Review: In the Midst of the Storm

A deadly threat. A woman in hiding. A man who isn’t all he seems.


Author: Latisha Sexton

Genre: Christian Suspense

Length: 360 pages


ABOUT

A deadly threat. A woman in hiding. A man who isn’t all he seems.

Olivia James is on the brink of success at a prestigious marketing firm. But when a deadly stalker sets his sights on her, she’s forced to leave everything behind and go into hiding to protect herself and those she loves.

While volunteering her marketing expertise to help a struggling café, she meets William Cooper. Their brewing attraction has her longing to share her secret and deepen their connection. But the closer she gets to Will, the more withdrawn and secretive he becomes.

Uncertain who to trust—even herself—can Olivia discern God’s plan and trust Him in the midst of the storm?


RATING:

4 Stars


REVIEW

In the Midst of the Storm is a Christian suspense filled with romance, action, and plenty of faith.

Plot
The plot was quite interesting and kept me wondering until the climax.

Characters
Olivia has been through so much, but I admired her courage and tenacity. Plus, she’s tall! Which is a huge bonus because tall FMCs are rare. I also liked her character arc and how she grew in her faith throughout the book. Also, I liked how she wasn’t worthless and helpless when problems arose. She could think for herself and not allow the circumstances to reduce her to a screaming, worthless mess like how we see most heroines portrayed.

Will was good too. We didn’t experience the events through his POV as often, but Sexton portrayed him so well through Olivia’s perspective that that’s not an issue.

The Creep: a.k.a. Stalker Man and He-Who-Needed-To-Be-Shot-With-An-Arrow is a menace. Honestly, I would have liked to have Will shoot this nasty piece of work because a lot of emphasis was put on Will’s Ute heritage and how good he was with a bow and arrow. But The Cretin’s ending suffices. And good riddance. Nasty soul.

Faith
I really, really liked the faith Sexton incorporated. It’s strong, real, and natural to the plot. The faith element is definitely one of the book’s strongest points.

Violence/Content Warning
Rape and torture are mentioned; the villain is truly sadistic; a torture scene may frighten sensitive readers; a character is smashed upside the noggin.

What I Wasn’t Fond Of
There was one thing I wasn’t quite sold on, and that’s the mention of zombies, vampires, The Walking Dead, and Twilight.

One of the childhood anecdotes regarding vampires was hilarious, and that wouldn’t have bothered me if that was the only time. But there were about five-to-six mentions of these, and I just wasn’t fond of that. I do not believe Christians should have anything to do with such elements of the dark supernatural. Plus, from what I hear, Twilight is just a mess of problems in and of itself.

That won’t bother all readers, though, so do not let this dissuade you from reading this book.

Conclusion
In the Midst of the Storm is a solid Christian suspense novel with a beautiful amount of faith and a heart-pounding amount of action. It sets it up well for Book Two, and I already ship those characters. I liked this book, and I’m not a suspense reader, so those who are into this genre will certainly enjoy In the Midst of the Storm.

*I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Celebrate Lit: Shattered Reflection Giveaway

f you like Christian fantasy, fairy tale retellings, adventure, light romance, and lots and lots of snow (did I mention lots?), then you may want to enter this giveaway!

I am giving away an autographed copy of “Shattered Reflection” and a $25 Amazon gift card. (U.S. residents only, please.)

HOW TO ENTER:


Go here, read the info, then enter! If you comment on the blog posts, you’ll receive even more points. A lot of people who don’t even read Christian fiction enter these giveaways, and I much rather send SR to someone who will enjoy it, rather than to an entrant on whom it will be wasted.

Writer’s Vision Blog Tour: A Writer’s Call to Action (Guest Post)

Greetings, everyone. Today I am participating in the Writer’s Vision Blog Tour, which celebrates the relaunch of the Christian community, Writer’s Vision, which was founded by Kaytlin Phillips. To read the interview with Kaytlin, go here.

