Thursday, January 30, 2014

{Book Review:} Worth the Wait by Laura Jackson

18275917My Review:
A charming debut from Jackson!

Worth the Wait is an emotional story about a young woman, named Ellie, struggling to find herself after her world is turned upside down. Ellie's long-time boyfriend has cheated on her, her mother has cancer, and it's all she can do to keep her head above the water. I admit, I'm tough to please when it comes to the YA genre, but Jackson did a fair job presenting a real issue in our society.

Ellie Lansing is a frustrating character. She made several decisions I felt were completely stupid, however, Jackson made her far too likable to give up hope. Since I'm a former homeschooler, I may never understand private or public schools, nonetheless I appreciated that Jackson portrayed Grace Preparatory Academy (a Christian private school) with less than perfect students. Simply because you attend a Christian school doesn't mean you are one or that you act like one.

As far as the heroes go, in this story I thought Dylan was a real slime ball. Josh, on the other hand, was an excellent example of what young women should look for in a husband: a deep love for Christ. I suppose I could understand Ellie's struggle in her heart on a small level, but no deeper than that.

The core message of the novel is about abstinence, but something I think Ellie failed to understand, at least until the latter part of the book, is that following God's laws simply because you've been taught to is not the right motive. You should follow God's laws because you want to. There's a lot more about this that I could say, based on some recent personal studies of mine, but I'll save that for another time. I truly liked that Jackson brought up this issue in such a realistic manner. She executes it well. All in all, I enjoyed Worth the Wait and I recommend it to teen girls for its great theme.

I received an ebook copy of this book in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Back Cover:
Ellie Lansing has a picture-perfect life with a close-knit family and the perfect boyfriend. But her world is suddenly knocked off center when her drool-worthy boyfriend cheats, and her always-has-it-together mother is diagnosed with cancer. Ellie doesn’t get it. She always does the right thing—doesn’t God owe her a happy life? Through her heartache, Ellie learns that sometimes what seems like the end is really just the beginning and that what God has for us is always worth the wait.

Interested in reading? Worth the Wait releases Feb. 4th, you can pre-order here at Amazon. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

{Book Review:} Sixteen by Emily Rachelle

20565633My Review:
A marvelous debut from Emily Rachelle!

Last week, Emily stopped by to share with us the theme of Sixteen. Today I'm excited to share with you my thoughts on her novella. Simply put, Sixteen is about a mother telling her daughter a story about her mistakes.

Despite the fact it's short, Emily did a wonderful job making us care about the characters. That being said, many teens can probably relate to Nicole, or Nikki as we come to know her. I can't say that I did. I'm afraid I relate more to Christy in this instance, (haha!) but I can say that I'm proud of how Nikki responded when faced with the consequences of her actions.

I thought the ending was a bit unrealistic, but that's just my opinion. The rest of the story was delightful. I read it in one sitting. My favorite scene has to be near the end between Christy and Nikki. I won't spoil it though, so you'll have to grab a copy for yourself! ;-) If you're looking for a quick read that will leave you feeling good, you ought to give Sixteen a shot. I recommend it to girls fourteen and older. (Nikki sleeps with a guy, though we are not given any details, and as a result there is a pregnancy.)

I received an ebook copy of this novella from the author, thanks, Emily!

Back Cover:
Nicole "Nikki" Johnson has never gotten along with her mother, so when she meets a great new guy, it's no surprise that Matt's age is all her mom sees. Just because he's twenty-four and she's sixteen doesn't mean he's a creeper! Thankfully, Nikki's dad allows Nikki and Matt to be together and see how things work out. Their relationship is fantastic and Nikki is on cloud nine...

Until the Fourth of July picnic, when things go too far. Now a very changed Nikki has to make choices that will affect her every relationship - with Matt, her parents, her best friend, and most importantly, God.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sixteen by Emily Rachelle {Guest Post!}

Hey, everyone! Today I am happy to share with you all about Sixteen, a fabulous, new, YA book by my friend, Emily Rachelle. For this stop on the tour, she'll be sharing with us the theme of Sixteen.

