01 November 2012

Carrie Fancett Pagels Reviews Audiobook of Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander


Within My Heart

Disability friendliness: Within My Heart is available in audio version, paperback, ebook, and large print. I listened to this book on audio.

Wow!  That one word could sum up my reaction to reading this book, both as a reader and as a writer.  Oftentimes I am pulled out of a book by craft issues.  I was this time, too, but not because of bad craft but because I kept pausing and thinking – wow, that is how it should be done. 

Great Craft in this Book
How subplots can be developed and managed, how ancillary characters bring richness to the plot, how a prologue can give an amazing twist, how to keep the tension going between the H/H, how to incorporate believable hooks, how to prepare the emotional reader (moi!) for the death of a significant character, how to put the reader into story world without “telling” them about it, and how to leave the reader with a satisfying experience.

While I have heard, for years in ACFW how great Tamera Alexander’s stories were, none were in the time frame of my writing. And I hadn’t “met” her in any of my circles. But our Dutch reviewer, Marian Baay, nudged me and my critique partner, Kim Taylor, who is a big fan of Tamera’s books. 

This is a story where when I was done listening I would have stood atop a chair and clapped, shouting “Brava!”

I didn’t even tell you what the book is about! Our heroine is a widower with two boys and is trying to make a go of her ranch despite one calamity after another. The hero is a newcomer physician in town.  Her father was a doctor (lots of great backstory there but dropped in judiciously) and Rachel Boyd (cute choice of name – two boys, boyed, lol!) had been performing medical work before Rand Brookston arrives in town.  That is the set up.  And given how I am prone to spoiling a story for the reader, I will stop there and tell you  - GO LISTEN to this book!

The narrator is fabulous for this amazingly crafted story. Loved it!
Brava, Tamera!

Here is my EXPANDED Audiobook Review of Tamera Alexanders’s if you care to read it!  SPOILER ALERT!!!

I listened to this as an Audible.com download. I have a Platinum membership with them.  The narrator was perfect for this book. She really could not have done the heroine any more justice and she did great with the hero, the heroine’s sons, and the minor characters. No easy feat!

The prologue sets up a spooky mystery that leaves a question hanging in the air – who is the dead man?  It is not until you are about a third to halfway through the book when the prologue begins to make sense.  I have never read a Tamera Alexander book before.  Something she does that I don’t see as often as I would like, is weaving other subplot threads through her story.  This is something I do, too, in my own writing but I see far too many books with a simple straight forward plot and little additional subplots or threads and themes.  She tied them up beautifully at the end, too, which I always appreciate.

The heroine is a widower with two sons and is having a tough go of things. Her father was a physician and she served as a medical practitioner until the new physician came to town.  It is cute how it is clear right from the beginning that the doctor has fallen for the pretty widow but she still hasn’t recovered from the loss of her husband, who died several years earlier.
 
Great listen, I will probably listen to this again now that I realize what the prologue was all about.  I highly recommend this Tamera Alexander book to anyone who enjoys Christian historical romance.

GIVEAWAYS: Tamera is also doing a giveaway for us this week in addition to our giveaways of a book of choice plus one Tamera Alexander paperback that we are giving away ourselves--grand total of THREE giveaways this week. Leave a comment and your email to be entered in the contest. *International winners ebook only.

64 comments:

  1. Really interesting CARRIE to read a review from a writer's perspective! Often we don't think about just how much thought has gone into a book. I'm totally with you about the incredible quality of TAMERA'S books... from a reader's point of view anyway!! :)

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  2. Thank you, Carrie, for the review. It's been a long time since I've listened to a book.
    Thanks for sharing.
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

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  3. CARRIE you always write a great review with or without the spoilers (LOL) but this one is amazing!! Loved how you switched it around, telling us how much you loved it before telling us about it. That's a good way to hook us, now EVERYONE will want to read it. But PLEASE promise me you won't be jumping on chairs clapping, anytime soon!! At least not without someone taking your picture!!! hehehe

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  4. CARRIE, I LOVE your reviews. Like Noela said, you give a totally different perspective, being a writer AND a psychologist. I really enjoyed this book as I have all of Tamera's books!

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  5. Excellent review. Thank you
    Katie J. (johnsonk133@yahoo.com)

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  6. Thank you for the chance to win. This looks like a good book.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

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  7. Another entry--great review Carrie! Thanks for another opportunity to put my name in. Blessings! Darlene
    spangldlady[at]gmail[dot]com

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  8. AWESOME review, CARRIE! You're right this was a great book and this is how a book should be written!!