I am a proud participant in Writer’s Vision, and I can attest that it is only one of two Christian writing groups that I support and suggest. And I’ve taken part in at least four.

What is Writers’ Vision?

Writers’ Vision is…

Writers’ Vision is a community where Christian creatives can connect and receive feedback, advice, encouragement, and even form friendships. Originally started in 2021 as a writers’ critique site, Writers’ Vision has expanded to include creatives of all levels! From authors to bloggers and even editors! Whether it is a community you are looking for or simply encouragement and advice, Writers’ Vision is here to help!

Our Community space where we share bits of our stories is open to a wide variety of genres and is for making your manuscript what you envisioned it could be.

The Community is a place where authors and bloggers can receive Beta reading services from readers and fellow authors. But it’s not just another critique group, it is a friendship, a coming together for the benefit of all involved.

What is Writer’s Vision’s Purpose?

Writing to Awaken Hope

The Official Blog of Writer’s Vision

Writing to Awaken Hope is the official blog of Writers’ Vision and is full of encouraging posts, interviews, stories, and even useful skills and resources for authors and bloggers alike.

Our Writing Challenges

Writers’ Vision host a writing challenge/competition every three months! The prompts range from sentences, word count restrictions, picture prompts, and even collages!

The challenge winner has their story posted on the Writers’ Vision blog and, of course, given bragging rights.

You don’t have to be a member of the Community to enter or even be subscribed to the blog.

You don’t have to be a member of the Community to enter or even be subscribed to the blog.

About the Founder

Hello, I’m Kaytlin!

A homeschool grad, blogger, influencer, and the author of the MG fantasy World of Silence, Co-Author with my sisters, Marisa and Jaiden, of the YA Fantasy series The Dragon Prince Chronicles, and have been featured in the Seize the Night Anthology.

I first discovered a love for writing at the age of seven when I plagiarized a Roy Roger’s film into my own book. Since then I’ve become more creative and write books of my own invention, which are usually stories of hope, purpose, and redemption.  More often than not you can find me with my nose in a book, whisked away to some fictional setting.

Through my stories I long to present the Savior and His overwhelming love for us, I want everyone to know they are never too far gone for God to save them and that everyone has a purpose!

Links!

Writers’ Vision: Home | Writers’ Vision (sistersthree3.wixsite.com)

Kaytlin Phillips (Linktree so they can find all my accounts and it’s easier): Kaytlin Phillips | Instagram, Facebook | Linktree

The Guest Post: A Writer’s Call to Action

by Kaytlin Phillips

Hey, folks! If you’re just now hoping on the tour, my name is Kaytlin Phillips and I am the founder of Writers’ Vision: A Christian Creative Community. When not over there you can find me on the blog I share with my sisters called Sisters Three or, more often than not, creating or getting lost in a made-up world. That’s a little about me and now time for my guest post!

— — —

I’m often asked why I like to read, or even why I write…here’s a super long answer to both those questions, I hope you enjoy it.

Dark versus light, good versus evil, but we know in the end the good guys win. That’s what first drew me to reading: I loved the struggle, the conflict of it all.

I’m heartbroken to say that books aren’t what they used to be…the simple truths have become blurred. So many of the newer books contain language, transgender, spicy romance content, and gory descriptions, destroying all the reasons I fell in love with reading in the first place. Have these things been around for years? Yeah, but they are even more prevalent today.

I hate to see good storylines, good concepts, go down the crapper because of the language or spice added in. There are so many books that I won’t read because of the unnecessary content.

So, what’s all my rambling for? I’m upset that books aren’t like they used to be, big deal…yeah, it is. Because this isn’t just adult books, this isn’t just New Adult books, this is Young Adult and Childrens’ books. Childhood is being snatched away, transgender is slowly being normalized, language is approved…stories with morals are dumped straight into literary trash bends with a big ‘OLD-FASHIONED’ label stamped on the front.

This is wrong. This is not right. I leave reviews on all the books I read with these ‘cultural norms’ that shouldn’t be norms at all, but amid hundreds of five star reviews my one star gets lost…there’s not much I can do…except warn people and beg you, my fellow writers, and readers.

Please! Please, let’s bring back good books. Let’s write books that echo of that beautiful land Above, books that tell of that Light that wins all wars, books that show us the definite, crystal-clear line between right and wrong. No blurring, just a clear line. Let’s bring back books with clean romance and no cussing. Let’s bring back books with morals, let’s dust off those “old-fashioned’ books and bring them back to the table. Let’s create a new normal!

Because honestly, normal is normal to who? Culture? Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (NKJV)

So, let’s break the mold. Let’s create our own normal!

We need books to empower our future generations. That show them how to be brave. That language is not okay, that transgender is not normal, that not all the world is full of gore and brokenness. That there is a Hope so much brighter than all this darkness.

Do we sit back and do nothing because it’s simply how things are…or do we stand up? Do we step up and fight back with our books? Will you stand for morals? For a new kind of normal? Or will you sit back and watch as the darkness grows?


Wasn’t that an amazing call to action? We are followers of the Light, and therefore need to exemplify what the Light represents.

Thank you so much, Kaytlin, for coming on Madi’s Musings.

Reader, if you’ve not signed up for Writers’ Vision yet, you should

Tour Schedule

Monday, Jan 16th

Writers’ Vision – Kick-Off Post

Vanessa Hall – Spotlight

Louise Taylor – Spotlight

Tuesday, Jan 17th

Pearl Christine – Spotlight

Sisters Three – Spotlight

Wednesday, Jan 18th

Louise Taylor – Guest Post

Allyson Jamison – Interview

Thursday, Jan 19th

Lorelei Angelino – Spotlight

Madisyn Carlin – Spotlight & Guest Post

Lillian Keith – Spotlight & Interview

Friday, Jan 20th

Kristina Hall – Interview

Vanessa Hall – Interview

Annabelle Batie – Spotlight & Guest Post

Abbigail Befus – Interview

A.J. Syngraféas – Guest Post

Weekend Off….

Monday, Jan 23rd

Joelle Stone – Guest Post

Louise Taylor – Interview

Writers’ Vision – Mid-Tour Recap

Tuesday, Jan 24th

Abbigail Befus – Guest Post

Issabelle Perry – Guest Post

Wednesday, Jan 25th

Saraina Whitney – Guest Post

Grace A. Johnson – Spotlight

Allyson Jamison – Guest Post

Thursday, Jan 26th

Grace A. Johnson – Interview

Sisters Three – About Writers’ Vision

Friday, Jan 27th

Grace A. Johnson – Guest Post

Annabelle Batie – InterviewWriters’ Vision – Wrap-Up Post

Review: A Wolf’s Rose

Can two broken people ever find redemption?


Title: A Wolf’s Rose: The Feyfolk Trilogy #1 (The Chronicles of Rinnil)

Author: M.C. Kennedy


About

Can two broken people ever find redemption?

Roshien Cochall has one goal: appear before the Gwyns and prove that she can move beyond the mistakes of her past. Nothing seems to move her closer to that goal, however, and she is left feeling stuck.

Lorcan Mactíre has been waiting patiently for nearly ten years to seize a cochall’s magic ring. Taking Roshien’s grandmother hostage, he lures Roshien to his fortress and holds her captive, confident that he will soon uncover her ring’s secret.

Is this Roshien’s opportunity for redemption? Can she somehow convince Lorcan to let her go—and maybe even take him with her? Or is this the beginning of her ultimate failure?


Rating:

5 stars


Review:

A Wolf’s Rose is an interesting blend of Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast.

Plot
As I said above, this story is quite interesting. Most retellings follow similar veins and some even have little to no creativity when it comes to expanding the story beyond the fairy tales, but A Wolf’s Rose definitely is not one of those. I’m not going to say much about the plot except that it was unique. The mesh of the two fairy tales is quite clever.

