Friday, July 23, 2021

"Sustaining Faith" by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan

About this book:

  “So much has been accomplished. Lillian Walsh has stepped out courageously beyond what she'd ever dreamed of being able to achieve. She and her newly rediscovered sister, Grace, have settled three children from England into new Canadian homes and are prepared to place two more just after the New Year, when it happens--another painful disruption.
    A white lie the sisters used to protect some orphans has resulted in an official complaint and a letter revoking the sisters' permission to manage their little children's home. And unexpectedly, Walter, the young man who has won Lillian's heart, departs for a job in the oil industry without leaving any hope for their future, making her confused and lonely.
   With more children on their way from England needing caring homes, Lillian and Grace must use every ounce of gumption to keep their mission alive. But when startling information about the past surfaces and a new arrival comes via suspicious circumstances, they'll have to decide what is worth fighting for and what is better left in God's hands.”

Series: Book #2 in the “When Hope Calls” series. Review of the first book, Here!

Spiritual Content- Scriptures are mentioned, quoted, remembered, & read; Prayers & Thanking God; Talks about God & trusting Him; ‘H’s are capitalized when referring to God; Mentions of prayers, praying, & thanking God; Mentions of churches, church going, pastors/vicars, services, & a church’s rituals; A few mentions of Bibles & Bible reading; A few mentions of those in the Bible; A few mentions of blessings; A couple mentions of crucifixes & crosses; A couple mentions of Christian pity and people with Christian hearts; A mention of Heaven; A mention of a godsend; A mention of a miracle;
             *Note: A mention of the devil.
Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘blast’, a ‘dumb’, an ‘idiot’, a ‘shut up’, and a ‘stupid’; A mention of a curse (said, not written); A bit of eye rolling; Ben has to take care of the bodies of children that passed away while on the ship (this includes dropping the bodies into the sea, even though he hates to do it; He says a prayer for each of them as it happens, up to semi-detailed); One of the sisters sneaks and reads letters that weren’t for her (she feels guilty about it); Mentions of a drunk father that lit a house on fire with his family in it & fires (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of illnesses, accidents, & deaths; Mentions of children not surviving a journey on a ship; Mentions of children running away; Mentions of abusive parents (adoptive and biological); Mentions of hateful people & hating; Mentions of lies, lying, & deception; Mentions of gossip & eavesdropping; A few mentions of kidnappings; A few mentions of fighting and bullying/teasing between children; A couple mentions of prisons; A couple mentions of eating animals for food (explained to a child); A mention of a thief.
Sexual Content- Some Noticing & Touches (barely-above-not-detailed); A bit of winks & blushes; Ben is asked if he touched Janie inappropriately (to which he immediately says he would never); Mentions of kisses & wanting to be kissed; A mention of love letters; Some love, falling in love/being in love, & the emotions;
             *Note: A couple mentions of a wife having trouble carrying babies until full-term.
-Lillian Walsh
-Ben Waldin
                                P.O.V. switches between them & Edgar
                                                 {Historical, the year is unclear}
                                                        325 pages
Pre Teens-
New Teens-
Early High School Teens-
Older High School Teens-
My personal Rating-
To be completely honest, I do not care for any of the romance or hinted romance in this book or the prior book. There are too many men around these sisters and they struggle with almost jealousy at the other getting attention from a man—especially Lillian, who’s point of view was the majority of this book (and therefore effected my ratings).

What did I like, since I gave this book two stars? Well, I liked the non-romance parts, I mostly liked Ben (though, when he talked, I had to focus hard on what he was saying because of the written heavy accent), I liked the children, and I really appreciate the amount of faith content in this book. I appreciate the adoption and foster care message of this book, even though I don’t like most of the adults. There was also one scene that was incredibly hard for me to read that caused my heart to ache and lower my personal rating.

At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll attempt to read the third book whenever it releases. I hope that Lillian and Grace’s relationship will be better and that they’ll trust each other more.

See y’all on Friday with a new review!

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.

