develops an affinity for The Book of Job and the way it parallels her life.
She also discovers a side of her handsome, young physical therapist, Ty Townsend, she can't resist.
When things begin to escalate with bullies and racism at school, her estranged mother appears which only makes matters worse. Somehow she must find the strength to overcome these adversities and win at not only love and life, but in the ring.
Author: Michelle Dennis Evans
Coffee-addicted Valerina has more reason to head to Café Legato than the fact they make a great latte. There is that perfect barista—Josh.
When did this childhood friend become the centre of Rina’s every thought? When did his voice become so smooth, like velvet chocolate? When did the breeze from his insanely long lashes begin to fan the fire in her heart?
At Café Legato, Rina can escape from her loving and lively family. In the cool breeze of Josh’s lashes, she is able to momentarily forget her role as big sister to four-and-a-half siblings. Drowning in latte and Josh’s warm smile, she can set aside her fear that some things at home are not quite right. At Café Legato, Rina can daydream in tongue-tied bliss.
But some dreams come true. Did Josh really invite her to hang out the next day? Did those words fall from his perfectly luscious lips? If he did, Valerina would be there, come hell or high water, but first she had today to get through.
Today was Dad’s “special time,” with a fishing trip acting as the cover for a father to daughter heart-to-heart. Rina was changing, and so was life in her family. Did she really want to get deep and meaningful with her father? Did she want to share her fears for her brother Zach? Would Dad want to talk about her wavering faith?
Valerina will face the day, one wave at a time. Until the storm hits, and Rina finds herself completely out of her depth. Will her father’s faith be enough to keep them afloat?
And through it all, one thought remains … Josh.
Reviewer: Sabrina Wade
Started out great. Filled with a wonderful plot and storyline. Had me eager and leaning over in my chair with anticipation for the coming chapters. But then, the rug was pulled from under me. Suddenly, the book rushes to epilogue, leaving me the reader, wondering if I flipped Kindle pages too quickly and skipped chapters. Unfortunately, I did not. The author simply rushed the novel to its end. Where was the substance? How did we get from Adele, “be my wife,” to Judy having a fiance and sibling? Two stars.
Reviewer: Cierra Loften
I usually don't tend to go for YA books that center on the medieval or fantasy, though Camille Esther's 'Dorian The Daring' has a believable balance of family life/drama, action and adventure, and spiritual growth. The cover contains a dark-hooded human figure with blue and black smoke enveloping him which is not what you'd expect from a Christian novel but it's a good perk! It shows that not all religious, particularly Christian, books have to be full of flowers and hearts. Overall, I found the main character, Dorian, to be an engaging teenager whose determination, humility, and ability to recognize his weaknesses made him all the more likable and believable. I thought the author did a wonderful job of creating the atmosphere of medieval times and I could tell she did her research on the times before diving into writing. 'Dorian The Daring' earns a solid 5 out of 5 stars from me.
Reviewer: Camille Murray
Initially it was the title that drew me to this book. With a name like Nessie out of Water I was confident I could expect some sort of pun or double meaning. I also figured there was a good chance of a humorous style.
The author did not disappoint! She had me and my husband laughing from the first page. She brought the faith struggle to light in a non-preachy manner, with plenty of laughs and plot twists along the way.
There were a few typos, and there was one chapter where the author switches perspectives that I thought a little funky, but nothing that dampened my enjoyment. This book definitely earned its place on my favorites shelf!
Reviewer: Cierra Loften
I want to start off by saying how utterly adorable this book was. Wooten did an excellent job of creating a character, Nessie, who is so relatable, funny, and authentic. I feel so sad that she's not an actual human being because I'd love to have her in my circle of friends. For the cover, I will give 10 points because I can tell the cover artists spent some time detailing it. It's cute, simple, and gives the reader a general insight into the plot of the story. For the characters, I will give a rating of 8. This young adult novel is only about 200 pages, so I understand that it would be fairly difficult to drag on and on about the backstories of each character, and the author did do a good job of developing the main characters in general. However, I wish that I had learned a little more about Nessie's family life, including her parents (who are rarely mentioned). The plot deserves 10 points due to the fact that it was mostly clear, easy to understand, and a quick read that has exciting adventure, sweet romances, and a witty protagonist. Style wise, I'll offer 6 points. Nessie does have the habit of getting lost in her thoughts (both past and present) quite often, which adds to her funny appeal as a character, though during the more serious moments, I wish the author would have cut back on that just a tad bit. There were also a few typos and sections where I had to go back and re-read to gain better clarity on. On the addictiveness scale, 6 brings in the cake, yet again. I enjoyed it while it was in my hands, though I never found myself itching to pick it back up again after putting it down. Content wise, Nessie gets an 8. Wooten did a fantastic job of keeping Jesus as the center of the novel and, through her characters, she never comes off as preachy (which is a thing every author should avoid, especially for young adult readers). I was inspired by Nessie's story and her struggles and journey with her faith made her all the more believable. All in all, Nessie Out of Water receives a 4 star rating from me.
Reviewer: Ofilya Silver-Lanuza
Math Troubles was a cute book fit for any pre-teen. Even though the book was written with a teenager audience in mind, I personally thought it was better suited for the preteen demographic (9-12). The book had both a light-hearted and meaningful approach to it. Unfortunately, the book seemed to have many grammatical errors throughout. However, Math Troubles will be interesting to read from a younger perspective, portraying the challenges of school, friends and family...situations and obstacles anyone can relate to.