Here's the back cover copy:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-a0wBSZgxvZQ/Uta74lSGz0I/AAAAAAAAAgg/Ncd7FPxXJio/s1600/Sixteen+WEBSITE+USE.jpg
Nicole "Nikki" Johnson has never gotten along with her mother, so when she meets a great new guy, it's no surprise that Matt's age is all her mom sees. Just because he's twenty-four and she's sixteen doesn't mean he's a creeper! Thankfully, Nikki's dad allows Nikki and Matt to be together and see how things work out. Their relationship is fantastic and Nikki is on cloud nine...

Until the Fourth of July picnic, when things go too far. Now a very changed Nikki has to make choices that will affect her every relationship - with Matt, her parents, her best friend, and most importantly, God.

All right, here's Emily!

In a previous post in this tour -- “The Story Behind Sixteen” -- I touched on all the different themes this story has taken on and discarded through the writing and editing process. The one that held on to the end is that of mother-daughter relationships. Fitting, considering the story’s original intent as a Mother’s Day gift.

The story focuses on a girl in 1995 named Nikki Johnson. She loves dance, hates wearing red, and hasn’t gotten along with her mother for years. Mrs. Johnson is too uptight, too overbearing, too perfectionist and my-way-or-the-highway. Nikki just doesn’t understand her, and she’s certain her mom knows nothing about her.

However, this isn’t the only mother-daughter relationship spotlighted in the book. The opening scene doesn’t actually introduce us to Nikki -- the first character we meet is Claire. She’s spunky and wild, as much a rebel on the outside as Nikki is inside, with her short purple hair and shredded jeans. Her mom isn’t quite the issue Nikki’s is, but they’re not always on the best of terms, either.

My mom and I have always gotten along better than any other teen girls and their mothers that I know. So why would I write a story like this -- and focus on such tension-filled relationships?

Honestly, I don’t know why. I just know this story came from something bigger than me. The more I learn about my friends’ relationships with my mom, the more shocked I am. Stereotypes of teen-to-mom relationships seem mild in comparison to real-life tales shared in the restroom while adjusting hair or fixing lip gloss. And this is coming from a homeschooled church girl! How crazy must life outside “the sheltered” be?

I don’t want to give away spoilers, but as with any story’s conflict, Sixteen does end with both Nikki and Claire on a different page with their mothers than they started. (Pun totally intended.) My friends’ stories of constant ‘momma drama’ tugged at me, in not a good way. I guess part of me hopes moms will get insight into their daughters’ heads, and fellow daughters will see there is hope for peace, in reading my book.

Emily RachelleBorn in Panama, Emily Rachelle has traveled throughout the country and the world with her Air Force family. Currently, she lives with her parents and three brothers in middle Georgia. While Emily enjoyed reading as far back as she remembers, writing didn't come to her until she learned the forms of poetry and the basics of story in fourth grade. Since then, she's written scripts for homeschool dramas, poems for birthday presents, and stories for friends and family to enjoy. Sixteen is her debut into the professional world of words. You can find Emily at her blog, Emily Rachelle Writes, http://emilyrachellewrites.blogspot.com.

Wow, that's great, Emily! I've always known my relationship with my mom was different from other girls, and I never understood that. I hope your story influences positive relationships between mothers and daughters!

If you're like me, I bet you're begging to find out where you can purchase your own copy of Sixteen! Sixteen can be found at any of the following places:


Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/398239


LibraryThinghttp://www.librarything.com/work/14643326

Want to connect with Emily? You can find her in these places:
GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8818047-emily-rachelle

One last thing, don't forget to enter the giveaway Emily is hosting on her blog!
Be on the lookout of my review of Sixteen next week!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dare to Love Again by Julie Lessman {Revell Blog Tour!}

18059982My Review:
Another heartwarming release from Lessman!