Characters
Roshien (or, Ro, as I called her) is a sympathetic character and the reader is instantly rooting for her. Her familial loyalty and protectiveness over her siblings and grandmother are endearing. Lorcan (I love that name) is an interesting character too. Honestly, I felt he was shorted just a smidgen because things happened so quickly, but he is a strong character that the reader both wants to love yet doesn’t at the same time because he can be such a pill.

Setting
Kennedy is excellent at creating settings and making the reader feel like they’re there, whether it’s a dark, cold cell, a cool, snowy day, or the bustling marketplace.

Other/Content Warning
What Kennedy is also excellent at is building the tension and creating one heart-stopping ending. The battle was imminent, and boy, was it a fight.

Content warning is as follows:

Characters are injured; characters die; fights occur; buildings are burned; the darkness is quite present and just ominously evil; and characters get smacked around. Magic is an intricate part of this tale.

Conclusion
I wasn’t sure where the faith aspect was included until I was well within the book’s pages. It’s slow to build, but then crescendos into a beautiful example of how God’s grace can extend to even the darkest of hearts and how salvation is attainable by all through Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. And that ending. My goodness. I was a bit peeved because I had grown to like a certain character by then, and then he’s gone, but I understand why it had to happen. It’s bittersweet, though, which is a sign of Kennedy’s ability to create emotion within the reader.

If you’re looking for a unique fairy tale retelling, this may be the book for you.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Introducing CROWN and SR1.5

I am excited to announce that CROWN and Shattered Revelation are now available for ARC signups.

Before we get to that, however, here are the official cover reveals. (Click on each picture to expand.)

(forgive the poor blurbs. They’re the best I can come up with right now.)

About CROWN

The Redwyn Chronicles, Book 0.5

Blurb:

Can a noblewoman-turned-goose girl stop a sinister plot before it’s too late?

All Isadora Fendalva wants is to secure aid for her struggling town, but a maid’s betrayal lands her in a commoner’s field herding geese. With her maid posing as Isadora and hatching nefarious schemes to do away with the royal family, Isadora finds herself relying on the fragments of her faith. Will God answer her pleas, or will evil schemes succeed and be the end of her and the royal family?


CROWN is a Christian fantasy fairy tale retelling of The Goose Girl.

Inspiration board


About Shattered Revelation

Where do you stand in the fight for life?

The Shattered Lands, 1.5

Blurb:

Where do you stand in the fight for life?

As rumors of war grip the Lowlands, a different fight is being waged in the small town of Maerima—a fight for the lives of unborn babies.

 With her town still reeling from the All Lands War, Lady Thana Nalloway’s only goal is to help her people recover—and protect them from more pain and bloodshed. When her council approaches her with a proposal that affects newborns and unborn babies, Thana signs it into law, believing she is saving babies from a potential life of horror and heartache.

 What Thana doesn’t expect is opposition from Boden Kedder, her fiancé. When two different worldviews collide and unavoidable ramifications must be faced, will a broken heart lead Thana to the undeniable truth?

 Shattered Revelation is a Christian fantasy story focusing on prolife vs. abortion.

Inspiration board

*The author offers her sincerest apologies (and condolences to the Marcus fan club) that she was unable to work in Marcus en Rhwyndor.


If you are interested in ARC reading one or both of these stories, you can sign up here.

I will send out the ARCs as soon as they are formatted, which will probably be next week.


This day has finally arrived. I don’t know their release dates, yet, but I do know one will make you laugh and I hope the other will make you cry (it certainly did me). SR1.5 did not go in the direction I first expected, but I am pleased with it nonetheless. These needed to be finished so I could get to work on the Little Mermaid retelling (which I still have no clue what to write).

For those who have been praying for me with the whole spam/one-star debacle, thank you. Your prayers are felt.

Which cover is your favorite? Which story are you looking forward to the most? Have you read IRON or Shattered Reflection yet?

