**** Focused on Faith Review by Rox Burkey
Author C.J, Peterson kicks the story into high gear right off the bat as Stacey finds out her mom, and Sam finds out his wife Lauren died in a car accident. Sam is a successful lawyer, and Stacey is a sixteen-year-old who is undecided about her life goals. The death of Lauren throws them into the world of grief and sadness. Lauren’s family tries to help, but it is a lot for Stacey to process. When Sam’s law firm offers him a chance at a job in another location and a chance for Stacey and him to reinvent their family, they move to Pine Crest.
The new community, school, memories, and friends are the top negotiated areas when one move as a teenager. It is a challenge that teens and young adults relate to and understand. What is odd is that Pine Crest is hiding some evil secrets. Protecting those secrets is costing people high prices.
I liked how early on, CJ showed the now modified relationship between father and daughter. This bond increases throughout the story.
“When it’s all said and done, they have their entire family at home. We don’t. They have their moms to hug. They have their moms to ask for advice. They have their moms to tell them if they screwed up or if they’re proud of them. They have their moms…period. I don’t!”
Sam reached over and hugged Stacey as she cried. “I’m sorry, Stacey. I will do better. We’ll figure this out together,” he said and kissed her head. “I am not your mom, but I will do my best. We’re in this together. After this all clears, we’ll figure out what we want or need to do. We don’t have to make any decisions right away. We do not have to listen to what others tell us. We will do what we want to do. Just give me a few hours downstairs, and then you can go lock yourself in your room. Can you do that for me?”
She sniffed, wiping her face. “I’ll do my best.”
Stacey discovers the strange events, and in turn, by Sam, who both try to find a long-term solution. Will their faith be enough for survival? The action keeps the reader engaged, as does the character’s evolving relationships. Stacey’s evolution to champion for her friends and community shows how far she has come since her mom’s death. It also helps guide her to a longer-term professional goal.
There are a few descriptive areas that may be rough for some teens, so parents might want to read it first. The story lessons are powerful and remind readers to keep their faith. C.J, is an avid writer with a Christian focus that keeps readers wanting more. A superb choice to help emphasize core values.
About the Author
C.J. Peterson is a five-time award-winning author. She has been published since 2012 and knows how to relate well to folks of all ages. Her bright spirit and personality shine through to her passions and heart as an author, blogger, and now a podcaster! CJ brings to life not only her world of writing and being a former youth leader for eighteen years, but also shares portions of her abuse-survival past, and how that has shaped her in order to help others.
Recently, she has had a number of successes!
– SEASONS OF CHANGE received SECOND PLACE in the “Adult Fiction” category in 2016 for the North Texas Book Festival
– The DIVINE LEGACY SERIES won 2019 TEXAS AUTHORS BEST CHRISTIAN FICTION SERIES for Texas Association of Authors.
– ARMY RISING received FIRST PLACE in the “Adult Fiction” category for 2019 at the North Texas Book Festival
– HEARTS UNITED received THIRD PLACE in the “Adult Fiction” category for the North Texas Book Festival in 2019.
– CHAINS BROKEN received FIRST PLACE in the “Adult Fiction” category for the North Texas book Festival in 2020.
She is also co-owner of Texas Sisters Press – texassisterspress.com
“While the stories are fiction, the journey is real.”
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