Friday, 1 November 2013

Blog Tour ~ Review, Excerpt & Giveaway ~ Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Book Description:

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 Stars

**ARC received for honest review**

“If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?
Does he make the legs that cannot walk and eyes that cannot see?
Does he curl the hair upon my head ‘til it rebels in wild defiance?
Does he close the ears of the deaf man to make him more reliant?
Is the way I look coincidence or just a twist of fate?
If he made me this way, is it okay, to blame him for the things I hate?
For the flaws that seem to worsen every time I see a mirror,
For the ugliness I see in me, for the loathing and the fear.
Does he sculpt us for his pleasure, for a reason I can’t see?
If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?”

This book is one truly amazing piece of writing. It hurt to read it, so bad, my head hurt, my heart ached, my eyes stung but I could not put it down. It was such a captivating read. Even though I could relate in so many ways, far more than I ever wished I could, despite the pain I felt when reading, I read it in one sitting. Nothing or no-one was going to get in the way. I was totally gone, zoned out into a world of Fern, Ambrose and my little Bailey.

I really don’t know where to start…I don’t want to waffle but I want to do this book justice. I could probably write for hours about this book, but then it would put you all off!! So I will give you the basics.

This is a book that will have you thinking, thinking a lot! It will make you question how you see yourself and those around you. Are we all really that shallow that we only judge people on the way they look and their appearances. Do we only see the flaws and the disabilities rather than the person underneath? After all, the person is what is on the inside, not the body that houses that person, the body is just a vessel that houses the heart and soul. This book is deep, meaningful, thought provoking and extremely poignant and one book that will stay with me for a very long time. As we say as readers, never judge a book by its cover, do we apply the same mantra to those people that are around us every day? Even good looking people can be horrible and mean and the “ugliest” person can be a complete diamond, you never know what you have in front of you, until you look inside.

Fern, she is such a beautiful person inside and out, but she doesn’t see it that way. All she sees are the “uglies,” she doesn’t have perfect hair or the perfect features or the perfect body but she has a perfect heart and soul. Her friends get all the guys, but she just skulks in the back ground. She has had this crush on Ambrose, since he squashed a spider when they were kids, but Ambrose is the epitome of the “perfect boy.” He is idolised, put on a pedestal, he is brilliant at everything he does, the girls fight over him, what chance does she really have? Fern doesn’t see Ambrose as the rest of the world do, she fell in love with the inside, not the shell, she fell in love with him even more when she was trying to help her friend nab him. They decided to write little notes to each other, but her friend, not being the “articulate” one asked Fern to write the notes for her. Little by little each note revealed more and more about each other, he was intelligent, he was romantic, he was loving, he was so much more than what the world saw on the outside and with every note passed, Fern fell even more in love. It didn’t take Ambrose long to realise that the person behind the words were not one of the same and when he did find out, he was not happy.

“…Fern’s heart would flutter and breaths grew short with every barrier crossed, every piece of metaphorical clothing discarded.

Lost or Alone?

Ambrose said alone, and Fern responded, “I would much rather be lost with you than alone without you, so I choose lost with a caveat.” Ambrose responded, “No caveats,” to which Fern replied, “Then lost, because alone feels permanent, and lost can be found.”

Ambrose was leading the “perfect” life, but after an event happens, he realises that he doesn’t want this perfect life anymore, he wants to make a difference. He decides to enlist and takes his four best friends with him, little does he realise that this will be his biggest ever regret. What will happen when Ambrose isn’t perfect anymore? What will happen when he has no friends? What will happen when nobody likes him? How perfect will Ambrose be then?

“What scares you the most son?”

“Not a damn thing, Dad. I used to be afraid of going to hell. But now that I’m here, hell doesn’t seem so bad.”

Fern grew up with her cousin Bailey, they were born at the same time, except Bailey became ill, he has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, he knew that his life time was limited and he lived life to his max. Fern was Bailey’s right hand person or wing woman. They were always together. He was limited in what he could do and always thought he could do more, but he had a heart of gold. These two were the closest of friends, despite being related. They were always together and were inseparable. I loved Bailey! His dad was the wrestling coach, Ambrose was their star wrestler, Bailey had Ambrose on the wrestling pedestal, after all he was “Hercules.” Although Bailey couldn’t wrestle he was part of the team, being super intelligent he was their statistician and the team loved him. He had a sense of belonging despite his disabilities. We could all learn a lot from Bailey, his outlook on life was astounding, despite the crap hand that he had been dealt. He was a truly inspirational character and one that you could not help but fall in love with. It is rare that you get that connection with a supporting character.

“A big part of the reason that Bailey is so special is because life has sculpted him into something amazing…maybe not on the outside, but on the inside. On the inside, Bailey looks like Michelangelo’s David. And when I look at him, and when you look at him, that’s what we see.”

