Secrets by Beckie Lindsey Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

Secrets

Book: Secrets

Author: Beckie Lindsey

Genre: Young Adult

Release Date: February, 2018

Every girl has a secret she hopes the light will never find–but the demons already have.

Four girls. Four sets of secrets. Four searching for answers.

Mackenzie is the shy, awkward new girl at school, depressed and desperate for a real friend. When she stumbles upon the deepest secret of a sarcastic, angry-at-the-world track star, Krystal, they become instant enemies-especially about the flirtatious baseball player, Bryce.

Tammi, a gloomy singer/musician who couldn’t care less about what others think of her, meets Sadie, a dancer and a people-pleaser with a cotton candy disposition. They have nothing in common until their lives begin to collide in more ways than one.

As the girls’ worlds begin to converge, their secrets rather than their similarities draw them together. Meanwhile, all that’s kept hidden has left them vulnerable to a battle in an invisible realm where demonic creatures fight to keep the girls chained to their pasts while angels of light work to free them.

Can good ever come from evil? Can beauty ever arise from ashes?

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I always enjoy stories about spiritual warfare as they provide a visual image of the battle that goes on within the spiritual realm. This story follows 4 teenage girls who all have struggles and issues and the demons and angels that are battling for their souls. The story is full of drama and some very serious issues. I appreciate that the author did not sugar coat the story, the girls were realistic and gritty at times. Because of the content of the story, this would not be appropriate for younger teens.

The scenes of the demons were chilling and the scenes with the angels were very uplifting. I love that when the characters called out to God, they immediately found the help they needed.

The characters were each unique. The story provides what I imagine is an accurate picture of public school in this day and age. I think many teens would find this book interesting and I highly recommend it.

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Beckie LindsayBeckie Lindsey is an award-winning poet, author, blogger, and the editor of Southern California Christian Voice, a division of One Christian Voice, a national news syndicating agency. She is a major coffeeholic and enjoys a good book with a cat on her lap. She also loves to hike and hang out with family and friends. Beckie and her husband, Scott have three adult children, two adorable cats and live in California.

Guest Post from Beckie

Why I write YA and the BFA series

By Beckie Lindsey

 

I believe a teenager still exists inside each of us.

 

We hear a familiar tune from our “glory days” and are instantly tapping our toes. Mentally, we’re back in high school —poofy bangs, scrunchie, neon off-the-shoulder sweatshirt — and all. Oh, wait. That’s me back in the ‘80s!

 

Ah, yes. There is something wonderfully awful about those coming-of-age years.

 

From the first kiss to the first breakup, there are memories we cherish and some we don’t care to ever revisit. Being a teen can be exciting, confusing, painful, joyous, or even all of those things at once!

 

No matter how different your teenage experience was from mine, one thing is true for us all: these years have an enormous impact on who we become as adults. We can all sympathize with the plight of puberty and the longing for independence and acceptance. Yeah, there’s still a teenager in all of us!

 

These are the reasons I write YA.

 

My hope is to use the power of storytelling to move past barriers and open hearts to accept how much God loves and desires a personal relationship with us.

 

At every age, we all need the grace and love of Jesus.

 

In the Beauties from Ashes (BFA) series, I write about relatable characters with difficult issues and traumatic pasts to enlighten readers about the unseen spiritual battle referred to in Scripture. Each character has a secret that has left them vulnerable to the battle in an invisible realm where demonic creatures fight to keep them chained to their pasts and angels of light work to free them.

 

The characters and their issues are complex, just like real life. In fact, some of the topics are often considered too taboo to talk about openly. But what is left in the dark, festers and grows. It is only in the light that we can be free. In the BFA series, readers experience the character’s quest for truth, love, grace, and freedom while hopefully finding the same for themselves.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, November 13

Inklings and notions, November 14

Genesis 5020, November 15

Multifarious, November 16

Blogging With Carol, November 16

Carpe Diem, November 17

A Baker’s Perspective, November 18

Godly Book Reviews, November 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

Robin Is Bookish, November 20

Remembrancy, November 20

The Becca Files, November 21

Christian Centered book Reviews, November 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 22

Stephanie’s Life of Perseverance, November 22

Wonders of Anomalies Book Reviews, November 23

amandainpa, November 23

Bibliophile Reviews, November 24

Janices book reviews, November 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 26

Bigreadersite, November 26

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Beckie is giving away a grand prize of a $30 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d56f/secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

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The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos Review

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Synopsis

A girl with a deadly lung disease . . .
A boy with a tragic past . . .
A land where the sun never sets but darkness still creeps in . . .

