Author: Nicole Deese
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Molly McKenzie's bright personality and on-trend fashion and beauty advice have earned her an impressive social media following, as well as a shiny monthly paycheck. When her manager-turned-boyfriend tells her of an upcoming audition to host a makeover show for America's underprivileged youth, all her dreams finally seem to be coming true. There's just one catch: she has little experience interacting with people in need.
To gain an edge on her competitors, she applies to volunteer at a transitional program for aged-out foster kids during summer, only the program's director, Silas Whittaker, doesn't find her as charming as her followers do. But since forfeiting a goal has never been her style, Molly's only option is to accept the terms Silas lays out and submit to his rules--even the most ridiculous ones pertaining to social media.
Soon as the residents of the home become more than a means to pad her career resume, and Silas becomes more than an obstacle on her path to fame, her once-narrow focus expands to include the deep needs of those she's serving... and perhaps the ones she's neglected inside herself as well. It took years to build her platform, but only one summer to discover what really matters most.
Reviewer: Winnie Thomas
“There’s nothing you can sacrifice that’s worthy of what God gives us freely.”
At times witty and fun, at other times deep and thought-provoking, All That Really Matters is sure to tug at the reader’s heartstrings and cause much introspection. Nicole Deese is a master at creating captivating story lines and settings and populating them with colorful, realistic, and engaging characters.
This tale is full of fantastic characters that felt real and made me want to get to know them and associate with them. Molly is spunky with a sense of fun, and, at first, seems to be a bit frivolous and superficial. Silas is a wonderful hero--full of compassion and integrity, and dedicated to his mission of helping teens that are aging out of the foster care system. I loved seeing their relationship transform and mature as they each change for the better.
Powerful themes of grace, forgiveness, compassion, hope, and trust in God give added depth and dimension to this stunning, absorbing story. I was hooked from the first page and just kept getting more and more involved in it. I’ve read most of Deese’s books and enjoyed them all, but I think this is my new favorite. If you haven’t read any, do yourself a favor and try this one. You’ll be glad you did. This one is bound for my keeper shelf.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Mindy Houng
"Rarely did I sit in the tension between my plans and God's, between my wants an His, my way and His. Instead, I'd become an expert at throwing all my best efforts at problems bigger than myself and finding detours of escape without ever stopping to ask for guidance."
Wow. It's another winner from Nicole Deese that will make you laugh out loud, cry big fat tears, cheer on the characters with all your heart, and feel such contentment after the last page is read. I learn something new every time I read the author's books; with this adventure I learned about the life of a social media influencer and the plight of those who age out of the foster care system. This book has it all - very real, down-to-earth, and raw emotions; a well-paced plot; beautifully broken and unforgettable characters; funny and clever conversations and thoughts; and profound spiritual encouragements regarding true identity and purpose, forgiveness, reconciliation, and extending grace even when it hurts. If you enjoy contemporary romance, you will absolutely love this must-read book of 2021.
Told in first person narrative, the book takes us deep into the heart, mind, and soul of Molly and Silas who seem completely opposites at first. Molly, dubbed as "a pretty face with addictive personality" on social media, does come off as shallow but sweet and fun in the beginning as a up-and-coming beauty and fashion influencer. Silas is stoic, protective, loyal, disciplined, and completely focused on making his group home for at-risk young adults succeed. Silas' past is heart-breaking and he carries a lot of baggage that he doesn't know how to let go. Molly's past is less colorful but still tugs at the heart-strings. As Silas and Molly's visions for the home and its residents intertwine, they find out that they are more alike than they first realized. Their friendship is incredibly sweet, tender, and so much fun. As they become more than friends, it's wonderful to see that they bring out the best in each other - Molly helps Silas dream bigger, smile more, and enjoy each gift while Silas helps Molly find purpose for her creativity and soft-hearted willingness to love others.
I know Nicole Deese doesn't usually write books in series but how I wish she'd continue the story with Molly's twin brother Miles!
I received the book from Bethany House Publishers/Baker Publishing Group and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.
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