Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Category: book reviews

Uninvited By Beckie Lindsey–A Book Review

Sometimes we read books that touch our lives in a thoughtful or emotional way . Then there are books that really transform us; books that become a part of our souls and influence how we view the world. 

Beauties from Ashes, a young adult book series by fellow blogger and author Beckie Lindsey, has transformed my way of thinking about prayer and spiritual warfare. 

I’ve already reviewed book one, Secrets, here. And now I’d like to share my thoughts on book two, Uninvited

Faith Meets Fiction  

I bought a hard copy of Uninvited not only because I love the feeling of holding an actual book in my hands, but because the cover art is so cool! Thankfully the content lives up to the alluring cover. 

Uninvited continues the stories of Krystal, Mackenzie, Tammi, and Sadie as their present lives mix with their traumatic pasts and intertwine with one another.

These characters are real and relatable, without falling into the “teenage girl” stereotype. I like how Beckie mixes strength and vulnerability into all of her characters. 

The plot of Uninvited is driven by the collision of present events and the secrets of each girl’s past. There’s friendship and boy drama, along with some real life issues such as eating disorders, sexual abuse, depression, and abortion. 

All of these topics are explored in a realistic way that is still appropriate for most teen readers. Premarital sex is also a topic that Beckie writes about, and I believe she does it in a believable way that is still God honoring. 

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Uninvited by Beckie Lindsey

(Photo owned by Beckie Lindsey)

Supernatural Suspense 

One of my favorite aspects of the Beauties from Ashes series is how Beckie portrays spiritual warfare. Angels and demons are interwoven throughout the story as they battle for the souls of the main characters. 

Fans of books like the Screwtape Letters or This Present Darkness will love the way the supernatural collides with the everyday world, and how prayer changes the course of these girls’ lives. 

Overall, I would say that Uninvited is my favorite book of the series yet! It has drama, humor, romance, and the spiritual element that drives the plot into supernatural suspense. 

And if you love cliffhangers, Uninvited ends on one so big that I’m thankful the third book, Daybreak, is already on sale! You can find the links to these awesome books below. 

What about you, lovely one? Do you have any awesome book recommendations? Please comment below! 🙂 

Order Secrets, Uninvited, and Daybreak here! 

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Content on this website is copyrighted and may not be used, sold, or distributed without the author’s written permission. 

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Reluctant to Wed: A Book Review

Hello lovely readers and followers! Today I am reviewing the book Reluctant to Wed by the lovely Anneliese Dalaba. This is a special opportunity for me, as Anneliese is the wife of my former pastor. I had no idea she was a writer, so when I found out about her book, I knew I needed to check it out!

(Note: This is not a paid review or sponsored post. All opinions are my own.)

Reluctant to Wed is a regency period romance novel that centers on Emma, a young woman from a small farm town in Pennsylvania. In order to save her family’s farm, Emma agrees to move to England and marry the Earl of Devonport (also known as Devon).

Emma dreams of a marriage full of love and faith, but Devon is looking for a marriage solely of convenience. Due to hidden fears from his past, he is unable to trust women and marriage. However, Emma’s beauty and forthright personality begin to awaken his heart for her. Unfortunately, circumstances and people from their past may keep Emma from her dream marriage.  

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Reluctant to Wed: A Book Review

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Characters

Once I read about the premise, I was drawn to the story immediately. I’m not well read in the regency period genre, but Emma is the type of main character that I could see Jane Austen dreaming up.

I love character driven plots, which is what Reluctant to Wed is. Emma is sincere and straightforward, especially for a woman of that time period. Reading about her transition from an American farm girl to a British lady in high society intrigued me. Although Emma lacked any major flaws, I still felt she was a believable character.

Devon, the second protagonist, was definitely a favorite character of mine. I loved him and hated him at the same time! Although I could tell he was a man of integrity and had growing feelings for Emma, he was also stubborn and haunted, leading him to make poor decisions.

Anneliese also knows how to draw a reader into the lives of the supporting characters. I was especially fond of Emma’s maid, Bessie. I would really love to hear more about her life story in a separate novel–she is that dynamic!

Favorite Quotes

Learning to accept whatever life handed to her was her goal, and she would not allow anything to bring her down. Her faith was in God and she trusted Him to see her through. (p. 50)

She’d rather hurt because she dared to love than to become bitter and gain a cold heart. (p. 136)

Devon watched her walk gracefully across the room to the door. She was grace and fire. (p. 41)

Reluctant to Wed: A Book Review

Final Thoughts

In addition to the interesting characters and premise, I also enjoyed the plot of Reluctant to Wed. Although the pace was slower at times, every sentence was valuable in building Emma and Devon’s world and moving the story along.

I also love the way Anneliese wove the message of the Gospel and Godly values into every chapter. There are many romance novels claiming to be Christian, but don’t even mention the name of Jesus. Anneliese made God a main character in the story in a refreshing way.

I also appreciate that this novel was clean. Although the reader can tell that Emma and Devon are attracted to one another, it is not overdone. Any mention of sex was referenced in their marriage and in a tasteful way. This novel would be appropriate for most teens.

Overall, I highly recommend Reluctant to Wed. If you like romance or regency period novels, then this is a novel you will enjoy. It’s filled with romance, drama, suspense, and even moments that made me laugh aloud.

