10 April 2014

Diana's Review of 'At The Edge Of A Dark Forest' By Connie Almony

At The Edge Of A Dark Forest
At The Edge Of A Dark Forest by Connie Almony

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
5 stars*****

Beauty…and the Beast

In At The Edge Of A Dark Forest, Connie Almony has written a haunting but breathtakingly beautiful story reminiscent of the classic tale; The Beauty and the Beast. Set amongst the alluring beauty of a lush, green pine forest sits a huge mansion that wreaks of wealth, wherein a lonely man resides—scarred both inside and out—an ugly, disfigured "beast" unworthy of love and acceptance, at least in his own mind.

An IED in Iraq has cost Cole Harrison the loss of an arm and a leg and numerous scars, not to mention his self respect. Immersed in guilt over a long buried secret and shame of his ghastly appearance, Cole drowns himself in alcohol and self-pity. His "beastly" behavior extends to all those around him, including Carly Rose who contracts to live with Cole and train him to use his new limbs; a new prototype prosthetic which she invented herself. As Carly (who he has nicknamed Beauty) and Cole begin to draw closer, she sees beyond his outward appearance—to the nightmares and mental anguish the war has inflicted upon this man's spirit. She can help him use his new limbs, but must she walk away from Cole permanently…and leave his inner healing to the One who knows all? Will a mysterious package from the past help hold the key to Cole's healing as well? 

Connie Almony is a new author to me and what an awesome talent she is! I was drawn into this emotive, powerful story from page one and I quickly devoured it. My emotions were all over the page (literally) and ranged from compassion towards Cole, to anger, to frustration, to deep sorrow…as I know Carly's were as well. What an amazingly tough and realistic heroine she is! This story is such a beautiful tribute and "thank you" to all of our wounded warriors and members of the military who sacrifice their lives daily for our freedom—and to those who help them to heal. I highly applaud you, Connie Almony, for such a compassionate portrayal of one such warrior and one such lady.

This book may be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookstore.


GIVEAWAYS! We are giving away TWO copies of Connie's book this week, a Starbuck's Gift Card Giveaway AND also a Giveaway from Connie this week -- a $10 Gift Card to an online bookseller such as Barnes & Noble or Amazon! **Please leave a comment and an email address in order to qualify.** 

 
 


58 comments:

  1. Diana what a remarkable review of an outstanding story. This story made me want to hug Connie for paying tribute to our brave soldiers who do not always come home with outward wounds. Sometimes the horrors of war burrows into the souls of these warriors and causes torment for years to come. Thank God for the peace that can be found in Him. :-)

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    1. Thank you, TERESA! My dad suffered PTSD from WWII, and I wonder today how different his life could have been had someone helped him. He has been gone now for 38 yrs. and back then they just didn't know enough about it. :(

      I agree! Big hugs and kudos to Connie for tackling such a tough subject with finesse!

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  2. I can hardly wait until CONNNIE releases more books... She has such a way of writing that draws the reader in as you stated, from the very beginning... and just doesn't let you go!! This was a really special story and I truly hope the word spreads so that everyone gets to read it!! I loved your review DIANA btw, it was beautifully written (as always!) and it brought back many sweet moments... like how Cole teasingly called her Beauty! :)

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    1. NOELA, thank you. I loved Cole from the get-go (even though his behavior WAS terribly beastly), and I feel it an honor to have had the opportunity to read this lovely story!

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  3. Diana, Your review was lush and breathtakingly beautiful! Thank you so much for the blessing today.

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    1. Hmmm...where have I seen those words before? ;) CONNIE, thank YOU so much for the blessing of being able to read such a lovely story.