I’d Appreciate Your Vote…

This is one of those rare weeks where I’m going to post four times (keep an eye out for a special post tomorrow).

Shattered Reflection is entered in the Author Shout Cover War!

I would be honored if you cast your vote for SR. It is one of the only, if not *the* only, Christian entry.

HOW IT WORKS:
1) Go here: https://authorshout.com/cover-wars/
2) Cast your vote for your favorite cover
3) You can vote daily! In fact, doing so significantly increases the cover’s chance of winning. One vote every 24 hours.

And that’s it!

***
Again, I would be honored if you cast your vote for “Shattered Reflection”! There are only a few days left, and SR is in second place and slightly trailing.

Cover Reveal: Dreams of the Heart

Today is the cover reveal for Dreams of the Heart by Penny Zeller, which is Book Two in Zeller’s Wyoming Sunrise series. (My review of the prequel, my review of the first book). This is an utterly gorgeous cover, and I think it will fit the story perfectly.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics.

Today Penny is a multi-published author of over a dozen books. She is also a homeschool mom and a group fitness instructor. Her desire is to assist and nurture women into a closer relationship with Christ.

When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, gardening, and playing volleyball.

Penny is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers.

You can connect with her here: https://linktr.ee/pennyzeller


ABOUT THE BOOK

Sometimes the hardest battles take place in the heart.

Poverty and abuse at the hands of her drunkard father leaves Hannah Bane trapped and alone. Without hope, she prays for a miracle just on the off-chance God will hear her. Will the handsome new deputy, who seems to be watching her every move, be Hannah’s one chance to escape the only life she’s ever known?

For as long as he can remember, John Mark Eliason has wanted to be a deputy sheriff. When a job opens in the nearby town of Poplar Springs, he eagerly accepts, but finds his greatest mission won’t be tracking down criminals and bringing justice to the ruthless Wyoming town, but saving a beautiful young woman he barely knows.

Will an unexpected answer to a difficult situation show how love can endure—and even thrive—in an unconventional situation? Or will fear and uncertainty keep two hesitant hearts apart?

In the sequel to Forgotten Memories, author Penny Zeller weaves a tender tale of faith, romance, and humor in a memorable story that reminds us God hears every prayer and has a plan for every life.

*Ignore the two ratings. Those are from vile spammers and trolls who are heaps of manure.


Have you read the other two books in this series yet? And are you excited for John Mark’s story? What are your favorite historical romance tropes? What do you think of the cover? (The topmost graphic is from the book’s A+ content.)

Warning Review: Unblemished by Sara Ella

A toxic romance, lack of admirable characters, and a convoluted plot are only a few reasons why this book should be avoided.


Title: Unblemished (The Unblemished Trilogy, Book One)

Author: Sara Ella

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Age: It’s supposedly written for YA, but all ages should avoid it.


ABOUT

Eliyana can’t bear to look at her own reflection. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world exists where her blemish could become her strength?

Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her like he does: normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.

But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird. Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.

Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?


RATING:

1.5 Stars


REVIEW:

Toxic and an allergy to conjunctions

I picked this book up about six or seven years ago, drawn in by the cover. I didn’t make it past the first two pages due to a gut warning. The book was promptly returned to the library. I should have left it there for good, but I decided a few days ago to check it out again and ensure I didn’t give it the wrong rating based off a six-year-old memory.

I didn’t.

Unfortunately, this book is the epitome of trashy YA, minus the explicit sex scenes.

Setting:
There were a variety of settings, from New York to different worlds. It became confusing over time.

Plot:
The typical plot you find in most YA books. Emotionally-inept/emotionally-constipated Teen has hidden powers/heritage that have been hidden from them since their birth until Specified Date. Teen must then save the world or an alternate world. Teen is loved by two of the opposite sex and a love triangle ensues.

Characters:
Usually there’s at least one character I end up liking. Regrettably, I disliked all of them.