Friday, July 16, 2021

"So Not Happening" by Jenny B. Jones

 {The content listed below is for the Revised 2nd edition. After the Final Thoughts, there is a section about what’s different from the first edition, in case you have picked up or found that version.}
About this book:

  “Can an uptown teen solve a murder mystery in down-home Oklahoma?
   Bella Kirkwood loves her glam life in New York City. But her faith is tested when her mom falls for a blue-collar country bumpkin and relocates them both to rural Oklahoma. After her brutally honest blog rant goes viral, the former trendsetter turns into a social reject.
   Relegated to the school paper, Bella jumps at the chance to win over classmates she burned—and maybe even impress the hot editor. But when she overhears a cryptic conversation about a football player’s fatal so-called accident, she sets her sights on the scoop of a lifetime… one someone would kill to keep hidden.
  Can Bella expose a small town’s shocking secret before she’s dead on arrival?”

Series: Book #1 in the “Charmed Life” series. (As of this time, the later books in this series will not be reviewed due to content found in this one.)

Spiritual Content- A couple Scriptures are quoted; Prayers/Talking to God (though some may come across as flippant); Blessings over food; Church and Bible study going (a few times each) & a few sermons/lessons (one about Mary and being outside of your comfort zone); Most ‘H’s are not capitalized when referring to God; Mentions of God (though some can come across as flippant) & Jesus; Mentions of prayer, praying, blessings over food, & thanking God (though some can come across as flippant); Mentions of churches & pastors; A few mentions of youth groups & mission work; A few mentions of miracles; A couple mentions of those in the Bible & the book of Revelation; A mention of Bible reading; A mention of nuns; A mention of a blessed event (which Bella puts in quotation marks);
             *Note: There are a few parts where Bella wonders (flippantly) where certain issues she’s facing are in the Bible (a parent throwing your pet on to the street, a hideous stepbrother); A mention of Bella mentioning her “demon-possessed stepbrother”; A mention of Bella thinking Luke is a minion of Beelzebub and later calls him a spawn of Satan; A mention of a giant statue of Buddha at a restaurant; A mention of being in a shopping nirvana.
Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘buzz off’, a ‘gosh’, a ‘moron’, a ‘sucks’, a ‘stinkin’’, two ‘duh’s, two ‘dumb’s, two ‘shoot’s, three forms of ‘jack up’ (used as opposed to ‘screw[ing something] up’, ‘you don’t know jack about my life’, or stronger), six ‘idiot’s, six ‘oh, my gosh’s, eight forms of ‘crap’ (including a ‘holy crap’), eight forms of ‘shut up’, and sixteen ‘stupid’s; Lots of Eye rolling & Sarcasm (especially from Bella, but she does regret a few of the things after she says them); A few possible curses are cut-off; A mention of a curse (said, not written); A mention of flipping someone off; A mention of “some stuff’s hit the fan”; Being held at gunpoint, being shot, being slapped, being forced to eat pills (being told to overdose), pain, blood/bleeding, injuries, being forced to write a suicide letter, & passing out (semi-detailed); A fire, smoke, & pain (up to semi-detailed); Bella & her friends go to clubs and have virgin drinks; Mentions of car wrecks/accidents (up to semi-detailed), deaths, & someone being on life-support since (one person says he’s a permanent vegetable); Mentions of car racing & someone being seriously injured (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of someone who was said to have committed suicide (*Spoiler* it turns out it was an initiation into a group that went wrong *End of Spoiler*); Mentions of a fire, an arsonist, & someone setting the fire (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of planning a gas leak to kill someone; Mentions of mafias, a group of teens that are like a high school mafia, beat-ins, shootings, & initiations; Mentions of parties, drinking (including under-aged drinking, though Bella doesn’t drink), drinks/kegs, not getting drunk, & hangovers; Mentions of drugs (including slang names), planting drugs to frame someone, & drug smuggling; Mentions of jail/prison; Mentions of Bella’s parents’ divorce & other divorces; Mentions of threats; Mentions of lies, lying, liars, & eavesdropping; Mentions of gossip; Mentions of jealousy; Mentions of tattoos; Mentions of throwing up & vomit; Mentions of animal poop (also called turds by a five-year-old), peeing, & other body functions (burping, etc.); A couple mentions of wondering if someone is a serial killer & a good place to take a girl if you’re a serial killer; A couple mentions of weapon manufacturing; A couple mentions of a father leaving his family after a tragedy; A mention of wars; A mention of death row; A mention of an addict in rehab; A mention of a drunk; A mention of a girl (not) setting her drink down at a party; A mention of getting mugged; A mention of (not) drinking goat’s blood;  
