Book Review: ‘Worth the Time’ by Laura Jackson

From the back cover:

Routinely ignored by her single mother, high school senior Lindsey Hamilton hides her loneliness behind a mask of flirtatious self-confidence that has many boys wrapped around her finger. However, during community service required for graduation, she meets a shy guy with a haunted past who barely gives her the time of day. Why doesn’t he like her? Then the father she thought had abandoned her before birth wants to meet, and she discovers everything she believed about him is a lie. How will Lindsey learn to trust so she can realize that she has been loved all along?

My review:

After reviewing Laura Jackson’s debut novel, Worth the Wait, last year, I quickly volunteered to review her next book in the series, Worth the Time.Worth the Time

Worth the Time tells the story of Lindsey, a young lady with a cool exterior, but layers of hurt underneath. In her final year of school, her mum reveals a secret that rocks Lindsey’s world – the father she thought had abandoned her now wants to meet her. As well as coming to grips with what this means for her future, Lindsey starts to develop feelings for a guy at the community centre where she is volunteering, but becomes frustrated when he doesn’t seem to fall for her charms. Through the help of key people in Lindsey’s life, she begins to understand God’s love for her and learns that she is worth His time.

Similar to Laura’s first book, a great theme in this book is that despite our sin, we are precious to God. There are second chances for all who will come to God seeking his forgiveness.

I liked how this novel included some of the character’s from Worth the Wait. It made me want to go back and read it once again. However, I found that Laura had done such a good job of making Lindsey unlikeable that I didn’t warm up to her as quickly as I would liked to have. Perhaps if there had been more depth to some of Lindsey’s conversations and internal dialogue, I might have got there earlier. Having said that, it was encouraging to see Lindsey’s transformation as she learns that she doesn’t have to pretend to be someone else in order to be loved.

Overall, it was an enjoyable book that kept my interest and reminded me not to dwell on past sins and to look to God when life seems crazy. Recommended for teens, young adults, and the young at heart who enjoy a fun Christian read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

To see my ratings system, click here

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Book Review: ‘Worth the Wait’ by Laura Jackson

From the back cover:

9781938708268Ellie Lansing has a picture-perfect life with a close-knit family and the perfect boyfriend. But her world is suddenly knocked off center when her drool-worthy boyfriend cheats, and her always-has-it-together mother is diagnosed with cancer. Ellie doesn’t get it. She always does the right thing—doesn’t God owe her a happy life? Through her heartache, Ellie learns that sometimes what seems like the end is really just the beginning and that what God has for us is always worth the wait

My review:

When Laura Jackson was looking for some early reviewers for her début novel, Worth the Wait, I read the synopsis and eagerly volunteered. I’m a fan of YA Christian romance, even though I’m in my thirties now, and I had high expectations of this book.

I’m pleased to say that it was an enjoyable read – a book I wish I’d read in my teenage years. The main character, Ellie, had a picture perfect life with a dream boyfriend, but when she returns home from a summer in Nantucket, she notices things with Dylan have changed. As the truth comes out, Ellie finds herself struggling for answers. Thankfully, God puts the right people in Ellie’s life who help her navigate through this dark period and realise that despite being rejected, she is valued by God and worth the wait.

The book deals with common issues for teenagers, such as premarital sex, binge drinking and schoolyard gossip, from a Christian world view. Laura’s writing reminded me a little of Melody Carlson’s books.

For a first novel, I thought Laura did an awesome job. There were some scenes, mainly towards the beginning, that felt were a bit rushed and it would have been nice to dwell in them some more, but overall, the book moved at a good pace. Most of the twists and turns in the plot didn’t take me by surprise, but I didn’t mind.

I felt that the characters of Ellie, Dylan, and Joshua were built very well, and the romance elements were sweet. The descriptions of how Ellie felt when her mom was diagnosed with cancer were spot on – I speak from experience as my mother went through the same thing when I was a teen.

The book had strong spiritual themes of finding contentment in God and waiting for God’s best – I think these would encourage not only teens, but adults as well.

Recommended for teens, young adults, and the young at heart who enjoy a romantic Christian read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

To see my ratings system, click here

Book Cover Makeover: Second Chances – Take 3

This is the final time I’ll be posting about my book cover. I’ll get back to my normal blogging schedule soon 🙂

Thanks everyone who has shared their opinions and helped me to refine my new book cover. I have taken some of your feedback on board and I’m now presenting two final options – I have set up a poll below so you can vote which one you think would appeal the most to readers, keeping in mind my target audience is Christian teens/young adults.

Here is the synopsis of my book:

Even as a child, Rachel had her whole life mapped out – study teaching, marry the perfect guy, have some kids and be a stay at home mum. With two different guys after her attention, Rachel must make a choice – will she choose rebellious single dad Nate or sensible youth leader Steven?

Meanwhile, Hannah is on top of the world, engaged to be married to the love of her life, until a chance encounter with someone from her past threatens to take away her happiness. Will her relationship survive when the secret she has been keeping for so many years is uncovered?