Reviewer: Carol A. Brown
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Usually this statement is at the end of a review, but I need to state it here because of the statements I make in the review. This is my honest review!
First of all, this story has some good bones.
The couples in the story have real issues that will resonate with many readers: addictions (gambling, alcohol, and promiscuity), as well as being blind to one’s own tendency to judge others behaviors.
Characters are drawn well enough that you can “see” them and have empathy for them. A group of college age couples living the life of “the young and stupid” who struggle to transition into responsible? adults.
Secondly, there is some good storytelling in this book. The story line is very believable. Where I have an issue is with the technical aspects, the crafting of sentences, transitions, and how the pieces of the story are put together, for example:
Page 3 – 7 indentations from the bottom – There’s something wrong with this sentence.... “We’ll have to hit of the mountain after lunch.” ??? Might it possibly be, “We’ll have to get off the mountain after lunch”? This is only one example of this kind of problem.
Another issue I had with sentences was the amount of extra words. I used to teach English language. I would have returned this kind of a paper without grading it and instructed the student to “tighten up the sentences and to take out the “fluff.” This was a problem throughout the book; so much so that it was distracting for this reader.
My next issue is one of character inconsistency.
Page 20 – There is an inconsistency in the depiction of a character here—“Piper’s group headed to Rambo” you had just said that Piper was not as good a skier and so they were not doing Rambo, but going on an intermediate slope. Also Piper and Chase were doing that without the group.
Page 22 – Here Nick is the evangelist—when and how did this happen? Up to this point Piper has been worried he may be an alcoholic! This is too sudden of a change...makes him look schizoid flipping from a carnal Christian to an evangelist without warning.
If both pictures are true about the character, there needs to be more of a transition so the reader is able to see the character as flawed but honestly, sincerely working to overcome his flaw. It is possible that this could have been caught in editing for plot if that kind of edit was done.
This same kind of thing happened at the end of the book. I had formed a picture of Piper’s family as basically loving and stable, but at the end there is suddenly a picture of the family piling on Piper in a negative way...the kind that tempts you to want never to go to a family event ever again! She had made comments throughout the story about her family “not believing” her spiritual experiences but there wasn’t enough story evidence to help the reader get the picture until toward the end of the book. At that same family event we see a different side to Piper’s father that had not even been hinted at. The reader wonders, “Where did that come from!”
I came away from reading not quite sure what the author’s purpose was...what main message was being communicated. That was not as clear as it could have been.
Would I recommend it? Mmmm, possibly, if the potential reader needed to see how someone could be Christian and have character flaws and yet have spiritual experiences! Our God takes us where we are and helps us overcome. Some of us who struggle with various issues need to see that we can emerge victorious. But I would caution the reader that they would need to overlook the technical difficulties.
Reviewer: Jessica Smith
Tears of a Princess, was a very thoughtful novel. Involving important topics, some teenagers can easily relate to, and others a handful can. This novel had a lovely story line, though the writing was a little dry making it hard to get through at points. I would give this book a rating of 4/5.
Reviewer: Cierra Loften
I thoroughly enjoyed it this stunningly depicted YA novel! This is my first novel I read by Laura Thomas and she certainly has wonderful potential to create even more beautiful, touching, and graceful stories. I found the beginning to be a tad slow and for about 60 pages in, I couldn't believe how much of a spoiled brat Natasha was. However, to see and read about her spiritual change was great and that added so much more quality and depth to the story. This is a lovely Christian YA novel and a beautiful story about discovering the true, profound, and deep love God has for each of us. The cover contains one of my favorite colors (pink) on the cover so that immediately attracted me to the story and the cover model chosen for Natasha (our main protagonist) was spot-on. As mentioned prior, I found Natasha to be slightly over-bratty and spoiled during the first 60 pages of the novel, though I began to warm up to her as the novel progressed. The supporting characters were written well, though I would have loved to read more about a backstory with Alice, Steve, Sara, and the rest of the mission trip characters. The plot was very predictable, though I'm a sucker for happy endings so I was happy to see that this one ended optimistically. This wasn't a book I was racing to finish, though once I really focused on it, it began to grow on me. Overall, I would give this novel a 4 Star Rating.
Reviewer: Ofilya Silver-Lanuza
Tears of a Princess was pretty hard to put down once I got reading! I loved how this book referred to its prequel, but in other points of view. Natasha was a lovable character who is someone who you can easily feel for when hearing about her circumstances. I especially enjoyed reading on and watching Natasha change from someone self-absorbed to a caring person who really wanted to help the needy people in Mexico.
Reviewer: Michelle Dennis Evans
This is a sweet story about 14-year-old Bethany who is in a terrible car accident killing both her parents. With a severely broken leg, Bethany is unable to dance. At times the characters seemed older than 14 and some of the conversations didn’t ring true to a teenager – this could be because they were rich ballerinas and possibly more mature than the average teen. Great book for teens to see through Bethany’s eyes, what it might be like to lose everything valuable to you. Her grief journey shows the wide range of highs and lows that are very real when someone close to you dies.
Reviewer: Ofilya Silver-Launza
Tears to Dancing was a good read, with relatable real-life circumstances. This book definitely reached into the readers heart and tugged out emotion for the characters. Absolutely loved the ending! It's a must read!
Reviewer: Janis Cox
A fascinating story using the historical references of William Lyon Mackenzie and the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837. Mary has made that time in history come alive by creating real characters and having them work through their emotions regarding their decisions of whether to join in the rebellion or not. Well written. Fast-paced. A great read.