The Uncloaked Trilogy by J. Rodes Review and Giveaway!

Uncloaked Trilogy Tour Banner SLB

uc

The Uncloaked Synopsis: “Apathy is the illness of the overprivileged…” Words laced with fear—and maybe a hint of prophecy. His father’s words. Words Braxton would prefer to ignore.

Braxton Luther is sixteen when the Progressive Reform Party takes over the government. It can’t be that bad. So they don’t want religion in government—that’s constitutional. He can’t understand his church’s hypersensitive reaction or his father’s cryptic warning to stand against the Party’s ultimatums.

But after living under the new government for a year, Braxton faces a choice—conform to the demands of the ungodded in order to protect his best friend, Eliza, or defy the system and go into hiding, ensuring a life of misery. Still certain that life will settle back into normalcy in the near future, Braxton chooses compliance.

Then the killings begin, and Eliza is captured and sent to Reformation Camp for her defiance. Reality finally sinks in.

Apathy is no longer a choice.

2-Tearing the Veil

Tearing the Veil Synopsis (Spoilers for Book 1): Braxton Luther, the sellout.
Now a part of the Den, he’s determined to make good on Eliza Knight’s faith in him—to be more than what he’d settled for when the Party had taken over. But his goal is dangerous, and not just for him. As he searches for a way to protect the silent, invisible victims of the new government, Braxton’s mission—which includes finding a way to rescue Eliza from the Reformation Camp—becomes even more complicated. Hannah Knight, Eliza’s sister, is simply too much like him.
Tired of standing in her perfect sister’s shadow, Hannah determines to find her own place in the world. If that place is with the Pride—the girls’ home and training center provided by the Party—so be it. When she leaves the hopelessness of the cellar, that’s all she’s aiming for. But Quinn Sanger, the handsome son of a powerful political leader, finds her at the creek, and her life takes an unexpected and optimistic turn.
Braxton’s convinced Hannah’s in trouble. Hannah’s convinced Braxton, and all the Uncloaked, are insane. But when they peek behind the real veil the Party maintains, the truth is beyond what either had feared or hoped.
If everyone knew, it could change everything. They redefine their mission. It’s time to tear the veil.

3-The Charging Darkness

Charging the Darkness Synopsis (Spoilers for Books 1 and 2): You were not saved for this… 

The veil has been torn, but Braxton Luther still has more to do.
The captive Uncloaked have been freed, and the people know the dark truth. A rebellion against the Party has begun, but the question lingers among those who are safely hidden in the Refuge–what will happen to their broken nation? Secrets and shame, resentment and hatred continue to shake the nation, now divided.

What will it take to break the grip of the Party? Beyond that, is there any hope of healing after the damage of the darkness?

My Thoughts of the entire trilogy (Spoiler free): 

I love dystopian stories, they always cause a bit of anxiety as I allow my mind to wonder, “could this really happen?”. This was the first Christian dystopian trilogy I’ve read and was the most terrifying dystopian series I’ve read so far as when I pondered, “could this really happen?” I realized that the answer was yes.  These books caused me to reexamine my faith and consider what I would do if I came to a place where apathy is no longer an option.

In the trilogy, the reader follows Braxton, who is a preacher’s kid that faces a very difficult choice. His character development throughout the books is amazing…I went from being frustrated with him to being very proud of him. The other characters were also great…there were some great twists and surprises that I never saw coming. The author was great at connecting the books and making the story flow nicely.

The stories also send a beautiful message of forgiveness. I’ve read other books with Christian characters in uncertain times and found the emphasis on love lacking at times. I really appreciated how the characters in this book still allowed their lights to shine throughout their turmoil and showed love to those “undeserving” of it.

Overall, this was an amazing set of books that I will definitely revisit in the future. It’s thought provoking, adventurous, and unputdownable.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received these books from the author/publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author:

jennifer-rodewald_8

Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.

Born in Colorado, she experienced both the seclusion of rugged mountain living and the busy streets of a Denver suburb during her growing up years. Somewhere in the middle of college, she married a Husker and found her way back to the quiet lifestyle of a rural area, which suits just fine.

Blessed with a robust curiosity, Jen loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new. Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit, and excellence.

Jen lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life.

CONNECT WITH JENNIFER: websitefacebookgoodreadstwitter

Visit the Other Stops on the Blog Tour!

BLOG TOUR STOPS

January 8: Soulfully Romantic
January 11: Just Commonly 
January 12: Remembrancy
January 15: amandainpa
January 18: Henry Happens
January 20: Pause for Tales

 

Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Advertisements

NIV Journal the Word Bible for Teen Girls Review

niv

Description: Reflect, respond, and grow closer to your heavenly Father. With hundreds of journaling prompts and plenty of space for notes, art, and doodles, the NIV Journal the Word™ Bible for Teen Girls provides a place to capture your thoughts while reading Scripture. Journal your feelings, dreams, and hopes. Create art, color, and doodle. However you wish to creatively express yourself, engage with God’s heart and get to know the One who knows and loves you.