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  9. Blessings back atcha, DARLENE! Thank you for going to all that trouble to "like" Carrie's page. Sometimes computers try to thwart us, but so glad you were persistent! :)

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  10. ANGELA, all of Tamera's books are great. She's one of the best of the best! Thanks for entering!

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  11. AMY, I have never listened to an audio book, can you believe that? Unless you count that computerized voice on Kindle. Not so great, but nice when I'm doing boring housework!

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  12. KATIE, I quite agree! Carrie's reviews are very intriguing to me, and I always read the spoiler alerts. haha In this case it was ok since I have already read the book, but in other instances I say to myself, "Now why did I just do that?" I have too much curiosity, I guess. ;)

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  13. Great post! I avoided the spoiler alert section but otherwise it was good!
    gatorade635(at)gmail(dot)com

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  14. ABBI, you are a better woman than I...I cannot resist a spoiler alert! lol Great post indeed by our lovely CARRIE, and thank you for coming by, ABBI!

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  15. WHEW! Am at 46,100 words, yay!!! I forgot I had a post up until I saw a comment in my email.

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  16. YAY! I didn't forget -- I got your back!

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  17. nice cover. love tamera's books thanks for chance to win

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  18. i read this fabulous novel...now i want to listen to it, too...great review!!!

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  19. Really goofed up this time. Forgot to use a capital on good, and hit button wrong with my email. ( mac262@me.com ) LOL

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  20. Wow Carrie! I'm only at 50 words or so. ;)

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  21. APPLE BLOSSOM, all Tamera's covers are pretty! Good luck in the drawing.

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  22. KARENK, I think I also want to listen to this book one day. It was such a fabulous book!

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  23. I think ANONYMOUS is MAXIE in hiding. ;) You're entered!

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  24. Awesome I would LOVE to read any of your books Tamara! And I glad you have them in audio, but I can't do audio LOL! I get to into the book and either fall over or get weird looks from those around me! :D

    Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a) Chavez

    amada_chavez{AT}yahoo{DOT}com

    Psalms 119:71

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  25. NOELA, It is funny how I resisted reading Tammy's books and now I discover that she is one of my "comparables" for my writing, which is neat. I love how God works all things out for our good. And this book is one I ordered in pb so I can look at the words and how she structured this novel. If I were teaching a class on writing a Christian historical novel and how to do it right, I would make this book required reading.

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  26. AMY--you know I love to listen to book and clean, lol! Makes it much more fun! That audible.com download membership is addictive, though, lol!

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  27. TERESA, you are such a hoot! Because God is healing me I will be dancing on top of tables very soon and we shall get some great pics-esp of the pink stuff in the room!!! Pink Party--BRING IT ON, JESUS!!!

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  28. I didn't read the 'spoiler alert' part. This book sounds really interesting. I've never read any of Tamera's books. So many authors! So many great sounding novels! So little time! Ugh. Please enter me. :)
    debsbunch5@jesusanswers.com

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  29. DIANA, thanks so much!!! And you are just the best--thanks for looking out for me while Clark and I were at the orthodontist and then I was writing and then on the phone with my agent and then with my Advocare consultant and then sweetie boy came home and then daddy person. WHEW! Busy and here I was mostly at home. I did write for an hour and a half on my WIP, too!

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  30. Wow Carrie! This sounds so intriguing. I just received, and can't wait to get into, To Whisper Her Name. I visited Belle Meade Plantation last November and found the setting fascinating. All this reading keeps me from writing. Oh Dear!!!

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  31. MARIAN, I like being right LOL! and you are so funny!

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  32. Is that my old neighbor from Michigan, little Angie? Your email looks a lot like her FB name! Great to see you here!

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  33. AW, come on DEBBIE! I don't totally ruin it for anyone, lol!

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  34. JANET, this is a must read--for both craft and for reading pleasure! Seriously--you have to read this book!

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  35. Okay, Carrie, I read the 'spoiler alert' part and now I really want to read this book. Huge Christian Historical Romance fan here! But, it's your 'spooky mystery' that intrigues me. :)

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  36. DEBBIE, This is one of the best crafted, if not THE best crafted, books I have read in Christian fiction. And the story and characterization is awesome, too!