Whenever I open a book written by Lessman, I expect two things. The first is my favorite of the two, a dear, Godly family to connect with on an emotional level. The McClares, and the O'Connors before them, fill this role fabulously. Everyone in these families have wormed their way into our imaginations in a way we will not soon forget. The second is romance. Lessman brings us "passion with a purpose," as her website states, and despite a couple adult-ish comments or thoughts, it's clean.

We met Allison McClare back in Love at Any Cost, and even then I loved her sweet spirit. Now, in Dare to Love Again, set a couple months after the first in the series, Allison is putting back the pieces of another broken heart. I can't say that I related to Allison, as we don't have a lot in common, but that doesn't stop me from becoming fond of her character. One of my favorite scenes in the book was a moment between Allison and her mother, Cait, and in essence, Cait told her to trust God with her heart. I loved that because it is so true.

If you're seeking a book to cuddle under a blanket with, you've found it! As I stated earlier in my review, the McClares are a wonderful family. Lessman has a knack for making you feel right at home with her characters as they struggle with the same things we do (i.e. trusting God, believing God, etc.). I eagerly await the next McClare's story, and I hope Meg is up next! I recommend this book to older teens (16 or older), though the book is written for adult women.

I received this book from Revell in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!!

Back Cover:
Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman, resorting to a mammoth hat pin for protection on her way to and from the school where she teaches. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast she quickly discovers she is no match for rum-soaked brute strength.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite jiu-jitsu, but it seems he has little choice in the matter. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But when Nick suddenly leaves town, Allison realizes he’s a fraud just like all the rest of the men she’s cared for. Does she dare love again?

Monday, January 20, 2014

{Book Review:} Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter

16122786My Review:
An enchanting, contemporary story!

I love books set in small towns, or at least small-ish towns. Chapel Springs is a perfect example of just that. Gossip spreads like a wildfire, and secrets don't last for long. In the first few opening pages, I felt like I had stepped into a movie. Hunter paints us a vibrant portrait of the town, the McKinleys, and Beckett, and she allows us to reach into the minds of both Beckett and Madison, offering readers a personal look into their thoughts and fears. This helped me connect with Madison especially. I'm glad Hunter brought us the story from two perspectives, with just one or the other, the story would lack something.  

The McKinleys are a tight-knit, well blessed family, and it isn't hard to like them. Madison McKinley is the oldest girl in family with an older brother, Ryan, and two younger sisters, Jade and PJ. Madison also had a twin, Michael McKinley, who died before we met the family. I loved getting to know them all, throughout the story, and I look forward to more books about them.

Losing a twin is painful and though it has been several years since the accident, the wound is still tender to Madison. She still has questions, not to mention the horrible nightmare that plagues her every night. A flaw in Madison that I recognized having struggled with myself, was her need to be strong. She couldn't or wouldn't fall apart. Instead of letting it all out, she bottled all her emotions in. It's an unhealthy practice and leaves wounds fresh. I won't go into detail, but there were two scenes related to this that I felt were beautifully written.

I wish I could go on and talk about Beckett, who, by the way, is a fantastic hero, but I will sum up and end my review here. This is the first book by Hunter I have delved into, and I am thoroughly impressed. Her writing style is unique and entices you to read further. I am eagerly looking forward to Dancing with Fireflies, the next in the Chapel Springs series. As far as things to know about this novel, there is kissing and an alcoholic, but it is generally clean. I'd recommend to readers 15 and older.

I won this book in a giveaway, no review required. Thanks, Rissi! ;-)

Back Cover:
Madison’s heart closed the day her twin brother died.

Since losing her twin, Michael, in a drowning incident, Madison has rejected the faith he lived by. Instead, she’s devoted her life to fulfilling Michael’s dream—winning the River Sail Regatta in their small Indiana town, Chapel Springs.

As she trains for the regatta, Beckett O’Reilly is teaching Madison to swim. But he’s keeping a painful secret from her—and as they grow closer, that secret threatens to upend their lives . . . and the lives of both their families.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Few Thoughts on Worship...