Features:

Hundreds of thought-provoking questions for teen girls to reflect on and respond to
8-point type size
Lined, wide margins for notes and reflections
Thicker white paper for enduring note-taking
Full text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV) translation
Words of Jesus in red
Lays flat in your hand or on your desk
Ribbon marker

My Thoughts: I started journaling when I was about 13 or 14…it was a time in my life when I had so many thoughts and a roller coaster of emotions. I wish this Bible would have been around back then. What is unique to this Bible are the journaling prompts that are directed specifically to teenage girls. The prompts reflect on the verses in the corresponding passages and are very thought provoking. I own a journaling Bible that only has wide margins and a “do it yourself” format…this Bible has many blank pages that allow for creativity but the prompts add almost a devotional aspect to the journaling.

The Bible is beautiful…the gold cover has the perfect hint of a shimmer and the floral design is very pretty. It has a red ribbon bookmark and my favorite feature, which is that the edges of the pages are colored pink. It’s a nice size and lays flat, which is very important. I also like that the design is a bit more mature than some Bibles that are directed towards teens…an adult would like this Bible’s design as well so the recipient could use it for a long time.

The NIV translation still remains my favorite, so I’m pleased to find it in this Bible.

I highly recommend this Bible. It would make a beautiful and meaningful gift.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this Bible from Booklook bloggers to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Andi Lassos Trouble and Andi to the Rescue by Susan K. Marlow Review

Andi Lassos Trouble Synopsis: When the Circle C ranch decides to host a rodeo competition with two other ranches, dozens of cowboys are eager to prove they’re the best riders and ropers in the valley. But they’re not the only ones who want to show off their skills–Andi aims to lasso her way to the prizes, even if big brother Chad says the contest isn’t for kids.

The roundup is meant to be a time for food, fun, and friendship. But before Andi can prove she’s got what it takes to be a real cowgirl, the day turns dangerous. Will a friendly rodeo turn into a range war between ranchers and sheepherders? Can Andi and her family keep their neighbors–and themselves–safe?

My Thoughts: This was a fun story about 9 year old Andi, who lives on a ranch in 1877. In order to separate cattle for different ranches, the Circle C ranch decides to hold a rodeo. Andi excitedly practices roping, hopeful to participate in the children’s events.

Andi is a delightful character, a bit precocious and somewhat of a tomboy, she was a lot of fun to read about. I enjoyed the rodeo scene and found the history lesson at the end of the book very informative.

The book also has some great illustrations throughout that really add to the story.

This would be a very enjoyable story for any young girl between the ages of 7 and 10 to read.

My Rating: 4 stars

Andi to the Rescue Synopsis: This is so embarrassing. Andi’s teacher, Miss Hall, is sick–and Mother is the substitute teacher. What will Andi’s friends think?

But it turns out embarrassment is the last thing Andi needs to worry about when two outlaws kidnap Andi and her mother after school in a case of mistaken identity! They can’t even tell the kidnappers a mistake has been made without putting themselves in even more danger.

Now they’re being held in a remote cabin until Mother can teach the man in charge how to read–and he’s willing to go to any length to make it happen. Andi must escape and find help. But can she lead a rescue party back to Mother before the outlaws take their new teacher–and disappear forever?

My Thoughts: In this story, Andi’s mother becomes a temporary substitute teacher for her school. Andi and her mother are leaving school and get kidnapped by outlaws and taken to a cabin.

I enjoyed this story a bit more than Andi Lassos Trouble simply because I wasn’t as interested in all the “horse talk” in the first book.

The story is adventurous and suspenseful but also very clean with good faith content. I really like Andi’s mother and how she reacted to many different situations.

The author is very good at describing the scenes and the pacing was very good.

I also really enjoyed the history lesson about Black Bart at the end of the book. The extra true lessons are a great addition to the stories.

I definitely recommend this series to young girls.

My Rating: 4.5 stars

I received these books from Kregel Publishers to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert Review

no.jpg

Synopsis: Challenging perceptions of discrimination and prejudice, this emotionally resonant drama for readers of Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult explores three different women navigating challenges in a changing school district–and in their lives.

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray–the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser–faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones–the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?

My Thoughts: There were so many thoughts running through my mind as I read this book and they continue as I write this review. This book was tough, it was challenging and it was heavy.

The story revolves around 3 women…Camille, a white mother who’s life seems perfect from the outside, Jennifer, a white woman who has recently adopted a black child, and Anaya, an African American teacher who just got a job at Crystal Ridge…a school that is now accepting students from another district (the district Anaya grew up in) that has lost it’s accreditation. Tensions are high in the Crystal Ridge community as the residents are not happy with integrating new students into their school and throughout the school year, the reader sees the situation through the eyes of Camille, Jennifer, and Anaya.

I found it very interesting to walk in Anaya’s shoes. Honestly, I’ll admit that I am very ignorant to many of the race issues that black people face. This book really opened my eyes to the struggle and frustrations that occur within the black community. It also showed me that the problem is much bigger than I thought it was and made me wonder if it could ever be fixed.

I was challenged when I read this book. There were several times when I had to put the book down and google things that were referred to in history…I was appalled and heartbroken by the things I read. I was also frustrated that I had never learned about some of these events in school.

