Blog Book Tour | “More than the Tattooed Mormon” by Al Carraway This should have been renamed to better describe the internal light Carraway ebbs out of her spirit and onto the page!

Posted Saturday, 13 February, 2016 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “More than the Tattooed Mormon” direct from the publisher CFI (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Note:

My copy of this non-fiction release was delayed in reaching me, however it was due to illness (December) and the sudden death of my cat (January) that prevented me from being in a position to review this title prior to now. I am thankful the publisher understood my absence from the blog tour directly and allowed me the grace to pick up this book at a point in time where both my mind and my heart was clear to enjoy reading it at long last.

I decided to write Ms Carraway before I read her book:

When I participate in a blog tour, odds are in good favour I’m going to do a lot of research in regards to the author and the story prior to accepting the tour. Sometimes I take a leap of faith and go blind into reading a book based on a blurb or an expanded synopsis; sometimes it’s the mere idea of what I will find inside a book that is enough to draw my eye curious enough to yearn to read it’s contents. In this regard, I happily wanted to know more about the ‘girl’ outside of the moniker of “Tattooed Mormon” as I had a feeling there was a ‘story’ in of itself within the name!

Through my readings of her blog, I felt compelled to reach out to Ms Carraway on Twitter and happily sat thoughtfully before composing a series of tweets I hoped she see and realise someone was trying to send her a bit of an uplift of joy tucked inside a bit of reassurance.

It reminded me of the random acts of kindnesses I like to give to people in my community, as we never know when we are going to be someone’s light of grace or a shelter in a storm they haven’t yet shared with us. We all need a lift of spirit and a bit of extra joy to help encourage us if we’re feeling a bit low or if appearances get us feeling a bit bogged down. The tweets I wanted to send Ms Carraway were the impressions of a book blogger who was soon to be a reader of a memoir I hoped would become one of my treasured discoveries, as when it comes to real-life biographies and autobiographies; the memoir is slowly becoming my favourite. Especially when it falls into a category of “Creative Non-Fiction” where the voicing of the narrative within reads more easily than traditional non-fiction, as it’s more like reading a story of fiction than a true account of a person’s life.

I don’t remember receiving a reply or seeing her account mark my tweets with a favourite, but I hoped perhaps, even if she only read them in a fleeting glance, in some small way she knew to me she was already ‘more than’ the Tattooed Mormon. She was a woman whose light is brightly shining to everyone who walks a life full of faith and the blessings it bestows to all of us. Rock on, Ms Carraway and never feel like your light is dimmer due to your tatts; if anything they are a happy signal of your artistic spirit and the joy of artistic expression during a time in your past they meant something to you. None of us are limited by appearances or choices we made in the past we might regret lateron; the best we can do is embrace all of who we are and hope that people ‘see us’ rather than ‘see past us’ or ‘through us completely’.

Blog Book Tour | “More than the Tattooed Mormon” by Al Carraway This should have been renamed to better describe the internal light Carraway ebbs out of her spirit and onto the page!More than the Tattooed Mormon
by Al Carraway
Source: Direct from Publisher

Being baptized and following the Lord has made Al's life harder than it ever was before. She endured criticism from friends and family for becoming Mormon. She faced harsh judgements from Church members for her appearance. She gave up everything and felt more alone than she ever had in her life. All because she chose God.

Now she shares an up-close look at how trusting God has led her to places she never expected. As a blogger, YouTuber, and award-winning public speaker, her message has reached millions. Sharing her love of the Savior, Al goes beyond her own conversion and encourages readers to choose God above everything else.

This uplifting book inspires readers to build a true relationship with the Lord that will bring them real, lasting happiness.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462117208

Also by this author: You've Got This

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by CFI (imprint) Cedar Fort Inc

on 17th November, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 176

Published By: CFI (imprint) of Cedar Fort Inc (@CedarFortBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #TattooedMormon, #BookOfMormon, & #LDSFaith

#INSPY #nonfiction

About Al Carraway

Al Fox Carraway

Al Fox Carraway has spent the last four years inspiring the world with her story of conversion, redemption, and finding faith. As a blogger and award-winning public speaker, her message has reached millions. This up-close look at her life will show you what it means to truly trust in the Lord.

Photo Credit: Al Fox Carraway headshot by Beka Price Photography.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I would imagine the Ms Carraway I met inside More than the Tattooed Mormon would be the very same woman I’d meet in person. Her personality is electric and it leaps off the page as if she is standing right beside you and chattering with you about her life’s story rather than having a copy of a transcript version of that story in your hands. I wanted to wait to pick up her book when I had come through the stressfulness of the past few months with a clearer mind where I could soak inside her memoir and appreciate reading it with genuine interest.