El was whiny and immature. I admire her love, loyalty, and dedication to and for her mom, though.

Joshua was a complex individual. The best of the three, which isn’t saying much.

Ky is a semi-cretin. And a creep. It seems he’s the fave of fangirls, but I didn’t see it.

Faith/Spiritual elements:

No faith to speak of unless I missed something. This really disappointed me because this book is produced by a Christian publisher.

What I Liked/Was Okay With:

The cover is gorgeous. Absolutely stunning.

In the front of the book, Ms. Ella has a dedication to her mom, who died. Despite the issues with the writing style, Ms. Ella somehow expertly conveyed her pain, and El’s pain, and makes the reader experience it. This book feels like it’s an homage to Ms. Ella’s mother, and that mourning and loss is so tenderly conveyed.

What I Disliked:

Honestly, I skipped huge portions of this book just so I could reach the end. There are, of course, things about every book that are subjective. I will begin with those.

Subjectives:

I rarely harp on authors’ writing styles because that is subjected and what I dislike another reader will like. In most cases, it’s merely person preference (or personal unpreference). I also always say writing rules should be taken with a grain of salt. They are guidelines only.

El’s thoughts were not italicized as they should be. Whether that’s the author’s or editor’s fault, I don’t know. But it was jarring.

I can only describe the writing style as amateurish and mediocre at best. There were some funny things, of course, like El not wanting to smell like a hobbit (now that I think about it, the hobbits probably didn’t smell the best during their journey). We’re always told, never showed. There was a serious allergy to conjunctions (and, or, but), and the writing is extremely stiff, stilted, and disjointed. It’s annoying. We’re told the sounds, not hearing them via El’s awareness of her surroundings.

Examples:

Starbucks, just another block away.

Mom gasps, covers her mouth with a trembling hand.

She straightens, tightens the tie on her robe.

And then there’re the noises. If El’s walking down the stairs, it’s basically, “I descend the stairs. Creak. Groan.”

The writing style needs a lot of refinement. Every author has their own style. I get that. It makes us unique with our different voices. But this is not a style that works in the least.

The plot, also, both dragged and plodded, and it was confusing to boot. Granted, I did skip some chunks, but it was because I just couldn’t get into it. At all. It was so boring and dull.

Those are the subjectives. If nothing else was wrong with the book, I’d just give it a three star and toddle on. But there are some pretty serious issues that I can’t ignore.

Serious Issues:

Maybe I missed something, but it was presented like El and Joshua slept in the same home alone. Together. Without a chaperone. Yeah, I know, he’s her guardian, but there are obviously romantic feelings at play and there are only, what, four?, years separating them. That’s inappropriate at best.

El. Is so. Immature. Honestly, this book reminded me of why I dislike most YAs. Immature characters meant to save the world, but they can’t even generate a rational, mature thought. I understand she just lost her mom. That grief is indescribable. She’s going to be a bit out of it. But she doesn’t think. And she’s petty and jealous.

Case in point: El’s jealous that Joshua has other friends. (Quote:) “Friends who aren’t me. Friends who probably include girls.”

And she’s just a snot (which reveals the liberal bent in this book): she basically calls people idiots because they don’t know she doesn’t eat meat. Then she eats pepperoni. Then she’s a snob again when she smells bacon. (Is bacon good for you? Absolutely not. But there’s nothing wrong with eating it in moderation.)

And that brings up the clubbing scenes. El is 17, okay? She and friend go clubbing. She’s underaged. Apparently that doesn’t matter. While El doesn’t drink, she’s surrounded by alcohol, and it’s suggested that…other activities are in the making. E.g., her friend goes home with a guy. (Hint: they’re not married.)

El is told, “Your rack is your best feature, El. Flaunt it.”

Excuse me, how is that appropriate for a YA book touted as Christian and published by Thomas Nelson?????

It’s not.

Not at all.