This book was amazing. Not only was it thought provoking and challenging…it was very well written and unputdownable. I had to keep reading and needed to find out more. I grew attached to each character and felt a connection to each one.

I highly, highly, highly recommend this book to everyone!

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal Review

sd

Synopsis: Ballerina Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Met in New York and her future with fiancé Peter Engberg all figured out—until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, shows up in Georgia to dance with her and win her back. Claus kisses her after a rehearsal, a kiss Peter witnesses from the darkened audience. Convinced a kiss between Claus and Ana is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off his engagement with Ana. Rejected by Peter, and knowing Claus is dancing at the Met soon, Ana decides to repave her path to her dream. With her 2002 Thunderbird and Baryshnikov, an old dog crippled by arthritis, she moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own memories of Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company prove to be a high price for a shot at success.

My Thoughts: I love everything about ballet…the costumes, the music, the movements, etc…so I loved this book. It follows Ana, a ballerina, who is facing difficult decisions regarding her relationships and following her dreams.

I loved Ana, she was searching and seeking God and her transformation was beautiful. She was also extremely real…the author did not sugar coat her behavior, but this made the story and the transformation feel extremely realistic. The rest of the story flowed very nicely…it was fun to follow Ana as she dances through life and love.

The ballet references were wonderful…the author was a ballerina and is gifted at describing the movements and costumes, etc…which made me feel like I was in the audience, watching the beautiful dancers.

This book was heartbreaking at times but also heartwarming. There were definitely some Kleenex moments in this book.

I highly recommend this book if you love ballet or a sweet romance.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from the author. All opinions are my own.

Secret Keeper Girl: Mom Daughter Devos by Dannah Gresh Review

mdd

Description: Want help talking to your tween about modesty? 

Tweens aren’t meant to grapple with modesty and body image issues alone. But many moms don’t know quite how to talk about these issues.

Secret Keeper Girl Mom-Daughter Devos fills that gap. A companion to Secret Keeper Girl, it cements the truths of that book and provides an opportunity for moms to talk through these important issues with their daughters. It’s not just a book, but a connecting experience for mothers and daughters. Together they’ll go on a journey to meet with their Creator and learn to see themselves through His eyes.

Secret Keeper Girl Mom-Daughter Devos has a simple format of 30 daily devotions. It features:

Weekly interactive conversation starters
A leader’s guide appendix at the end
Downloadable resources at the author’s website.
This Secret Keeper Girls series exists to bring moms and daughters together for age-appropriate, biblical conversations about true beauty, modesty, and purity.

My Thoughts:  Where was this book when I was 12? This is such a great devotional for tweens and young teen girls. First of all, the book is very inviting in its appearance…the artwork is adorable and there are many places for the reader to color. With coloring being so popular now, this was a great addition. The author invites both the daughter who is reading the book and her mother to come together at the end of each week and color while discussing what the daughter had read throughout the week.

The devotionals focus on modesty and other issues young girls face today. There’s a great application area on each devotional page where the reader can write about what she’d learned (with prompts that relate to the day’s devo).

Modesty is such an important topic that rarely gets discussed anymore so I really appreciate the author’s mission to teach young girls about it. She does it in a fun, non-confrontational way that helps the reader to see why modesty is so important.

I highly recommend this devo to any young girl (and her mom).

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Moody Publishers to review. All opinions are my own.

Devotions for the Hungry Heart by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson Review

dhh

Description: This simple little book of story-based devotions will change your world, one day at a time.

“Whether you have a healthy craving for more Jesus, or the barely discernible taste for a relationship with Him that seems beyond your reach, the glorious truth is that God put that hunger in your heart in the first place, and He is more willing to fan that flame than you or I could ever be.” 
–From the Introduction

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, the Belle of All Things Southern, is back with a devotional guide for the Jesus-hungry heart. Grounded in scripture and offered in the author’s signature storytelling style, this devotional invites you to God’s table for a continual feast. With six prominent themes including Sharing, Needing, Celebrating, Praying, Surrendering, and Being Intentional, you’ll be challenged and encouraged to develop God-honoring traits in your spiritual life.

A delightful companion book to Tomlinson’s Hungry Is a Mighty Fine SauceDevotions for the Hungry Heart features a bonus full-color insert featuring more than a dozen mouthwatering recipes plus photos. You’re guaranteed to find nourishment for your body as well as your spirit!

My Thoughts: I really love this devotional. The author writes in a very approachable and relatable way. She uses relevant illustrations for the verse and although the devotions are only 1 or 2 pages, they pack a big punch.

It contains 20 weeks of devotions, one for each day of the week minus Sunday. The devotions are not dated so it’s easy to start at any time. The book also contains recipes and photos, which is something I’ve never seen in a devotional book before. The recipes look tasty but a little fancier than what I prefer (but cooking is not my thing).

The devotionals always make me think. This is the perfect book to keep on your nightstand and read in the morning before starting the day. Reading these helps the reader to fill their spiritual bellies and they only take a few minutes to get through.

I highly recommend this book as a gift to yourself or someone else.

My Rating: 5 stars

I won this book from Goodreads First Reads giveaways. All opinions are my own.