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  4. Great review Diana !!!!! I so enjoy reading the reviews on OWG, I know that I am going to enjoy a new author and her new books, or a new book from an author I read all the time !!! I have gotten many a book just by reading the reviews on OWG. This is a very sensitive subject.... yes, we all know of the wars and of the injuries, but never get closer than that, and this story seems like it will get up close and personal.. People like myself need to understand these happenings, and what better way than to read it in a story that is sad, but at the same time we learn the respect and help that our "wounded warriors " need and deserve .. It sounds like an eye opener for some of us and I truly want to read this book !!! thank you so much for the wonderful review and the chance to win a copy.... and a special thank you for introducing me to Connie ... I am now a follower, and glad to get to know her. Have a blessed day..
    Rosemary Foley rfoley@salemstate.edu

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    1. ROSEMARY, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us today. I love how Connie brings this story alive and never was there a dull moment! I so hope you will get the chance to read this one...it will enrich you for sure.

      And I'm DOUBLY thrilled our reviews have helped you to be able to pick out good quality books! That blesses my socks off...if I had any on!

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    2. Rosemary, your comment reminds me of what C.S.Lewis said when he decided his fiction was more important than his apologetics. I think it goes something like this: Reason is the natural organ of truth, but imagination is the natural organ of meaning. Story sometimes helps us truly understand the hurts of others in ways information alone does not. Thanks for stopping by.

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    3. I love that, CONNIE, and it's so true! I truly gained so much knowledge from reading Cole's story, but greater than that, I gained a greater compassion for these wounded warriors.

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  5. As I've been reading the comments over this week, I've just realized I forgot to mention something very important. Part of the inspiration to this story came after I did a military ministries series on my blog about two years ago, and received some insight from a military ministry group, now called CruMilitary. It is an off-shoot of Campus Crusade for Christ. This organization provides many resources for churches that want to start ministries for their veterans. Great resources!!! Here's a link if anyone is interested http://crumilitary.org/. Also, because we all owe a little something to these brave men and women who risk so much for us, I am giving ten percent of my earnings on this book to CruMilitary. What better thing can you give those who've given so much--a relationship with Jesus!

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    1. CONNIE, what a loving, generous gesture. Buy copies for friends and family everyone!

      Speaking of Campus Crusade for Christ -- I gave my heart to Jesus many years ago when I was a teenager at one of their conferences where Nicki Cruz spoke! CruMilitary sounds like an awesome and needful organization.

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  6. sounds like a great book and I think a long needed subject to be talked about. So many have suffered from PTSD without more than a nod--it is a real thing that needs more understanding. I would love the opportunity to win and read this book, and I need to look into buying it, if I do not win. Thanks fr yet another great book review Diana.
    Vicki

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    1. Thx so much, VICKI! It really is a wonderful read that is hard to put down, and has a certain mystique to it with the modern day retelling of The Beauty and the Beast.

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    2. Yes, it needs understanding. I think it's hard to fathom if you don't experience the kinds of flashbacks those with PTSD have and how they sometimes react in the middle of them.

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  7. This book sounds intense and healing. I'm looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the review and giveaway!

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

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    1. HEIDI, that it is, but oh, so enjoyable! Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Heidi. Hope you enjoy it!

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  8. I have two "honorary daughters" whose husbands are / were in the military, one with some PTS and one still active, but with stories to tell. this is a topic near to my heart and I look forward to reading the story she has woven around it.

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    1. With "honorary daughters" I have a feeling you have a large heart. Yes, there are stories to tell. Many triumphant as well as tragic. Hope you can read the story.

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    2. ANONYMOUS, without a name or an email you really are anonymous. ;) And that always makes me sad. So please come back and leave an email addy where we can contact you should you be chosen as one of our blessed winners! I'm sure you will love it -- especially since you are connected to people in the military.

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  9. Great review, mdh! Sounds like a powerful story. Can't wait to read it!

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    1. Thank you, my dear cohort! Be sure to bump this one to the top of that tumbling over TBR stack of yours! :P

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  10. Would love to read this book.
    oh.hello.hiya@gmail.com

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    1. Oh, hello, hiya, DANIE! lol Love that email addy and hoping you get a chance to read this amazing book! :)

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    2. Why thank you Diana,
      And I can't wait.

