Forget Me – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Chelsea Vanderbeek

In Forget Me, by Chelsea Vanderbeek, readers will find an intense story about a teenage girl, who is facing deep self-loathing. She doesn’t want to keep living and sadly takes her own life. But, she doesn’t disappear. Instead, she’s forced to stick around and see what happened to those around her. Before long she regrets her decision to end her life, but whether or not she can go back and change things is questionable.

With such heavy content, it is highly advisable to use caution when considering whether or not to read Forget Me. Other than the painful topic at the core of this story -deep depression and suicide- it’s an impactful tale. However, it was a bit confusing early on as to why Sabine felt so compelled to hate herself and her life. There were only mild clues as to why she was so deeply depressed. This could have been explored more, which might help readers relate more and feel a deeper connection to the the protagonist.

Chelsea Vanderbeek’s Forget Me is a deeply Christian young adult fiction, which will be a powerful draw for some readers. It was most certainly a gripping tale that moved through Sabine’s experiences of being a tortured soul while offering beautiful poetic lines early on in the story. Sabine is a poet by nature and writes glorious poetry. Eloquently dealing with the topic of depression and suicide is not an easy task, but Chelsea Vanderbeek did it smoothly and took an honest look at the young girl’s feelings without hiding from the fact that many people do take their own lives. By taking this approach to a fictional story Vanderbeek offers a way to find hope and healing for not only Sabine, but for readers or friends or family of the reader.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Ornamental Graces – Entered in Holiday Book Contest

4 Stars

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Carolyn Astfalk

Ornamental Graces by  Carolyn Astfalk is a romance novel that explores some tough topics. There are themes surrounding faith, lust, death, abortion and the callings of the heart. With the beautiful, yet vulnerable, Emily and the pitiable Dan, we are given a strong romance that shows the path of two characters and how they finally get the ending they both deserve.

Being a Christian romance novel, there is a focus on the emotions of the characters rather than steamy love scenes. That being said, many of the “dates” and romance sequences are predictable and feel clichéd. There are rolls around in the mud, picnics in classrooms and fun in the pool. It sometimes reads like a culmination of romance films, and this is a pity as there is something wonderfully honest in the love between Dan and Emily. That being said, this book’s “sweet” factor may work with readers who are looking for a quintessential romance story.

The real winners of Ornamental Graces are the characters. Dan is a broken man who slowly begins to heal both with Emily and with his renewed faith in God as well. He is well developed, and by the end, female readers will no doubt appreciate this softer male character. The inclusion of Emily’s family, as well as significant events around Christmas time, add a level of warmth to this novel which ties it up nicely. Astfalk’s good writing will hold your attention and the book has been well edited.

Overall, Ornamental Graces is a sweet romance that will give readers a real study of emotions and how love can grow despite distance, heartache and emotional struggle. It pits two passionate characters against each other in a romance that sometimes feels hopeless. Through prayer, patience and a lot of private moments, we are met with a love story that will make its readers smile.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Starfish Street

Today’s Featured Author and Book

Starfish Street

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Book Description:

Most new college graduates are trying to figure out what they are going to do with their lives. That is just the case with Magnolia who goes by Maggie. She is a cynical, art graduate who has become bogged down with her life circumstances. She finds herself at home with her fragile, single mother when she receives a call from her great-aunt Lorraine. 

Lorraine offers Maggie a summer job watching over her cottages in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Maggie accepts the offer and her experience at the beach changes her life entirely. Maggie’s particular affections for the magnificence of creation and the kind people at the beach lead her to a new life guided by faith. 


June Bliss

June Bliss 2015

June Bliss had a song in her heart and a love for big productions from the very beginning. Since every song and every production needs a good story, writing became an obvious career choice for her. Bliss originally worked full time at Nickelodeon and then transitioned into freelance video production and writing. She is a graduate of Biola University and completed a program at The Los Angeles Film Studies Center. She hopes to continue telling stories in various mediums. Bliss resides in New Mexico with her husband Ben and her faithful writing companion Sasha the chow chow.

Learn more at


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Peace and Love,

Rob and Janelle



Have you checked out the 2016 Book Awards Contest yet?

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Authors Talk About It Book Award Contest

Whether you’re a first time author or a New York Times Best Seller this book award contest is for you.

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Yes!  Excellent!

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God Asked Her, “Do you like me?”

Tabitha Vinson wants to remind women of their purpose.  She comes from a strong Christian perspective in her book, Check Your Keys.  However, she stated that you can tweak the messages within the book to fit with your own spiritual views.

She shared with us that at one point when she was conversing with God he asked her, “Do you like me?”  She was stunned by such a question.  Of course, during our interview she shared her response with us.  After all, there is a difference between loving and liking.

The concept for this book came from a sermon she gave in Indiana a few years back.  Tabitha is passionate about helping women have different strategies to guard their hearts and live joyful lives.

Keys front cover (1)

You can get your copy by clicking here.

Power stance red & black 2 (1)

A trusted voice on authentic worship, Tabitha Vinson, dubbed the Motivational Worshiper™, has penned the Check Your Keys series. A book designed for women who wish to reclaim their most valuable asset – their Internal Wealth. Her workshops, dance presentations, writings and plays offer an incomparable panoramic view into the spirit of authentic worship and spiritual surges. Learn more at


Honoring our spiritual keys,

Drs. Rob + Janelle Alex, Ph.D.

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