             *Note: Many mentions of designer brands & stores (Abercrombie, Adidas, Christian Siriano, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Louboutin, MAC, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Nike, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Tony Burch, Vuitton, Wranglers, Macy’s, Saks, Bergdorf’s, Bloomie’s, Barney’s, Pottery Barn, Wal-Mart); Mentions of singers, songs, celebrities, TV shows, movies, & channels (N*Sync, Maroon 5, Josh Groban, Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Dolly Parton, Anne Hathaway, Justin Timberlake, Reese Witherspoon, Jimmy Fallon, John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Survivor, General Hospital, Scooby Doo, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Jaws, The Incredibles, Sister Act, E!, PBS, CNN, Hallmark, & ESPN); Mentions of books, authors, & fictional characters (Lord of the Rings, The Scarlet Letter, Great Expectations, Death of a Salesman, Huck Finn, J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, Barbie, Superman, Spiderman, Winnie-the-Pooh, Fred Flinstone, & Voldemort); Mentions of car brands; Mentions of Starbucks (and drinking coffee from there); A few mentions of musicals (Wicked and The Wizard of Oz); A few mentions of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream; A couple mentions of books & series; A few mentions of climate change & global warming (a five-year-old comments that the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free by 2050, so he’s using recycled paper); A few mentions of Google, Netflix, Apple products, & Avon; A mention of Uber; A mention of Vogue; A mention of a UFO sighting; A mention of wanting to tell someone where they can stick their way.
Sexual Content- A cheek kiss, a forehead kiss, a barely-above-not-detailed kiss, and a make-out session (to keep people from noticing them, up to detailed); Recalling a kiss & wanting to kiss someone again (up to semi-detailed); Noticing a guy glancing at your lips; Touches, Tingles, Noticing Muscles, Dancing, Attraction, Noticing, Nearness, & Smelling (semi-detailed); A ‘skanks’ and five ‘hot’s when referring to someone’s appearance, Seeing a guy coming out of the shower with just a towel on (his abs are noticed by Bella, and another guy is upset that she was alone with a naked guy in his bedroom (nothing happened though)); Bella says she wants to still do things together with a guy and then hopes it doesn’t sound suggestive (she meant as going to the movies together, not as in “get horizontal on the couch”); Catching someone cheating & making-out with someone that’s not the person they’re dating; Bella sees her stepfather in a highly inappropriate position and outfit with another man (he’s training to be a wrestler, but Bella implies that she’s thinking he’s a “Spandexy perv” and willing to use it to get her mom to take her back to New York; Bella asks if he’s an exotic dancer, later says “he’s out of the spandex closet”); Bella flirts with guy & purrs over them; Bella helps another girl get the attention of her crush (this includes Bella mentioning that she shouldn’t cover up her great calves and tries to get her to get a dress that the friend isn’t comfortable in); Many mentions of dating, dates, boys, boyfriends, girlfriends, crushes, cheating, & exes; Mentions of make-out sessions; Mentions of dancing & nearness; Mentions of girls liking hot & sweaty guys; A few mentions of Bella’s dad’s bimbo-of-the-month club & him “working” (meeting women and negotiate kissing); A few mentions of seeing a married couple kiss; A few mentions of blushes & winks; A few mentions of jealousy; A couple mentions of a man leaving his wife for another woman (Bella says her mother relates to that); A couple mentions of Hester and her A for adulterer in “The Scarlet Letter”; A mention of not going off alone with anyone at a party; A mention of someone kissing like a movie star; A mention of a French kiss; A mention of canoodling; There is sexual tension between Bella & Luke;
             *Note: In this 2019 revised edition, there is a bonus scene of Bella giving purses to a person who is hinted to be transgendered (the person is said to “flamboyantly dressed”, Bella’s never asked but she’s “pretty sure Louise was once a Louis” (and refers to the person as a she/her), and while the person may have squeezed themselves into Bella’s clothes, they “had boat-sized man feet, a fact that neither one of us acknowledged”); Bella has a conversation with a wrestler (male) about a designer (he says her shirt is “adorbs” and calls her “darlin’”) and she leaves before he starts giving her make-up advice; Bella accidentally walks in on her stepbrother in the bathroom in only his boxers; Bella helps a friend pick out a dress and while the friend feels naked in it, Bella says it’s very conservative, trendy and shows off her curves (the friend gets the dress she’s comfortable in); Mentions of Bella’s father being a plastic surgeon & nose and boob jobs; Mentions of feminine products & pads; Mentions of butts (including mentions of football players slapping each other on the butt, butting into a dance, butting out of someone’s life, someone butts up to someone else, a person’s spoiled butt); A few mentions of girls’ curves & showing them off; A few mentions of underwear & flashing your undies accidentally; A few mentions of waxing & shaving; A few mentions of birth control pills; A couple mentions of streaking; A couple mentions of guys’ six-pack abs; A couple mentions of a tight t-shirt & a girl feeling like her chest is trapped; A mention of Bella’s number being on the bathroom walls and not because she’s a good time; A mention of Bella would rather dance topless in the front yard than do something else; A mention of (not) dancing naked; A mention of getting out of the car in a delicate manner and not giving someone a free peep show; A mention of Bella lusting in her heart—over other people’s clothing; A mention of double D breasts; A mention of a too-tight bra; A mention of a strapless dress; A mention of an old man ordering boxes of frilly underwear online; A mention of a guy having a chick flick fetish (he cries during Hallmark movies); A mention of a mother that died in labor.
-Isabella “Bella” Kirkwood, age 16
                                1st person P.O.V. of Bella
                                                        316 pages

