Friday, May 16, 2014

Rise and Shine by Sandra D. Bricker - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Rise and Shine
River North; New Edition edition (May 1, 2014)
Sandra D. Bricker


For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While honing her chosen craft of screenwriting in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

The author says that it was her 8th novel that opened the door to finding her way as a writer. "I'm a Christian woman, first and foremost," she says. "So it was a bit of a dream-come-true when Summerside Press chose me as one of two authors to launch the Love Finds You line."

Sandie's real-life role as cancer survivor has parlayed into her steadfast commitment to raising awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research. Spearheading a series of devotionals for Summerside Press (such as the popular His Grace is Sufficient...Decaf is Not), the author has stipulated that a portion of each contributor's proceeds will go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

"Being allowed to combine my faith and my humor with raising funds for my pet projects ... and still pursue my writing dream," says Bricker, "well, that's the best of all worlds, as far as I'm concerned!"

And one of the author's pet projects is animal rescue, evidenced by the special bond she has created with one particular formerly-abandoned puppy -- a red-haired collie with "killer brown eyes and the heart of the class clown."


Shannon Malone thought she'd found her happy ending when she married Edmund Ridgeway, but a diving accident on their honeymoon left her in a coma. Waking up to the news that she's thirty years old would have been daunting enough . . . but she also learns that Edmund has lost his interim battle with cancer and the world has marched on without her. Her gorgeous doctor, Daniel Petros, seems to know everything about her and becomes Shannon's tour guide into a whole new world of madness where reality television has taken over the planet and everyone's life appears to revolve around a tiny screen on their cell phones! As Shannon struggles to navigate through the changes-both in the world and in her-she also must discern real memories from imagined ones. Did she really ever wear capris pants and entertain in her living room, or was that Laura Petrie from her favorite classic TV show? And where is her beloved dog, Freeway? Oh, wait! That was Jonathan and Jennifer Hart's dog, not hers. Shannon's three elderly aunts flit through her life in true Sleeping Beauty style with her well-being always a priority. And Edmund's sister Millicent descends like the Evil Queen she is, trying to extract Shannon from any claim on the Ridgeway family fortune. When a tornado moves through town and Shannon is knocked unconscious, will Daniel's kiss awaken her once and for all?

My Thoughts:
When am I going to feel like I’m making some progress?  Like there’s a life ahead for me without people and things and situations being snatched away every time I turn around?”  (p. 226)

Have you ever been at this place in your life?  Have you ever asked these questions?  I think we all have at some point. If we’re honest.  Shannon Malone finds herself recreating her entire life from scratch almost, and Sandra Bricker has done a beautiful  job allowing readers to walk alongside her throughout the journey.  You get to know Shannon in an intimate way as you experience a wide expanse of loss, grief, self-discovery, family relationships and new friendships.  There are old friendships that are renewed and some that sort of implode under the weight of this gloriously difficult process of transformation.

Daniel Petros is also experiencing quite a bit of transformation in his own life!  His discoveries are sometimes confusing, often frustrating, and at other times terrifying.  The poor man has a LOT to sort out when he begins to know Shannon Malone as a person and not just a patient.  The situations that develop from their relationship mirror many of life’s uncertainties and fears.

I can always count on Sandra Bricker’s stories to sort of smack me right between the eyes with a spiritual insight that I need at just that moment.  When Shannon says to God, “I used to know you so well…I depended on you for everything.” (p. 234) You feel her release control. She realizes that she is the one who moved…God never left her side.  Haven’t we all been there?  And Shannon’s story is so unique and complicated that the pages literally create a breeze as you read!  It is a wonderfully entertaining and enchanting novel! I was often amazed at how quickly things changed and progressed! A very intriguing story line!

Sandra D. Bricker, I think you are a fabulous writer with a special, insightful look into the human heart. This is a wonderful story!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Rise and Shine, go HERE.

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