Madeline Oliver has never wanted for anything, but now she would give anything just to breathe. Jason Wu skates through life on jokes, but when a tragedy leaves him guilt-stricken, he promises to tell only the truth, no matter the price. When a mysterious stranger name Hanali appears to Madeline and offers to heal her in exchange for one year of service to his people, Madeline and Jason are swept into a strange land where they don’t know the rules and where their decisions carry consequences that reach farther than they could ever guess.

My Thoughts

Although fantasy is not my “go-to genre”, I enjoyed this story. The world that the author created was very unique, with different types of creatures and a lot of tensions between them. I loved the theme of having humans visit a fantastical world…it makes it easier to picture when seeing things through the humans’ eyes.

The characters were great in the story. I loved Jason (as I’m sure most readers will)…he added fun and humor to the story and was definitely a typical teenage boy. Madeline was also a good character…my dad suffered from the same lung disorder that she has and I could understand her desperation to be able to breathe “normally” again.

I enjoyed the scenes surrounding the history of the world and learning about the magic system the most. There were a lot of battle scenes towards the end that I found to be a bit tedious and caused me to lose some interest.

Overall, this was an excellent YA fantasy story. I highly recommend this one to all teens. The content is very clean and appropriate.

My Rating

3 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes Review

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Synopsis:

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

My Thoughts:

Fantasy is a genre that I visit the least but I was very intrigued by the synopsis of this book. The use of masks and color powers is very interesting and I also found the stone plague to be unique.

Nadine is a very talented writer. She is very good at showing the reader the world without having to describe it plainly. The use of masks and color powers was a bit complex but everything was shown almost as if the reader is watching a movie….there was never a moment where I was confused about what was happening.

The way the story is based on historical facts made it even more fascinating. Many of the characters in the story are based on real people from the past.

I liked the character of Thomas…he’s struggling with what to believe and trying to prove that he’s no longer a young boy. The relationship between him and his father was also very realistic and sad at times.

Emma was a nice addition to the story. Nadine addressed the issue of racism very well. She didn’t shy away from the ugly truths of history but also showed people thinking for themselves about difficult issues.

The descriptions in the story were excellent…I felt as though I was walking through the streets of London in the 1600s.  There were some graphic descriptions of executions, although difficult to read about, they are historically accurate and necessary to the story.

The story was very interesting but I did feel that it was a bit too long for my taste…I think it could have been condensed a bit and packed more of a punch.

Overall, this was a great fantasy standalone story. I highly recommend it!

My Rating: 3.5 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

The Orphan’s Wish by Melanie Dickerson Review

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Synopsis:

From the streets to an orphanage in a faraway kingdom, Aladdin has grown up alone. Until he meets Kirstyn. With a father who is the duke of Hagenheim and a mother who is the patroness of the orphanage where Aladdin lives, Kirstyn is a member of the most powerful family in the land . . . and way out of his league. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion for taking walks in the forest, and their childhood friendship grows along with them.

Through his scrappy skills, intelligence, and hard work, Aladdin earns a position serving in the duke’s house. But he knows it isn’t enough to grant him his one desire: Kirstyn’s hand in marriage. If he hopes to change his station in life and feel worthy of marrying Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim to seek his fortune.

But once Aladdin leaves, no one is around to protect Kirstyn, and the greedy men desperate to take advantage of her father’s wealth take notice. Now, more than Aladdin’s background stands in the way of the future he’s worked so hard to obtain. His only hope is to rescue Kirstyn and somehow manage to win her hand as well.

My Thoughts:

I have been eager to pick up a fairy tale retelling for a long time and have heard amazing things about Melanie’s writing so I couldn’t wait to dig into this book. Unfortunately, this probably wasn’t the best one to start with.

The story is supposed to be based on Aladdin, but there are very few similarities, mostly only the names Aladdin and Abu. The main theme of the story is focused on a relationship between Aladdin and Lady Kirsten, who have serious communication issues. So many things could have been resolved had the characters talked things out. It became very frustrating for me to read.