Worship is a matter of the heart. It isn't mindlessly singing songs you know like the back of your hand. It isn't sitting in church going through the motions. You can't worship the Almighty merely by attending church every Sunday.

Worship is about forgetting yourself, forgetting your problems and anxieties and just being

Worship is standing or sitting, hands high or lowered, offering our Creator all that we have. He doesn't care how much you have to give. He won't send lightening bolts down from heaven, because you didn't give enough. God isn't like that. He loves you. He appreciates you. And when you choose to give Him your everything, no matter what is happening in life, His heart swells with joy. He is pleased with you.

Sometimes to worship, you have to let go.

Some of the best, most powerful, amazing worship experiences I have had have happened when I'm struggling with something, whether it's fear, loneliness, or when my heart has been bruised. How, you ask? Because when my focus is on Jesus, all my mountains shrink into anthills. When my focus is  wholly and completely on Jesus, I surrender it all.

Worship is cool water to this thirsty soul. 
Worship blesses Him.
Worship encourages this weary heart.
Worship reminds me God is bigger than any of my problems or struggles.

What does worship mean to you?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

{Book Review:} Luminary by Krista McGee

My Review:
A thrilling sequel!

Back in the summer, Anomaly, the first in this series, was released. McGee left us wondering what would happen next as we waited for Luminary, and I was not disappointed in the least! She took the story in a direction that I generally anticipated, but she executed it much better than my expectations. I'm really looking forward to seeing how she wraps everything up with Revolutionary (July 2014).

I, like many of my friends, fell in love with Thalli not very far into the first book. Her character really evolved and she grew, not just physically but emotionally and mentally under the mentoring/teaching of John. Due to all this change in the first book, I was really intrigued to see what McGee was going to do with Thalli next. The end result? Thalli remains flawed, but watching her continue to grow into the young woman the Designer wants her to be reads very realistic. She's doing the best she can to trust in the Designer's plan for her, just like we are. I found her character more relatable in Luminary than I did in the first book.

Once again, McGee leaves us waiting. Sadly, the wait is a little longer this time, but I'm confident it will be worth it. :-) Luminary is filled with suspense, faith, and more of our favorite characters.
For those looking for a clean, Christian, dystopian novel, I really recommend they give the Anomaly Trilogy a try. This book is aimed at YA (young adult) readers.

I received this book from the Booksneeze program in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Back Cover:
Thalli thought escaping to the surface would mean freedom. But is she any less of an anomaly aboveground?

After escaping an underground annihilation chamber, Thalli, Berk, Rhen, and John find themselves fleeing across the former United States, aboveground for the first time. As the defectors cross the forgotten landscape, the three youths see things they had only read about on screens: horses, rain, real books—and a colony of unsanctioned survivors living the ancient way in a town called New Hope.
When these survivors reveal the truth of what happened years ago, Thalli is left unsettled and skeptical of everything she’s ever been told. Can she trust anything from the State, including her own feelings for Berk? When she volunteers for a peace mission to New Hope’s violent neighbor, Athens, her confusion mounts when the supposedly ruthless Prince Alex turns out to be kind and charming. Although everyone in New Hope warned her not to, she can’t help but fall for him.

Meanwhile, John’s unwavering faith in the goodness of the Designer begins to make its mark on Thalli’s heart. But can Thalli really come to trust in a generous, protective Designer who rules over all things? Would that not be setting herself up for another betrayal?

The time for her to decide is now . . . because the State is closing in.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

No One to Trust by Lynette Eason {Revell Blog Tour!}

18059987My Review:
Eason offers readers a unique thriller to keep you reading late into the night!

Oh. My. Goodness! This is the second title from Eason I've read and it blew me away. I wasn't quite in love with the other book of hers I read, When the Heart Stops, but I decided to give her another chance and I'm glad I did! I am totally impressed with No One to Trust as far as suspense/mystery/thriller titles go in the Christian genre. Every time I speculated how the rest of the novel would go, I was sorely mistaken.