There are other issues along the same line. El engages in close dancing with a guy she literally just met. Hands-on-his-shoulders and his-hands-on-her-hips type of stuff. Appropriate? I think not.

El then is willing to go on a ride with the guy she literally just met. Honestly, the wheel was spinning but the hamster was dead.

There’s a girl that’s pretty much naked (90% in El’s estimation). Ky has no qualms looking at her.

El notes that, one time when she wakes up in an unknown location, a soft, green robe covered her ‘naked body’. TMI. Really.

Then there’s the love triangle. With the way Joshua’s and Ky’s breaths are always in her ear and yada yada and El’s reaction to it, it’s far too sensual.

This is one of the things that really gets me. El purportedly “loves” both of Joshua and Ky. And she alternates drooling over them. Come on, YA authors. Quit writing “heroines” that are so weak-willed and weak-minded that they’re indecisive ninnies.

A movie is mentioned by name, a movie that includes sexual innuendos, and I quote from Plugged In, “A half-dozen s-words. One use of the euphemism “frikken.” Other blemishes include “h—,” “a–,” and British crudities “b-llocks” and “bloody.” God’s name is misused almost 20 times; Jesus’ once.”

Yep. Sounds like a movie that should be mentioned. In a book published by a Christian publisher. For YA.

Toxicity:

This book contains toxic romance. Joshua is a jerk to El, but she “still loves him”. Then both he and Ky lie to her (for a range of reasons) and she “still loves them”. The girl’s an emotional wreck and is setting herself up for abuse.

CONCLUSION:

Unblemished has a gorgeous cover and touches on mourning a loved one, but that’s where its positive qualities end. As a YA book, the Amazon page for Unblemished says it is written for those 13+. I shudder to think about anyone near that age reading this.

This book illustrates and proponents toxic romance, includes sensuality, a myriad of confusing plots and semi-plots, poor writing, and no faith. There is not one character who would make a good role-model, and as it is with most YA books, an abundance of lying occurs. But don’t worry. It’s for the best.

We need stories with clean, honorable romance, admirable heroes and heroines, and edifying plot lines, which is not what this book provides.

I really would have liked to see the Gospel presented. Instead of El finding her strength (what little she did find) in her identity from the world’s eyes, I would have loved it if she recognized her need for a Savior, became a child of God, and realized her worth and value are undeniable because she is created in the image of God. Not because she’s someone special in some mirror kingdom.

To conclude this lengthy review, Unblemished is not a book I recommend to anyone.

Cover Reveal: Where Faith Remains

I am woefully late on posting this, and my deepest apologies to Joy.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

1968: Though severely depressed and haunted by the demons that attack him day and night, amputee Russell Campbell has the will to live for one little girl who needs him: Eliza, the orphaned baby of a fallen comrade. When he adopts Eliza as his daughter, a miracle happens—he experiences the love he never thought possible. Through little Eliza, the only person to ever love him unconditionally, the Lord begins to heal his heart, although the demons don’t go away.

1975: Seven-year-old Eliza Campbell has everything, because to her, her adoptive father is everything. She loves him more than anything in the world—the man whose tender heart and gentle hand guide her in Christ. Eliza knows she and her papa don’t belong anywhere, except with each other. Others think they make an odd pair—a little black girl and a white Vietnam War veteran with battle scars both seen and unseen.

Russell has always taught Eliza that Jesus brings healing, but then tragedy strikes. Eliza’s earth is shattered, for her worst fear may just come true: a scary diagnosis might tear her father away from her forever. Why would Jesus let this happen, if He really loves and cares for them as Russell says He does? Is He really to be trusted? Or is it possible that the darkness can be a place where faith remains?With themes of trauma and healing, forgiveness and redemption, light overcoming the darkness, and racial equality, Where Faith Remains is a tender and deeply moving adoptive love story. It’s the first novel in Russell & Eliza, Joy C. Woodbury’s Christian family saga about the legacy of their love.

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And now for the cover!


Congratulations, Joy, on your cover reveal!