As these best friends lean on God and each other through different trials, they both experience God’s forgiveness and his provision of second chances.

New cover design #1

Second Chances New V11

And new cover design #2

Second Chances New V14

I’d love if you could pick your favourite in the poll below.

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Book Cover Makeover: Second Chances – Take 2

A few days ago I shared my first attempt at a book cover makeover for my Christian novella, Second Chances. Thanks to everyone who gave their feedback.

What I concluded from this exercise was:

1) The new cover was a hit, but didn’t fully capture what the story is about

2) I should definitely go ahead and change my cover.

So, I’ve been roaming the internet for images and found a picture of Hannah, so she can join Rachel on the front cover of my book. Scroll down to see what I’ve come up with…

Here is the synopsis of my book:

Even as a child, Rachel had her whole life mapped out – study teaching, marry the perfect guy, have some kids and be a stay at home mum. With two different guys after her attention, Rachel must make a choice – will she choose rebellious single dad Nate or sensible youth leader Steven?

Meanwhile, Hannah is on top of the world, engaged to be married to the love of her life, until a chance encounter with someone from her past threatens to take away her happiness. Will her relationship survive when the secret she has been keeping for so many years is uncovered?

As these best friends lean on God and each other through different trials, they both experience God’s forgiveness and his provision of second chances.

Here is the existing cover…

Second Chances - A Novella

Proposed new cover design #1

Second Chances New V4

And proposed new cover design #2

Second Chances New V8

I may still play around with the placement of the words ‘A Christian Novella’, but otherwise I’m really happy with this. Do you think it works?

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Book Cover Makeover: Second Chances

Hi everyone,

For a while I’ve known that the cover for my first book, Second Chances, is not really up to the same quality as professional covers. I also didn’t feel that my book cover gave people a good idea of what they can expect to see inside my book.

I’ve been thinking about re-designing my book cover for several months now, and I’ve been searching stock image sites and pre-made book covers for something that jumps out at me. Given my book is about two young women who are best friends, I was trying to find an image that included two females, except none of them were appropriate (in more ways than one).

Thankfully, this morning I was browsing a website gallery showing book cover designs and I found Rachel, one of the main characters in my book (well, what I imagine she looks like). I quickly purchased the image and made some minor changes in Photoshop … and voila! I now have a new book cover design. I hope my new cover will appeal to a younger audience.

I thought I’d test out my new cover here before I upload it on the e-book publishing sites. Tell me what you think in the comments below…

Here is the synopsis of my book:

Even as a child, Rachel had her whole life mapped out – study teaching, marry the perfect guy, have some kids and be a stay at home mum. With two different guys after her attention, Rachel must make a choice – will she choose rebellious single dad Nate or sensible youth leader Steven?

Meanwhile, Hannah is on top of the world, engaged to be married to the love of her life, until a chance encounter with someone from her past threatens to take away her happiness. Will her relationship survive when the secret she has been keeping for so many years is uncovered?

As these best friends lean on God and each other through different trials, they both experience God’s forgiveness and his provision of second chances.

Here is the existing cover…

Second Chances - A Novella

And here is my proposed new cover design…

Second Chances New V4

I’m still not sure whether to make the change…What do you think?

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Book Review: ‘Damaged : A Violated Trust’ by Melody Carlson

Synopsis: At 16, Haley moves to California to be with her dad and escape the clutches of her over-the-top religious mother. She soon revels in the freedom she has at her dad’s house – no curfew, no arguments over what she wears and who she hangs out with, and no rules – and when Harris Stephens, the hottest guy in the football team asks her out, she happily accepts. Haley ignores the warnings from others about Harris and is caught in a dangerous situation that leads to the unthinkable. As Haley deals with feelings of guilt, shame and betrayal, can she find the strength to tell her story before any other girls fall prey to Harris’ schemes?

My review: Wow, what a powerful book! Haley, a naïve 16 year old, moves to California to get away from the controlling rule of her mother. Her father’s home is the complete opposite, with no boundaries whatsoever. On the first day of her new school, Haley finds herself in the popular group, and meets football quarterback, Harris Stephens.
Right from the moment that Harris is introduced to the reader, it is clear that he is not what he seems, and despite warnings to that effect, Haley pursues a relationship with him, trusting her heart over her head.
As the story progressed, I could see exactly where Haley was headed – Haley’s romance is soon over, almost as quickly as it started, Harris has moved on, and Haley is left feeling violated and alone. The situation that Haley finds herself in is heartbreaking and very emotional. However, it is often when we are at our lowest point that we realise our need for God, which is exactly what happens with Haley.
It was lovely to see the transformation in Haley as she realised that God can restore brokenness and give strength to stand up for others and to forgive the unforgivable.
I would have loved to have read this book as a teenager. Boys like Harris do exist and hopefully this book will help teenage girls to be wary of situations that could lead to rape or sexual abuse.
While Melody does a good job in not making the descriptions too vivid, I’d suggest the themes in the book are probably not suitable for anyone under 13 years of age.
*****