The lead characters, a married couple named Kyle and Summer Abernathy, were a delight to read about, despite the obvious conflict and danger in their lives. Summer possesses a strength greater than I think she realizes, and her spunk helped her through all the challenges. She didn't wail and whine and complain like most women would, but rather was strong and handled everything going around her well, given the circumstances. I think it is for this reason that I like her character and personality so much.

Kyle embodies the hero most readers are familiar with, a man with a military background who now works/helps law enforcement, or as in Kyle's case, works as a C.I. Also as you have probably guessed, he naturally has run into some trouble. I appreciated the respect and love he showed his wife especially when they were at odds. I wish I could elaborate on what I mean, but... you'll have to read the book for yourself.

I am really, truly, glad I signed up to review No One to Trust. I simply love to curl up with a good mystery every now and then. As a final note, I really liked the theme of forgiveness and the comparison to a well known story in the Bible. I highly recommend this book to readers ages fifteen/sixteen and older and to fans of Irene Hannon and Dani Pettrey. As far as content goes, the villain is a real creep (he's obsessed with snakes. Disturbing, much?), but we don't see too much of him. There are several fights between good guys and bad and then people are shot and beaten.

I received a copy of this book from Revell in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Back Cover:
Summer Abernathy wakes up one morning to find her husband missing, three men in her home intent on finding him, and the life she's been living based on a lie. Which Kyle Abernathy did she marry? The computer programmer she met in line at the bank? Or the one who was apparently using that image as a cover story?

The search for her husband--and answers--takes Summer ever deeper into a world of organized crime where people are used one moment and discarded the next. And with her deepest relationship of trust already shattered, Summer doesn't know who to believe.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

{Book Review:} Outcasts by Jill Williamson

(Before I start the post, I want to take a moment to celebrate the fact that Writings of Rosie has hit 100 followers!! Thank you all very, very, much! All the praise, honor, and glory to the One Who made it all possible!)

17679367My Review:
There is no easy way to explain my utter excitement about reading and reviewing Outcasts over the internet.

I was "captivated" by Captives and thus the bar was set high for Outcasts, but to my great delight Ms. Williamson came through! Every time I assumed to know how the book would end I found myself wrong! I truly did not know what was going to happen (I still don't, actually. lol!), and I love that. Ms. Williamson has a great, realistic setting that draws you in and holds you prisoner. I can't imagine all the thought that went into making the Safe Lands reality in her imagination.

Oh, and the characters were wonderful! Though, I admit, I was slightly disappointed that there were fewer references to The Princess Bride, however, this didn't stop me from enjoying Levi and Jemma's banter. I may, and probably am, be in the minority on this one, but I am wary of Ciddah. I suppose I'll have to withhold final judgement until I've read the next book. :-) Shaylinn remains my favorite character of all.

Those who have read the first in this series will certainly love this follow up. The cover for Outcasts is simply beautiful. I love the different colors and how they blend together. This sequel raises the stakes and pushes our beloved characters closer to their destination, whether internal or external. All in all, a great story- one for my keeper shelf!

I highly recommend this series to young adult Christians who enjoy other popular dystopians, my only caution to newer readers is in both Captives and Outcasts there is some minor content thanks to Omar and simply the crude ways the Safe Landers are trying to stay afloat. I recommend to those ages fifteen and older.

I received an ARC copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks, Jill!

Back Cover:
The remnant from Glenrock is now living as rebels within the Safe Lands, looking for a way to find purpose in their lives. When a young rebel is murdered and his death points to a rebel leader, it's hard to know who to trust.

Levi tries to organize a plan to free the children and fights for respect as elder over those who'd rather go their own way. Omar tries to change his image of a traitor by donning a costume and going out into the night as a vigilante hero. And Mason stumbles onto a shocking secret about the Safe Lands meds, but his investigation just might get them all liberated.


Also, Jill is running/writing a neat story on her blog right now called Oynx Eyes and YOU the reader can help! Check it out!