Shine the LIght

Shine the LIght

by April McGowan


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Shannon is out to save the world one caring act at a time. She’s stood by her best friend, Amber, through their whole lives—especially when Amber lost her sight. She has an active outreach ministry to the homeless and disenfranchised. And she’s even let down her guard long enough to let a boyfriend, Justin, into her life.

Her life has settled into a pleasing routine of teaching, freelance photography work, quiet dinners with Justin, and taking Amber on treks to find new subjects for her visionary paintings.

But when a man from her past shows up, her secure world crumbles into triggered PTSD episodes that threaten everything she relies on. Will she be able to overcome these old memories, or will her past crush any hopes she had for a future?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781946531209
Publisher: Whitefire Publishing
Publication date: 04/15/2019
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 818,999
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

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Shine the Light 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
RealWorldBibleStudy 8 months ago
LAST WEEK, I READ A BOOK ABOUT A PROTAGONIST WITH MENTAL ILLNESS FAR MORE SEVERE THAN WHAT I HAVE PERSONALLY EXPERIENCED. And, like many of us, she is surrounded by others who struggle with their own mental challenges. Her dad is bipolar. Both parents were addicts. She spends her time working with the homeless, encountering the full spectrum of mental health conditions (roughly 1/4 of homeless living in shelters in the US suffer from serious mental illness). And Shannon herself deals with anxiety, depression, and PTSD on a regular basis. Her story is about mental illness, but it’s also about forgiveness. It’s about figuring out healthy boundaries. It’s about the struggle to let people in. To be real with someone about what is happening in her life and in her head. I’ve been there. And these are things we all have to work through, mental illness or not. I ENJOYED GETTING TO KNOW THE CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK. I’m glad the book was written, too, because I want to live in a world where people talk openly about this stuff. I do think the author may have tackled too many issues in one book. But I found myself wrestling with my own struggle of how to manage forgiveness and healthy boundaries at the same time. And even though that’s an ongoing process, that alone made Shine the Light worth the read. This book did “shine the light,” not just on a protagonist with mental illness, but on conditions for homeless, and even maybe on the state of our hearts. I received a review copy of this book; all opinions are my own.
Anonymous 8 months ago
You are sure to see a bit of yourself in McGowan’s protagonist, Shannon. If you don’t, you’re not being honest. This raw, achingly authentic story transports the reader upon the fragile shoulders of abuse, addiction, mental illness, and homelessness. Shannon’s tale takes you into the dark places of humanity, the underbelly of any major city. This character has been skillfully wrought, wholly believable to the reader, making you shake your finger at her one minute and want to hug her the next. Shannon struggles with PTSD and unforgiveness from an unfair past, so watching God work in this young woman’s life was fully satisfying. The writing style is captivating, emotional, and the story’s immersion into a well-researched setting was an extra special treat. Another heart-gripping book from McGowan. Five Stars! I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
Deana0326 8 months ago
I wish I could say that this story didn't affect me but it took an emotional toll on me. The author hits hard with very sensitive subject matter and I appreciate the honest and open approach she took. Being homeless, dealing with mental illness, abuse, living in foster care, or becoming a drug addict all are things people try not to talk about. In this book we read Shannon's story with realism and pain. I instantly took to Shannon and could feel the hurt of a little girl who wanted to be loved by someone. I like how the author goes back and forth telling her story by memories or flash backs she starts having. PTSD is hard to live with and you never know what may trigger an episode. I know this first hand because I have PTSD. Shannon is one not to trust many people and the circle of friends she does have are starting to become concerned for her. It was hard to read how Shannon had to find ways to feed herself as a child when her parents had checked out on her. I am impressed with the strength she has and the ability to care for others. I don't want to give anything away from the story because it is one that will stay with you forever. The turmoil Shannon faces as she comes face to face with her past will test her faith. Will she be able to forgive the person who abandoned her? The author does an incredible job of highlighting mental illness in a way that takes away the stigma of it. People who deal with mental illness are sometimes treated poorly and this book opens readers eyes to how devastating it can be for families and the person who suffers from it Shannon's friends' Justin and Amber are very vital to the story. They care deeply for Shannon and I loved their loyalty to her. It's not everyday you can find people who are always there for you. With all that Shannon has had to deal with, she still reaches out to the homeless. I think with her knowing what it is like to be homeless, her empathy for them is genuine . Justin reminds me of my husband in so many ways. They both are strong, have integrity and love unconditionally. God knows just what we need and always places the right people in our lives to help us. When Shannon said she was damaged goods, I knew exactly how she felt. This book has been hard to read but I am thankful for an author who will tackle the hard subjects and bring the truth to the surface. "I think if we give over the hard things to God, He can use it to shape us, and then we can help other people." I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
NKBookReviewer 9 months ago