I look up to Emma’s character as a great role model of a strong, humble, and Godly young woman. If you’re ready to fall in love with a great story and dynamic characters, then you’ll definitely fall for Reluctant to Wed.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

(Photography by Joanna Kosinska and Vinicius Henrique)

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Secrets by Beckie Lindsey Will Change Your Spiritual Life

Hello lovely readers and followers! As many of you know, March is National Reading Month. I thought it would be cool to celebrate my passion for books with you all by doing a book review of Secrets for my dear friend, author, and blogger, Beckie Lindsey!

Secrets is the first book of Beckie’s new Christian Young Adult series, Beauties from Ashes. Get your copy here!

(Note: I was given an advanced reader’s copy of this book for an honest review. All opinions are my own.)

Plot Summary (No Spoilers)

As a fan of YA fiction, I have always wanted to read a Christian series that had the plot of a secular fantasy series. This is why I wrote my Slaying Shadows  series on my blog. Although Secrets reads like a fantasy series, there is more spiritual truth in it than in most non-fiction Christian self-help books.

Secrets focuses on the lives of four teenage girls living in the small town of Arcana, and the secrets they share.

Mackenzie is the new girl at school who’s trying to fit in while hiding a family secret. Krystal is a track star battling bulimia and her jealous feelings towards Mackenzie.

Tammi is a musician who is hiding a traumatic past, finding solace only in the comfort of her songs. Sadie is a dancer whose life looks perfect on the outside. That is, until her hidden insecurities are revealed and draw her close to Tammi.

As all four of these girls’ lives converge into one, we see the invisible spiritual battle happening all around them. Nasty and chilling demons plague our characters, while God’s heroic angels slay them through their faith.

Beckie Lindsey paints spiritual warfare in such a creative and Biblically sound way that makes you never want to put the book down!

Characters

Although Secrets centers on the four main characters listed above, I felt an intimate connection with each of them. Krystal was especially dear to my heart, as I could identify with her struggle of disordered eating and self-comparison.

This book deals with some difficult issues, including sexual abuse and suicide. But it does so in such an honest and spiritually powerful way, that it makes the reader feel stronger and encouraged after reading. These are issues that are not discussed enough in church, but are brought to the light in this YA novel.

I find that Beckie does a good job at developing her characters, especially regarding the love interest. What I thought would be a cliche romance turned out to be a delightfully surprising plot twist. The characters also act like real teens, with no pandering slang and cultural references found in many YA novels.

Final Thoughts

Secrets by Beckie Lindsey

(Image Source)

Secrets is an exciting debut novel to the Beauties for Ashes series, and I can already tell that the rest of the series will not disappoint.

Although there are some predictable moments in Secrets, I believe they drive the plot along seamlessly and are not too distracting. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is clearly told, but not to the point of sounding fake or “preachy.”

If you want real and vulnerable young adult characters, Secrets will not disappoint. If you want a novel that will change your view on spiritual warfare forever, then Secrets is the novel for you.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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Book Review: Sketchy Tacos by Meg D. Gonzalez

Hello lovely readers and followers! Today I am writing a book review for a wonderful blogger and author, Meg D. Gonzalez.  Meg was kind enough to send me a free copy of her latest book, Sketchy Tacos, for an honest review.

Summary

Sketchy Tacos is a young adult novel that centers on Mila Gulick, a teen sketch artist who takes a summer trip to Mexico in order to learn about the culture and language–and to get away from her overbearing mother. While staying with her host family, Mila makes both friends and enemies. She also gets entangled in a love triangle, and must learn to be independent as she finds her purpose.

Character Development

What I love about Mila is that she is a character I can easily relate to. Her mother demands perfection from her, which causes great stress and anxiety for Mila. Although I am the source of my own useless perfectionism, I still cringed as I dove deep into Mila’s emotions of inadequacy. Even though I am not an artist, being a writer is an art of its own, and it can bring great self-doubt. Mila definitely grows and develops in her confidence in God throughout the course of the novel.

The development of Mila’s relationships is also well done in this fast read. She has a tumultuous relationship with her host family’s daughter, as well as one of the love interests, and in these relationships we see a lot of growth for Mila. I found myself rooting for Mila and the other characters, and I was happy how the relationship developed between Mila and her mother.

Romance

The love triangle was pretty predictable, and you will easily guess which guy Mila ends up with. That being said, this predictability does not take away from the enjoyment of the story. The two guys Mila gets involved with actually have a mysterious past with each other that unfolds in a surprising way. The romance is sweet and clean enough for teens. And of course, Mila’s reactions are very relatable.

Faith

Although Mila is from a Christian home, she is just in the beginning of her faith walk with Jesus. As she explores Mexican culture and the church her host family is a part of, we get to see her faith grow as she discovers how to use her talents to glorify God. Gonzalez did a great job incorporating faith in a relatable, “non-preachy” way that anyone can appreciate.

This book also focuses on some tough issues. Mila often faces choices that could compromise her integrity and honesty. There are definitely moments that made me cringe as I wished I could talk Mila through the situations she found herself in, but these were also the moments that really drew me into the story.  

Conclusion

I really did enjoy reading Sketchy Tacos. It was a fast read, with relatable characters and good development. The pacing was a little slow in the beginning, but it really picked up toward the second half of the book. Although there were some predictable moments in Mila’s romantic relationships, they were well-developed and joyful to read. I also learned a lot about Mexican culture, which is something I am not very familiar with.

I would definitely recommend this book to a friend, and I hope you all give it a read as well!

You can find a copy of Sketchy Tacos here.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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