I did enjoy the setting and the time period. I love stories that are in and around castles and small villages. I also related to Kirsten in the way she didn’t always fit in with her family, but felt that Aladdin really understood her like no one else (I have my own Aladdin in my life 🙂 The faith content was also great and the story is very clean. This would be a book I wouldn’t hesitate to allow my 12 year old daughter to read, which I really appreciate.

Overall, the story was a bit bland and the story dragged on too long for my liking but I still plan on revisiting Melanie Dickerson’s books.

My Rating:

2.5 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Loving Grace by April Smith Review

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Synopsis:

Grace Summer lands herself in a melon load of trouble when she becomes torn between the boy of her dreams and the boy almost next door. As the newly-crowned Watermelon Queen, she is thrust into the spotlight, meets the dreamy Warren Hartley, and continues trying to get over an accident that rocked her world. Mix in working with Beau Baron who Grace happens to fight with just about as much as breathing and the metaphorical sparks fly.
Like most things in life, Grace must learn to take the good with the bad. While the good is the handsome and fun Warren Hartley, the bad is Beau Baron—or at least being around his annoying and rude self way more than she would like. For Beau, Grace is nothing more than aggravating and an irritating reminder from the night of the accident. Tensions soar as Grace and Beau fight to love themselves and maybe, just maybe, each other.

My Thoughts:

This was a super cute and sweet story (no pun intended) about a girl named Grace who becomes the Watermelon Queen. Grace is dealing with a lot of difficult things in her life and finds herself caught between two boys…one who she finds super dreamy and the other who drives her crazy.

Under the surface of the fun and cute scenes of watermelon pageants and banquets is a plot with depth and drama. The character of Grace was lovely and the way she handled her grief was very realistic. There were moments when I just wanted to wrap her in a hug.

I enjoyed the story but found that the pacing was a bit slow at first and took some time to get going.

This is a very clean, sweet story that teenagers would really enjoy. It’s a great alternative to the mainstream contemporary that is in the market today.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Perfectly Misunderstood by Robin Daniels Review

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Synopsis:

This dual perspective book is the final installment in The Perfect Series.

Jayden Valdez is an overachieving intellectual. Mike McGinnes is Franklin High School’s dumbest jock. Even though they barely know each other, she finds his personality repulsive and he thinks she’s got a giant stick up her you know what.

Mike and Jayden are surprised and annoyed when their teacher pairs them together for Spanish tutoring. Both feel it’s a complete waste of time, since nobody could learn from a person who bugs the crap out of them. Not to mention that their reputations might be ruined if people realize what they’re doing.

But it doesn’t take long for Jayden to discover that Mike has a secret—he isn’t the person he appears to be. Much to her dismay, Jayden finds ‘Secret Mike’ strangely attractive. And for some crazy reason, Mike is amused by Jayden’s clever insults and witty banter. Suddenly, they have a much bigger problem than their mutual disdain. What started as irritating tension is beginning to feel more like romantic tension and acting on it would be a very bad idea.

Content Description: This is a stand-alone YA contemporary romance with companion novels. While part of a series, each book can be enjoyed independently. It contains minor language, innuendo, crude humor, kissing, and conversations that mention sex. There are no sexual relationships, written or implied, and there’s no explicit language. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

My Thoughts:

This was a bit of a detour from what I normally read but I actually enjoyed it. This is definitely a “high school” story…focusing on teenagers and their day to day issues. It really took me back to the days of being extremely self-conscious of what my peers thought of me and even reminded me of my days of being tutored in Spanish.

The story had some moments that I, (as a 37 year old mom) found a bit annoying…Mike’s posing and trying to act like someone he wasn’t was a bit much at times but the moments of seeing who he really was were sweet and endearing.

The romance that develops feels very natural and not forced. It was super sweet and again took me back to those days of liking a boy.

My only major issue was the content could be inappropriate at times…some phrases and words were used that I don’t approve of in my home.

Overall, I think this would be a good story for older teens (16 and up) who enjoy romance/contemporary stories.

My Rating:

3 stars

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

The Uncloaked Trilogy by J. Rodes Review and Giveaway!

Uncloaked Trilogy Tour Banner SLB

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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

 

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