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  37. Carrie, just reading your review made me want to go right out and get it...but it's late.. thanks for great review, your opinion it tops as far as I am concerned.. thanks for the opportunity to win a great prize.. have a blessed night.. Rosemary Foley

    rfoley@salemstate.edu

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  38. Would love to have this book to read in PRINT ~*~ thank you for drawing opportunity! Kathleen
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  39. KATHLEEN, I DO think this one is best on the shelf in print but the audio version was amazing to listen to, too!

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  40. Hey, CHICKI!!! Didn't know you go by Rosemary, too! That is one of my BFF's first names, too! Blessings!

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  41. Thanks for the great review!! I really do look forward to reading her books (I own a couple, just haven't had the time to sit down with them!).

    ladettek[at]gmail[dot]com

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  42. KATHLEEN! You just won an ebook over at CQ, I better check with you because maybe I need to draw another. I forgot about the preference for paperback.

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  43. LADETTE, you and I are gonna have to commit to a reading schedule cuz I am in the same situation! Maybe a book reading accountability group, lol! thanks for coming by!

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  44. KATHLEEN! You just won an ebook over at CQ, I better check with you because maybe I need to draw another. I forgot about the preference for paperback.

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  45. I love Tamera's books! We don't have any power over here because of Hurricane Sandy, but I figured I'd enter anyway!

    Emreilly303(aT)gmail(dot)com

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  46. We have Tamera's books in my church library. I would love to have some for my very own.
    Thanks for entering me in your book giveaway.
    Janet Estridge
    von1janet@gmail.com

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  47. Okay, Carrie, You've hooked me. I keep trying to stay in contemporary since I write it, but I've always loved Tamera Alexander so I might have to dip back into historical ... again!

    cbalmony(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  48. I have this book in my collection, and have actaully loaned it out to a neighbor lady right now. It's a great series.

    Patty
    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  49. Tamara has an amazing depth to her stories. I would love to have this in my 'keeper' library!

    melodydurant@hotmail.com

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  50. Melody, I have been trying to go through my keeper file and bring some things to the library that I love but want to share with others and just keep more of the craft and absolute favorites. Plus they keep my books and CDs at the library and it is only five minutes from my house!

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  51. EMILY, oh NO!!! Where are you! You should get a book just for dealing with the hurricane and power outage! Praying for you!

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  52. I enjoyed the review, but didn't read the spoiler part. Thank you,
    may_dayzee(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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  53. Sounds interesting. I love a good book. Although I own a Kindle, I would rather hold the book in my hand. My family thought I would fall in love with the Kindle and get rid of my book collection but not so. I continue to add to it. I love going back and reading them over again and again. I have listened to a few books on audio in the past and I love audio because you can multi-task. I would love to win.

    deamundy@gmail.com

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  54. CONNIE, my dear MidAtlantic Area Coordinator--I believe your Zone Director wants to gift you with your choice of a book by Tammy Alexander--just send in your October report!!! You always do, and thanks so much!!!

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  55. Wow! I knew writing was a lot of work and heaps of talent. But to think of all those facets that an author has to take into consideration and to develop. It is mind boggling and will certainly make for more appreciation of the craft of writing (formulating) a really good read. I'd love to be considered for this giveaway.

    godleyv at yahoo[dot]com

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  56. I would love a print copy of this book....if I win that is. Thank you so much ladies for this wonderful giveaway....you ladies are awesome!!
    Joy
    ibjoy1953 at yahoo dot com

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  57. This one looks great too! Love that time period.

    shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  58. This sounds so good and I would love to win it. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

    Blessings,
    Jo
    azladijo(at)aol(dot)com

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  59. Haha KAY! I love spoilers! Thanks for coming by!

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  60. I'm entering for my daughter! Thanks for the chance to win!

    Jreilly316(at)verizon(dot)net

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  61. Hello REILLY family! Have a blessed day!

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  62. Hi Carrie, thanks for the spoiler alert warning! :) I usually don't mind reading them, (actually I usually like reading them :-)), but I am in the middle of reading this book! :)

    Jes
    jswaks at gmail dot com

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  63. Another great review, Carrie. I would love to read this one.
    godblessamerica.jan(at)gmail(dot)com

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  64. Thanks JAN!

    JES--HAHA, me too! Hope you love it!

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