It so happens that the night I picked it up I had returnt from a women’s fellowship at church wherein I started attending these Friday joy fests for multi-generational and multi-ethnic women a year ago come March. There is such a synergy of pure joy inside these meet-ups, where you can laugh and find yourself smiling into a smirk with such an ease as to feel your a part of a sisterhood. Women I never met until that initial meeting are now my monthly sisters in Christ, who come together for wicked good food (they are seriously some of the most awesomely talented pot luck wonder cooks I’ve met in a long time!) and wicked good socialising!

There is a vibe of conjoined fellowship intermixed with a heap of ladies who have their own everyday stresses to sort through who want to decompress in an atmosphere of light-hearted fun and a bit of devotional focus to boot. It’s a time where women can be themselves, reach out to others in their community (as this is a community women’s fellowship; ergo ‘non-denominational’) and just ‘relax’ a bit from their lives. I hadn’t quite put my finger on why we kept meeting ladies from Chicago until tonight, but I have to hand it to people from the Windy City: they are seriously wicked Mid-Westerners who know how to kick up the pulse of joy and happily converse with strangers who soon become their sisterhood friend!

It’s outside of this experience that I entered Ms Carroway’s life and found myself tucking into her story and appreciating her spin on how to tell her tale with a heap of her personality intact on the page!

Ms Carraway initially talks about her upbringing in Rochester, NY where she sporadically attended the family’s Catholic Church and only had a smattering of an idea about Christ and the origins of how religion and spirituality can transform a person’s life. She was happily raised alongside two sisters and had an extended family who showered her in love and goodwill. It wasn’t until a considerable time lateron in her twenties, she felt an emptiness she wasn’t sure she could place and a willingness to learn more about God and Christ in a way that surprised her as she started to reach out to LDS missionaries in her area.

Right in the middle of her relating her life prior to stepping inside her new walk of faith and putting down the bones of a new path completely, she mentioned her fear of Death. I took stock of this, as I grew up with a father who worked in a field adjacent to the Medical Examiner and Morgue. In fact, I knew so much about Death and what happens shortly after life is expelled you could say, I was longing for the day to focus on the ‘living’ rather than the ‘dead’, as it wasn’t my calling. Like most fields of families it can be all consuming and although, I enjoyed my time spent with the bereaved and the dead; let’s just say when that chapter ended for my Dad, I felt it ended for all of us. A chance to have a renewal of change and to re-focus ourselves on ‘something’ outside of that norm and do something wholly different than what we had experienced in my growing years. We’re still sorting out the details on this new chapter, but one thing I can say, I never feared Death; I knew it too well to find it fearful, but it did bring a mindfulness on mortality. There is a cycle to life, and although we cannot fully understand how we exit this life and begin another in Heaven; there is one solemn truth we all can accept: we can choose our living hours. We can sort out how we want to live and how we set our attitude to the trials and tribulations that come our way. Strangely, I never quite realised how different I grew up, until I started to notice that others my age and older knew so much less about Death and the circumstances that can lead up to it. In some ways, I think a balance of the two is better; too much information is taxing and too little is soul-wrecking.

As her path towards the Church expanded, her inner circle depleted; including the full-on walk-out of her family. I could understand why her friends abandoned her, as difficult as it sounds, sometimes friends cannot follow the next chapter of your journey. They can disappear before you can even recognise the moment they were fading away from you. Family on the other hand is a harder pill to swallow because thick and thin, family should stand by you. Sadly, I also know family can disappoint you, but even during this moment of trial, Carraway doesn’t falter from explaining the truth of her story.

I definitely concurred with Carraway about leaning on our faith and trusting our tomorrow will be better than our yesterday; especially during times of difficulties where obstacles might run deep but Hope flickers through the uncertainty and is a mainstay towards a new chapter. I appreciated reading the story about the men at sea and how their faith might have questioned the merits of the storm, they kept tucked inside their beliefs and chose to ride out the storm (in this case, it was quite a fierce one!) whilst finding themselves fully protected and guided. These are the types of parables and life affirmations I like finding inside scriptures because they cross-relate to both the originating time they occurred and modern day life. What a bounty of reassurance and the strength to see that if you allow yourself to trust what you cannot yet see or know, things will work out; even far better than you could predict! Patience is part of the essential ingredients but so too, is blind faith and a building of trust. Adversities strengthen us and deepen our faith if we allow the circumstances we transition out of to have purpose and merit.