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    3. You're welcome! And if you win a gift card, you can buy it! ;)

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    4. Great!!! I absolutely love your last name it's so pretty. 😊

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    5. Thank you, DANIE! I have a lot to live up to as flowers are associated with beauty and pleasantness! lol I do my best to stay that way inside! ;)

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    6. Well you are doing an excellent job. 👍😊

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  11. Thank you for your review. That really is such a beautiful cover.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. You're welcome, MARY! I so agree and a beautiful story to match!

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  12. Thank you for a great review and this wonderful giveaway. The book sounds like a winner and its cover is beautiful.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. I hope you can get ahold of a copy asap, MELANIE...maybe here! You will be entranced by this lovely story!

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  13. Great review.This book sounds very interesting.Putting it on my to read list.Thanks for sharing...jackie_tessnair@yahoo.com

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    1. Thx, JACKIE! Put it at the top! :) Lotsa luck in the drawing!

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  14. Thanks for the review and giveaway ladies! And thanks for the intro to a new author... look forward to reading this novella.

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. She is a wonderful new author and I'm convinced this book will excite you as much as it did the rest of us who read it on OWG! Thanks, PATTY!

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  15. This sounds like a great book. Thanks for a chance at winning this awesome give away.

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    1. You are so welcome, JUANITA! Good luck to you!

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  16. My e mail is ;
    seraphinangel7(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Thanks, but I know where to find you! lol

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  17. I am intrigued! Beauty & The Beast is a Classic....and a retelling in humanly modern terms....it's enticing me, I tell you! :) Going to share this also with my daughter...although there might be a "cat fight" when it comes as to WHOM reads it first, mind you! : )
    mandn(at)wisper(dash)wireless(dot)com

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    1. Please no cat fights b/c of me! LOL If you get the chance be sure and watch the movie, Beauty, with Janine Turner. The Beast lives in a mansion and it's a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast as well. I loved it! And I'm sure you will love Connie's new book as well!

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  18. What a lovely group of people you have here. I wanted to take this time to thank all the commenters, reviewers, interviewers--the whole bunch of you!!! You all have been generous with your time, your kind words and even your gifts!! Much appreciated. God bless you guys. And that is not just a salutation :o).

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    1. We love our followers, CONNIE. They are the best group of women/men you will find anywhere IMO. And this blog is all about ministry first -- books second. We pray for our followers and our authors. I'm so glad your wonderful book ministers to people, b/c that's what we are all about here on OWG! We won't review just ANY book here. Only the special ones. :)

      Thank you for your kind words and you are more than welcome!

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  19. I would absolutely love to read this fair tail of beauty and the beast.
    oh.hello.hiya@gmail.com

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    1. DANIE, I would absolutely love for you to read it as well! :) I'm tossing your name in my little cyberhat here!

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  20. This one sounds like an interesting take on my favorite fairy tale! Count me in :)

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    1. You're counted, ANNE! lol Really an intriguing book!!

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  21. would love to win, sounds great, thanks!
    p_cowans@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks for coming by and good luck in the drawing, PAT!

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  22. This tale rings true to me. I loved a wounded warrior and it taught me soo much. I can hardly wait to read it:) WITH coffee, of course:) Hugs and thanks for giving us a chance to win. brokengooding@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you so much BROKEN GOODING for sharing! The giveaway is closed, but please do stop by Amazon and pick up a copy. You won't regret it and Connie is giving 10% of the earnings from her book to the organization CruMilitary. So it's for a worthy cause and you'll get an enjoyable read to boot!

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  23. New winners per Random.org!
    Paperback of Connie Almony's book: Chris Granville, ebook winner: Chaplain Debbie Mitchell $10 Starbucks winner, $10 ebook gift card: Melanie Backus!

    Congrats to all and thank you for sharing all your wonderful thoughts with us! We have Tamera Alexander week coming up, so please be sure and drop back by!

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  24. Congrats also to Rosemary Foley who I missed!

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