This contemporary 300 page novel is not a light read. There are deep issues of helping others, faith, family, and sickness discussed. This is a thought provoking book that I had to read a little at a time and then ponder. It made me emotional and sad in a lot of places. It is the first book I have read by author McGowan and I had a little trouble following it. It didn’t flow as smoothly as most books that I’ve read. It is Book two in a series which might cause the problem for me. For this Grandmother the character we’re too eccentric with their brightly colored hair, Mohawk cut, tattoos, and piercings. Even some of the conversation sounded off to me. The characters were vividly described. The author tackled tough, present day issues in her Christian novel. This is a well organized and researched book. The storyline has parenting issues, mental illness, homelessness, PTSD, and facing trials in life. Like I said earlier, this is not a light read. The people, how they lived, and all of the tough issues all stayed with me. It made me see how much help certain people need and how blessed others are. At the end notes the author states that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders in their lifetime. That is a staggering number. Inspirational messages are included with the rough issues. Letting the Holy Spirit work in your life, trusting in God, and having faith are mentioned as crucial. It is refreshing to have Christian messages in a book filled with so many problems. I would recommend this book to a younger age group than mine, although the book has made an impact and stuck with me. It needs to be read in a group so it may be discussed. I would recommend reading Book One first. It received a 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but I was under no obligation to write a review.
ARS8 9 months ago
Shine the Light is a story that takes on tough subjects like mental illness, abuse in the foster care system, abandonment, and homelessness. The story centers on Shannon who does not really want her life as she knows it right now to change. However, when some big changes start to come into focus she withdraws within herself. You see Shannon has been dealt a pretty raw deal with her life, her parents made really poor decisions that lead to the disintegration of her family life and thrust her into the foster system. Now with a boyfriend who really wants to get married, Shannon does not believe herself ever ready for that big step. Shannon was a character that I just wanted to give a big hug too and tell her to let go of her fears and worries, especially of her past that has scarred her but also made her the compassionate woman she is. Especially to the homeless whom she helps and offers hope to on a daily basis. Shannon has a long journey to see that she is worthy for a happily ever after and not to worry about the future. There was some pretty good advice in this story. One that I liked and that Shannon learned early on was not to trust in the circumstances but to trust in God. Whether the circumstances are good or bad, ultimately they will fail us. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
5643437 9 months ago
As I began reading this book my heart began breaking for Shannon. This book touches on a lot of hard issues including abuse, abandonment, homelessness and more. Though the book is set in the present, because of PTSD, Amber constantly gets thrown back in time to some horrible situations. Amber is her one friend who has been with her through it all, but even she is not aware of everything that has happened to Shannon. Justin is the man who wants to love Shannon if only she can let him into her heart to stay. Daniel, her father who lost custody of her, shows up and brings back a tremendous amount of memories. Daniel’s return coupled with Amber’s engagement and possible move cause Shannon’s PTSD to flare up. I wanted Shannon to reconcile with her past, reconcile with her father Daniel, and make a future. The characters were realistic and the storyline was believable. The book was well=written, even though it was tough to read at some points. I love how God is mentioned throughout the book. So if you want to read a book that will make you think, make you potentially cry and make you think about God, check out this book for yourself. I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review
PianoLady831 9 months ago
“Most people weren’t heartless to the plight of the downtrodden, but they felt helpless, so they didn’t help.” Shine the Light by April McGowan is a powerful, emotional, and gripping story. A depth of raw realism runs through it, and it’s exquisitely written with great character depth. It focuses on relevant and timely themes not often found in Christian fiction, for which I am very thankful, as I often long for this type of story. I have not yet read the previous book, Hold the Light, which would have given a more in-depth reading experience, but this book definitely can stand alone. On one level, Shine the Light is a well-written, engrossing story that captured my attention from the beginning and thoroughly entertained – but it’s so much more! This author doesn’t shy away from dealing with difficult issues that touch most of our lives or the life of someone we know in some way – abuse, homeliness, PTSD, mental illness. The title is so fitting, because this story beautifully shines the light not only on the individuals themselves, but the devastating effects on the things that we take for granted – livelihood, security of food and shelter, home, relationships with family and friends. As in the first book, the friendship between Shannon and Amber is key. These two delightful young ladies are sisters of the heart, who always had and always will have each other’s backs. I was easily drawn to Justin, and while I understood her reasons for pushing him away, I yearned for Shannon to open herself up and simply trust. This is a great quote that captures that “something special” in their relationship … “Justin’s voice reverberated with gentleness. So much so it shocked her. In his deep aqua eyes, she saw a flash of warning mixed with a dare. And something else that scared her more than anything. Determination.” Shine the Light is a story that will stay with you and just possibly change the way you think or interact with the homeless. I can identify with Shannon’s passion and hope to be more like her … “Homelessness overwhelmed her some days, but doing nothing was more abhorrent to her than doing something.” Shine the Light reminds us that God is always with us through the most difficult of times and that the forgiveness He commands can often be a process. I loved this story of hope and grace, and look forward to many more stories from April McGowan. Highly recommended. I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
SBMC 10 months ago