Pre Teens-
New Teens-
Early High School Teens-
Older High School Teens-
My personal Rating-
I first attempted to read this book in 2013, then later picked it back up in 2015 and rated it one star. Now in 2021, this popular YA book at used bookstores is officially reviewed on BFCG. However, this is a review (and therefore the content from) the 2019 revised edition of “So Not Happening” by Jenny B. Jones. There was some content details that were changed or omitted that I will list below.

When I first read this book, I thought Bella was selfish and shallow. This reread, though, I saw her more hurt than shallow and liked her better. But I’m not sure if any of those moments where I was annoyed at her selfishness were edited out or changed in this new edition. (This is the problem I have with new editions where details are changed. A cover change? Sure, no problem. Changing a storyline or the content, however, makes it harder on reviewers.)

Some of the more crude comments or “humor” that was originally in this first book are missing, and I think that’s why I enjoyed it more this time, however…

While I was planning to up my personal rating of this book to 2 stars, after reading a disappointing bonus scene about a “woman” that is hinted to have originally be a man (quoted in the Note section of the Sexual Content and below), it keeps its one-star rating from me. Very disappointing.


So What’s Different Between the Versions? In the Original:

Bella’s dad’s women friends (referred to as “bimbo”s very often in the original) are much more played down in this new version. In the original, his “barely legal girlfriends” are mentioned, including one that used to be a stripper. While there are still some, there’s less mentions of what Bella’s wearing (shorts, mini skirts, strapless dresses, bras, undies, etc); A mention of a transvestite (someone who dresses in clothes that are typically for the opposite gender; there part isn’t in the new edition but there is the bonus scene, noted below); There’s more mentions of butts and such; Many more comments about poop and whatnot; Celebrities of that time (2009) are mentioned frequently. A mention of the movie “Sex and the City”. That “chick flick fetish” Bella says a guy has isn’t Hallmark movies like this new edition, but Lifetime movies. Bella comes across as much more shallow and self-centered in the original edition.  


**That bonus scene I mentioned in my final thoughts is not in the original edition, but included in this newer edition: In this 2019 revised edition, there is a bonus scene of Bella giving purses to a person who is hinted to be transgendered (the person is said to “flamboyantly dressed”, Bella’s never asked but she’s “pretty sure Louise was once a Louis” (and refers to the person as a she/her), and while the person may have squeezed themself into Bella’s clothes, they “had boat-sized man feet, a fact that neither one of us acknowledged”).

See y’all on Friday with a new review!

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.