Carraway brings up a solid point about sociological judgements by people who would rather judge you on the outset of what they perceive as your living truth rather than getting to know you and see you as you are outside of that lens. People have a way of passing judgement without justification all the time; and like Carraway mentions, you have to dig deeper to transition past this hiccup of human nature. It’s hardly fair but too often I think people are too quick to dismiss what isn’t familiar and if your different or stand out individually from the pack, I think people have difficulty in accepting you with an open heart. Too many times I think people are focusing so much on living through another day or achieving a goal of their own, they forget to take the time to get to know someone new; who could very well be the one friend they never knew they would need or want. This is another life lesson stitched inside Carraway’s story and one that should be highlighted: judge not as you would be judged yourself.

Carraway puts it a different way, but in my family we have a saying “their walk is longer than ours” in reference to those whose walk of faith is hindered or burdened in a way that yours is not. Perhaps someone you know or are acquainted with are not quite living as wholly true to faith-filled life but you can recognise this and instead of feeling upset or angry by their behaviour, you simply hope they will one day see the errors of their ways and respond differently. Sometimes it’s as simple as acknowledging the choices that make you cringe to observe or the words you wish they could take back for kinder ones. The phrase is multi-purpose and blessedly a quick-step towards prayer; as we all have to remember, despite our hesitation the best way forward is to pray for change. Not quite as easy if you see someone acting or talking inappropriately but it takes patience to recognise a stillness of spirit is better than a vexated one!

I completely agree with Ms Carraway on labels and the labeling our society is infamous for doing to each other; in her case ‘Tattooed Mormon’ took on a life of it’s own. On smaller levels, (for those of us outside the public eye) each of us I am sure has been labelled something in error by people who are judging us out of hand and without the benefit of understanding where their judgement is stemming from. Is it ignorance? Intolerance? Misunderstanding? Or outright cruelty to inflict harshness on someone who doesn’t deserve such a hard glare of repute? I think people should take a step back, ask themselves one question and then re-enter the choice to speak out to someone. The question they should ask is “am I accepting someone as I would want to be accepted myself? or am I allowing a prejudice to guide my actions?”

More interesting to me, is that Ms Carraway isn’t her moniker to me, as for some reason, she’s simply Al the girl with the heart lit aflame with a spirit of light shining outwardly as bright as a lighthouse (hence the tweet reference!). She has this contagious smile, an effervescent personality and a conviction of honesty that is a welcoming warmth of insight. Maybe I saw her as she hopes she is seen? All I know, the label isn’t my impression of her because I saw Ms Carraway before I ever noticed one of her tattoos.

If you ever wanted to read a personal journal about a woman in transition out of her past and giving back life lessons etched inside memories and grounded by scriptures of influence, this is definitely a book you should be reading. Carraway has crafted her memoir to read as both a guide towards your own lifepath’s intention to lead a faith-driven life but also, a learning curve about the curious little moments in our lives that feel as though they are anchoured down with lead weights attempting to disrupt our path. She gives solid examples of how to work through your most stressed emotions and how to celebrate the highs of your joys; all of which leads back to a bountiful of blessings and shared joy with your heavenly Father.

It’s a fast paced tribute to the road she’s walked and the road she’s on right now. This is only one small fragmented glimpse of her life, away from her blog, motivational speeches and YouTube videos; this is Al Carraway raw and real, being vulnerable to you and hoping to inspire you on your own journey. She has broken down the memoir into different stages of growth and introspection, allowing you to appreciate what she is saying as it relates back to your own life. You can read this more than once to gain more out of it, but even on a first reading you are struck by the calm fortitude her faith grants her to have as she lives the faith she is writing about. She wrote a memoir that doubles as a devotional – a easy cross-referenced book where each time she’s relating a personal antidote of her life, she’s attempting to get you to re-think about similar times inside your own.

One of my favourite sections of all is when Ms Carraway shared how she met her husband; her love story was the perfect surprise to place towards the end of the memoir itself. You were hoping she might mention how she met him and how they drew together in love and the spirit of a shared walk of faith, but I couldn’t have smiled more than I am now getting to read it. I love stories of Romance and true love. Partially why I read so many wicked sweet Romances is because relationship-based fiction is as appealing as real-life stories where love conquers all and envelopes you in a happiness you never knew you could find.

postscript:

I definitely appreciated reading Ms Carraway’s memoir, as her sparklements of inner joy and a calming sense of self translate well through her narrative voice. She will make you feel lifted up in her graceful mannerisms and her spunky way of relating her life’s story; spunky because she’s fully up front, honest and realistically centred on how what she did in the past defined her in the present and set the course for her future. Same as it would for any of us, but it’s how she wrote her story that was the most entertaining. It’s not a simple story about a girl who woke up in the middle of her days and realised she was missing a key piece of the puzzle; it’s more than that, it’s a transformative story with an inspiring narrator.