April McGowan writes beautifully about difficult topics in such a real, gritty, raw, and heart-stirring way that you will be spellbound from chapter one till the end of the book. This book is the sequel to Hold the Light and the story will make more sense if you read that book first, since a few of the characters from the first story play major roles in this one. The author approaches difficult topics like homelessness, mental illness, and PTSD with care and love while underscoring the need of everyone to feel loved and accepted. Shannon, a gifted photographer and teacher, continues to battle her past in foster care where she felt unwanted, unloved, and unworthy. Despite unconditional love from her fellow art teacher Justin, she can't seem to break free from the clutches of darkness that her memories bring forth. Shannon has a long journey ahead of her that is rocky, filled with pitfalls and danger and uncertainty, but her spiritual journey toward freedom from fear and faith in her Savior is so tangible and real. I loved Justin and his steadfastness. He's an unlikely hero from a first glance on the outside but his beautiful heart and soul make him an absolutely swoon-worthy one. This is not light romance, though the romance between Shannon and Justin is sweet and tender. This book is about those difficult places in our hearts and lives that need God's light and intervention and how much He wants us to reconcile, forgive, and love. This book is about reaching out to those who need us and staying true to them. I received a copy of the book from WhiteFire Publishing via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
MFurumasu 10 months ago
I wish there were more stars I could give this book! I am so deeply touched by April McGowan and this book. She has a beautifully tender way of bringing to light the pains of homelessness, mental illness, and those it touches. This book is a sequel to her last book, Holding the Light and it is just as vividly worded and woven with stunning images as the first book. This story deals with issues we all see around us but often overlook. I really love a quote she has in the book: “Homelessness, mental illness, and hunger were too huge for any one person to fix – easier to look away and hope someone else would take care of it. Or blame those caught in the trap- be it of their own making or someone else’s.” WOW! So true! This book tells the story of Shannon, who is dealing with the pains of being raised in a dysfunctional family. She has PTSD episodes from her childhood because of the many horrific events which happened to her. Can she overcome her past and move on? April McGowan captures our attention with wonderful characters, vivid images, and heart touching moments throughout the whole book. I personally work with students who deal with mental illness and I am truly impressed by the honest and tender way this author portrays it in the book. I also live in the city this book is based in and we do have a big homeless issue. All a person needs to do is step out their door and they will be made aware of the need around here. I highly recommend you pick this book up and read it. It will touch your soul in a deep way. I was given this book by the publisher for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Mama_Cat 10 months ago
Profound. Powerful. This is a memorable, fabulous novel! The characters are well-defined, likable, easy to engage with. It is an amazing testament of the love, grace, and healing of Jesus. Shannon’s story seems so real, it is as if the author lived these feelings, experiences, and health challenges. The author indeed shines the light of Christ on mental and physical health challenges, homelessness, addiction, and ultimately the One we can hope in. A reader doesn’t have to suffer in the same way the characters did to understand their feelings or need some of the spiritual lessons. Amber and Shannon have been best friends since they met in foster care as children; both are artists. Amber lost her vision recently, and Shannon gladly gives time and love to help her friend adapt. Both ladies are Christians, having believed in Jesus since they were young. Shannon has not blamed the Lord for all the things she has endured. Her father, yes. Amber’s adoptive father who refused to adopt her at the same time, yes. God? Never. Magic Stan, Queen Susie, and others like them are invisible. Most homeless folks are, especially if they are physically or mentally ill or addicted to drugs or booze. To Shannon, they are real people with real stories and needs. She and her friend Justin hand out plastic bags of necessities, water, and a donated paperback novel to homeless people, many who are regulars. Only Amber knows a bit of Shannon’s past, including foster homes, rejection by her father, abuse and neglect, living on the street, and various kinds of mental illness and addictions. One day, completely by accident, Shannon sees the one man she hoped to never see again. Daniel. Her father, who had signed her over to the state when she was only ten. His substance abuse and untreated mental illness kept him from providing her basic needs and stole her childhood. Now here he is, broken and living on the street. She refuses to tell him who she is. Justin wants to take their relationship to the next level. Shannon wants to only be friends, as she will never marry. She could never trust anyone that much. Amber is preparing for a trip to Boston with her fiancé. They are talking about finding an apartment there and moving. While trying to rescue teen girls from a man who wants to be their pimp, he attacks Shannon, smashes her precious camera, and tries to drag her away. Flashbacks due to PTSD begin to steal time from and take over Shannon’s life. She has no one to confide in without Amber nearby; she has never discussed her past with Justin. When she finally realizes she is not safe to drive, she needs help – but can she, will she, trust anyone other than the Lord? Shine the Light is a book I want to read more than once! I was lost in the story from the start, and there is so much (for me) to learn through the spiritual lessons shared. I continue to be amazed at how this author weaves beautiful, intense situations, conversations, and relationships while opening our eyes to the reality of challenges faced by others. Shannon seems so well put-together on the outside until PTSD flares up. She is a beautiful example of how we don’t know what someone else’s life is like, especially when wrestling with the past and what the future might bring. This is a novel that brings glory to God. I highly, highly recommend this incredible novel of life and light! From a thankful heart: I received a copy of this from the publisher and NetGalley for an honest review.