Even despite his ailing health and his increasing inability to even do the simplest things, he never lost his sense of humour.

“…Maybe then I could get some action. Problem is, how am I going to get a handful of tit if I can’t lift my arms?”

I can’t express enough how much I loved Bailey, just read about him, listen to his wise words he is such a beautiful person inside and out.

“I have no pride left, Ambrose!” Bailey said. “No pride. But it was my pride or my life. I had to choose. So do you…”

As you can see, I highlighted the hell out of this book. This book is beautifully written, many a verse or one line sets itself apart from the rest and you find yourself sitting back, reflecting and can’t help but ponder the meaning or you find yourself applying it to your own situations. Deeply meaningful and extremely thought provoking you cannot help but be drawn into these characters lives. Such inspiring writing, this books makes you want to be a better person, think more about your actions rather than dealing with the reactions. Totally and utterly brilliant.

“Ambrose, Fern already sees who you really are. That’s why she loves you.”

I have never been disappointed with an Amy Harmon book, she is a truly gifted writer. This author has now firmly imprinted herself on my “auto download” list. I really cannot wait to see what comes next.

“It always amazes me how people are placed in our lives at exactly the right times. That’s how God works, that’s how he takes care of his children. He gave Bailey Fern. And now Fern needs her own angel.”


He didn’t know how to make her understand that she was so much more than just pretty. So he leaned forward and pressed his mouth to hers. Very carefully. Not like the other night when he’d been scared and impulsive, and smacked her head against the wall in his attempt to kiss her. He kissed her now to tell her how he felt. He pulled away almost immediately, not giving himself a chance to linger and lose his head. He wanted to show her he valued her, not that he wanted to rip her clothes off. And he wasn’t sure when it came right down to it that she wanted to be kissed by an ugly SOB. She was the kind of girl that would kiss him because she didn’t want to hurt his feelings. The thought filled him with despair.

She let out a frustrated sigh and sat up, running her hands through her hair. It flowed through her fingers and down her back, and he wished he could bury his own hands in it, bury his face in the heavy locks and breathe her in. But he’d obviously upset her.

“I’m sorry, Fern. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“Why?” she snapped, startling him enough that he winced. “Why are you sorry?”

“Because you’re upset.”

“I’m upset because you pulled away! You’re so careful. And it’s frustrating!”

Ambrose was taken back by her honesty, and he smiled, instantly flattered. But the smile faded as he tried to explain himself.

“You’re so small, Fern. Delicate. And all of this is new to you. I’m afraid I’m going to come on too strong. And if I break you or hurt you, I won’t survive that, Fern. I won’t survive it.” That thought was worse than walking away from her and he shuddered inwardly. He wouldn’t survive it. He had already hurt too many. Lost too many.

Fern knelt in front of him, and her chin wobbled and her eyes were wide with emotion. Her voice was adamant as she held his face between her hands, and when he tried to pull away so she wouldn’t feel his scars, she hung on, forcing his gaze.

“Ambrose Young! I have waited my whole life for you to want me. If you don’t hold me tight I won’t believe you mean it, and that’s worse than never being held at all. You better make me believe you mean it, Ambrose, or you will most definitely break me.”

“I don’t want to hurt you, Fern,” he whispered hoarsely.

“Then don’t,” she whispered back, trusting him. But there were lots of ways to cause pain. And Ambrose knew he was capable of hurting her in a thousand ways.

Ambrose stopped trying to pull his face away, surrendering to the way it felt to be touched. He hadn’t allowed anyone to touch him for a long time. Her hands were small, like the rest of her, but the emotions they stirred in him were enormous, gigantic, all-consuming. She made him shake, made him quake inside, vibrate like the tracks under an on-coming train.

Her hands left his face and traveled down the sides of his neck. One side smooth, the other riddled with divots and scars and rippled where the skin had been damaged. She didn’t pull away, but felt each mark, memorized each wound. And then she leaned forward and pressed her lips to his neck, just below his jaw. And then again on the other side, on the side that bore no scars, letting him know that the kiss wasn’t about sympathy but desire. It was a caress. And his control broke.
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About the Author:
Amy Harmon knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story.

Amy Harmon has been a motivational speaker, a grade school teacher, a junior high teacher, a home school mom, and a member of the Grammy Award winning Saints Unified Voices Choir, directed by Gladys Knight. She released a Christian Blues CD in 2007 called “What I Know” – also available on Amazon and wherever digital music is sold. She has written five novels, Running Barefoot, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue and coming October 20, Making Faces.
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1st prize
Kindle Paperwhite
$50 Amazon Gift Card
Signed set of all 5 of Amy Harmon’s books!

2nd prize
Signed copy of Making Faces
$25 Amazon Gift Card

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