a journey of light and dark, good and evil, to the edge of madness. The Girl Who Lived should come with a warning label: Once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop. Not since Girl on the Train and Gone Girl has a psychological thriller kept readers so addicted—and guessing right until the last page.

GracieLynn Review:

I have read Christopher Greyson’s books before and I have to say that this book meets my expectations for him.  He’s great at character development; leaving out certain details until just the right time, and slowly building their profile with consistency.  This book was no different.

Our story started out with the main character, Faith Winters, in a psych ward.  On her birthday, she had witnessed her father, her sister and a friend murdered at her home cabin.  And not being able to cope with that at such a young age, she ended up needing mental health care.  Her hometown seems to think she should still be there.  With a personal alcohol addiction as her coping mechanism, a mother who used her story of being a witness as a catalyst for her writing career and lack of trust from those who know her best, Faith doesn’t have much to look forward to upon her release.  But she gets released and begins her new life on the outside.  Her goal to find the murderer (and prove that her father didn’t commit murder/suicide) is still number one in her mind, and she will go to whatever lengths necessary to find him.

As the story is told from her point of view, we get a look into Faith’s past.  She has an ax to grind and a negative attitude toward pretty much everyone she meets.  She comes across thoroughly as a jaded young woman, and I understood her snide comments, but over time as a reader, I was getting annoyed.

A few times in the story, she swears she sees the person who killed her father, but no one seems to be taking her seriously.  And I began to feel sorry for her, because as someone who has struggled with alcohol in the past, I realize the loss of trust people have in you, and how you just want to be taken seriously, especially when you’re in the right.  As the story progresses, you begin to wonder about the people in her life: the counselor, her sponsor, her “friends” at meetings, etc.  Almost everyone seems to be involved in some way, and she begins to question herself.  For that reason, I loved the suspense in this story, but I’m going to be completely honest: The ending was disappointing.  And because I can’t reveal who it is, I have to admit that I just don’t know if the person responsible would actually be capable of doing it.  I did see some signs throughout the book that made me suspect this person, but when it was actually revealed, I wondered what psychosis one would have to be under to commit such atrocities.

But I love the absolute ending where Faith gets her justice, and is able to move on, to actually LIVE.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley and Greyson Media Associates. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Forgiven: The Amish School Shooting, a Mother’s Love, and a Story of Remarkable Grace by Terri Roberts

forgiven terri roberts

This book was incredible!  I started to read it simply because I teach on the topic and struggle of unforgiveness in our lives.  A video that I show to my students incorporates the “crazy” forgiveness reaction given to a family whose son murdered multiple children at an Amish school in Pennsylvania.  The video has interviews from a pastor in that region, first responders who struggled to understand what happened, and an Amish man who shared that forgiving the family was mandatory in his heart, for himself, but also for the family to heal.  The video’s purpose is to get the person watching it to respond or talk out the reasons they agree/disagree with the reactions of those in the video itself.  I’ve often been intrigued by this story as it is not a common scenario in our culture today, of those who have been wronged.  We see much more and hear more about the injustice, than see the love in peoples’ hearts to forgive.

Reading a first person account from someone whose child murdered other people gave a glimpse into a positive way to move forward from something incredibly tragic.  But not only is the mother’s forgiveness significant in this story, it’s the people who were most affected: the other parents whose children were murdered.

Terri doesn’t just share the events of that day, “The Happening” as the Amish refer to it, she also shares history from their family and some events she pieced together that help her cope with how her son could do something so horrible.  But the other benefit to reading this book is that she doesn’t stay in the anger or bitterness, but gives Scripture and lessons learned along the way to help others (and herself) continue to surrender the hurt to Jesus.

She is very well-spoken, and hides nothing.  It’s a refreshing book on the life of a woman whose life was changed the day her son committed an act of murder, followed by his own suicide.  But her strength, encouragement and hope speaks volumes.  Her story of forgiveness and love amidst tragedy is a story that will stay with me for a very long time.

When anyone hears of the Amish shooting at Nickel Mines, I pray that the thought brings to mind the powerful aspects of forgiveness, letting go of bitterness, showing love when it’s undeserved, and blessing others through adversity.  Please read this book if you struggle with unforgiveness.  This mother shares so much of her faith, her thankful spirit, her struggle to understand, and her will to let go through Christ.  It’s a great story, and one that I pray keeps getting passed on and on.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker Publishing’s book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 ( “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”