I haven’t been this pleasantly surprised by a memoir since I read #3000MilesToEternity about two brave souls who shared their lives and their hearts throughout the pages of their conjoined memoir (the Pannells, I’m waving at you!). I had a smidge of a foreshadow I might feel this way as I read Ms Carraway’s memoir, as there was something about her story from the moment I first read about it that made me inclined to think about #3000MilesToEternity. Sometimes you get a sixth sense about books and the stories you are keen to be reading next; there is something quite wicked sweet about how stories find you.

I usually disclose that I’m a non-LDS Protestant when I’m reviewing non-fiction from Cedar Fort, as incredible as it might sound, I’m one of the few who are like me and who find joy in reading LDS Fiction and Non-Fiction. For myself personally, I study World Religions and fully embrace all faiths and religions which fall under INSPY or Inspirational Fiction as it’s a branch of literature that is not only faith-based but inspiring to read. The reason I bring it up at the end of my ruminative thoughts is simply because despite the differences we have between us, I celebrate everyone who has a heart lit on fire with the Light of God; surely, this is the best takeaway you will find when you pick up More than the Tattooed Mormon!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Follow the Virtual Road Map of the Blog Tour:

More than the Tattooed Morman blog tour by Cedar Fort Publishing & MediaFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same story to read.

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Sharing during: #NonFicFriday + #NonFictionFriday

I am being more mindful of participating in the book blogosphere and twitterverse event where nonfiction is celebrated, consumed and happily chatted about on blogs and tweets! This year, I am finding my heart equally spent inside fiction & non-fiction a bit more than in years’ past. Thus, I am striving towards either featuring a non-fiction book on Fridays and/or sharing the books I’ve read during the week on this event! Let’s read more non-fiction, together!

#NonFictionFriday hosted by Doing Dewey. Badge created by Doing Dewey and used with permission.

Shared via Doing Dewey

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Cover art of “More than the Tattooed Mormon”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Al Carraway and the blog tour badges were all provided by Cedar Fort, Inc. and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter. #NonFictionFriday hosted by Doing Dewey. Badge created by Doing Dewey and used with permission.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read:

Comments on Twitter:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

Divider

Posted Saturday, 13 February, 2016 by jorielov in Ancient Civilisation, Art, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Biblical History, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Calligraphy, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Children's Literature, Christianity, Creative Arts, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Historical Perspectives, History, Illustration for Books & Publishing, Illustrations for Stories, Important Figures of Ancient Times, Indie Art, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired by Stories, Juvenile Fiction, Lessons from Scripture, Literature for Boys, Mormonism, Naturalist Sketchings, Non-Fiction, Re-Told Tales, Religious History, Short Stories or Essays, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, World Religions




All posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! I try to visit your blog in return as I believe in ‘Bloggers Commenting Back’. Comments are moderated. Once your comment is approved for the first time, your comments thereafter will be recognised and automatically approved. All comments are reviewed and continue to be moderated after automated approval. By using the comment form you are consenting with the storage and handling of your personal data by this website. Once you use the comment form, if your comment receives a reply (this only applies to those who leave comments by email), there is a courtesy notification set to send you a reply ticket. It is at your discretion if you want to return to re-respond and/or to continue the conversation established. This is a courtesy for commenters to know when their comments have been replied by either the blog's owner or a visitor to the blog who wanted to add to the conversation. Your email address is hidden and never shared. Read my Privacy Policy.

2 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “More than the Tattooed Mormon” by Al Carraway This should have been renamed to better describe the internal light Carraway ebbs out of her spirit and onto the page!

    • Hallo, Hallo Katie!

      *waves!* Sorry for the short delay in getting back to you! I feel as if time swept me away a bit from getting to my comments! I loved finding your last notes, as I was so delighted finding out you were tweeting about my non-fiction reviews for #NonFictionFriday! I have new ones coming up soon, as I’m resuming my non-fiction reads this month! Each of them are a different kind of memoir than you might expect to find all at once – which is why I love them dearly! Stay tuned, as I look forward to sharing my thoughts about each of them!

      This is why I love seeking out the non-fiction I am finding – it’s as though you are as you say listening to a friend telling you a story! I find the best non-fiction reads best like it’s either a wicked keen novel you want to devour or a personal friend sharing a portion of their life you’ve not yet heard.

      Sadly, I never heard from the author – Ms Carraway – I tried tweeting to her a few times more, but I never received a response.

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)