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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

LSBBT BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: All In by L.K. Simonds (Gritty Realistic/Christian Fiction)


ALL IN
by
L.K. Simonds

Genre: Gritty Realistic / Christian Fiction
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Date of Publication: August 27, 2019
Number of Pages: 282


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A woman’s empty pursuit of happiness leads to a crisis before finding redemption in the Lord in this challenging and gritty Christian novel. 

Twenty-nine-year-old novelist and blackjack dealer Cami Taylor seems to have it all—but just underneath her confident exterior and newfound celebrity is a young woman in trouble. Cami’s boyfriend, Joel, wants to get married, buy a house on Long Island, and raise a family—a life that’s a million miles from Cami’s idea of happiness. Her therapist suggests compromise and trust, but Cami would rather bolt like a deer. Breaking things off with Joel, Cami launches herself on a new quest for happiness. But her pursuit of pleasure only takes her further from herself—and toward a harrowing new reality unlike anything she’s faced before. What follows for Cami is a fight to the death that can only be waged with God’s love

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Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author for providing me with a free copy of the book. This is my honest and thoughtful review.

When I first read the synopsis for this book, I was instantly "all in." I love my fiction dark, swathed in danger, and that leads readers into the exploration of all the shades of gray that life has to offer within the safe confines of the book's pages. As a Christian myself, I was excited to see this story introducing "gritty" aspects that are not typically found within the genre and how it would navigate bleaker themes while keeping its audience in mind. This is a difficult read, but one that needed to be told. Life can be devoid of hope. People can experience a crisis of faith. And it's okay to discuss those concerns within the Christian fiction community in a respectful and open-minded way. Beautifully written and emotionally engaging, this is an example of the kinds of faith-based stories I would like to see more of; however, as long as you can remember that even within the Christian faith we all worship differently, the ending may seem less shocking and more of a direct acknowledgment to the miracles we believe are reflected in Christ's work. 

"When I examine the situation in the cold light of day, I see precious little to look forward to as far as relationships go. Apparently, the road to happiness must be traveled in vehicles I loathe: Sacrifice. Compromise. Surrender."

For the most part, Cami's character is not very likable. As a debut bestselling author, she has a bit of a chip on her shoulder. She has commitment issues and intimacy is only a self-serving moment for carnal pleasure. While her future is primed for more novels, more money, more fame, more lovers, there is this lingering sense of loneliness and a lack of fulfillment that casts a shadow in the background. Though she admits early on that she needs to concentrate on feeding her soul, she has no idea what that means or how she would even know where to look for it. She is not a struggling believer or even someone looking to find faith, yet her slow progression to salvation is a testament to the religious narrative that proudly proclaims deliverance is never too late.

"I think people are the same no matter where you go. And frankly, a little undeserved kindness goes a long way to softening up the hard ones."

While redemption stories are always something to root for, I must say that Kate's character was the pièce de résistance to the awe-inspiring tale. As a distant relative, she enters Cami's life in an act of almost divine intervention. Kate embodies the spirit of Christ, modeling the idea of Grace that Christians should strive for every day. Exhibiting an aura of humility, connectedness, elegance, and charisma, she fully embraces the less fortunate with open arms, casts no judgments, or ever utters an ill word about anyone, even those who disappoint her greatly and frequently. She is not naive to the strife that affects the world, rather her confident and constant devotion is a direct foil to Cami's indifferent demeanor and flighty behavior. Her character and the relationship that is built with Cami is incredible to witness and every reason to give this book a chance.

You more than likely will step out of your comfort zone while reading this book; however, it might not be such a bad place to land. We all have different ways of looking at the world, and this story may put those views to the test. In much the same way that Cami eventually begins to look beyond herself and consider the perspectives of others, readers may have to open their minds a little to enjoy the uplifting message found by the end. This is raw. This is real. And it's definitely worth talking about.





L. K. Simonds is a Fort Worth local. She has worked as a waitress, KFC hostess, telephone marketer, assembly-line worker, nanny, hospital lab technician, and air traffic controller. She's an instrument-rated pilot and an alumna of Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas. All In is her first novel.
 Website ║ Facebook Twitter   Instagram ║ Goodreads  Amazon Author Page  BookBub


GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
ONE WINNER Autographed, library-bound copy of All In + $50 Visa gift card
JANUARY 14-24, 2020
(US ONLY)


a Rafflecopter giveaway   Best of luck!

Many thanks again to Lone Star Book Tours and the author! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions!

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3 comments:

  1. Outstanding perspective and review. I love that line about how stepping out of your comfort zone might not be a bad place to land. it's true. I keep thinking and thinking about this book's ending. And of course, LOVE THE BOOKSTAGRAM! Thanks for the post.

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    Replies
    1. "I keep thinking and thinking about this book's ending." I like this. A LOT!

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  2. Jenn, what a lovely review! I love that you wrote about Kate. When readers as me if Cami is patterned after me, I say No, Kate is! Not really, but I wish. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete