Tuesday, April 21, 2020

BEFORE I CALLED YOU MINE by Nicole Deese, Reviewed by Paula, Winnie and Trixi

From the striking cover to the intriguing premise and on to the realistic, endearing characters, Before I Called You Mine captivated me from the start and left me struggling to put my feelings into words. Nicole Deese has written a beautiful, poignant, and tender story that had me laughing, fighting tears, and feeling all the feels.

I had an instant connection with the two main characters, Lauren and Joshua. Their camaraderie and banter were charming and such fun. Lauren was easy to like, competent, and I enjoyed getting to know her. Joshua is a dream hero—compassionate, intelligent, and comfortable in his own skin. A great sense of humor and fun added to his charm.

Deese’s signature sense of humor shines through in her writing and makes this book a treat to read. Sentences like the following had me chuckling out loud.

“If a pause could be considered judgy, this one had pounded the gavel and called the courtroom to attention.”

Themes of faith in God’s timing, commitment, and the power of love are beautifully woven into the story and add depth and inspiration.

“Love isn’t about instant gratification, it’s about showing up for the journey and riding out all the twists and turns along the way . . . together.”

I had been anxiously awaiting this story for quite a while, and it was definitely worth the wait. It’s sure to be on my list of top books for the year and is bound for my keeper shelf. Do yourself a favor and read it!
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

BEFORE I CALLED YOU MINE is a beautiful story. First of all, the cover is exquisite and meaningful. The cherry blossoms and aqua tint give an Asian feel and the red thread with the Mama and baby sized hearts hint at an old Chinese proverb. PERFECT!

Sometimes God says NO, sometimes, YES, and sometimes WAIT!

It takes a special person to adopt a child. It also takes a special person to be able to put that experience into a beautiful story. Nicole Deese has done both.

I was teary eyed, not just at the dedication, but throughout this wonderful book. You can tell Ms. Deese speaks from intimate knowledge and she puts that experience down on paper quite poignantly.

Lauren Bailey , a single teacher, has a heart to adopt. She searches the will of God but is devastated at a setback. God is continually faithful and provides friends who encourage as true friends aught to do, most importantly, holding her up in prayer.

Joshua is a hero in the way all of us tenderhearted ladies want our heroes to be. I loved his nerdy quirkiness, his ability to relate to children and his great big, selfless heart. The banter between Lauren and Joshua was just the right touch and balance.

Little Aria is really preciously portrayed. I love that books were an integral part of the story and that Aria loved books. It showed that books are universal and capable of providing much more than entertainment; they can also help people connect.

The relationship between Lauren and Joshua was quite mature and selfless. Laura muses: “ When I reflected back on our month together, it was not the stolen kisses I missed the most...I was the absence of his friendship that pained me the most. Because more than anything, that is what he had been to me from the start—a loyal, selfless friend who would trade in his desires for the sake of mine.”

The story is not without humor. What is not funny about a substitute teacher mimicking a dinosaur for a bunch of first graders!

This was a winner in my book, one of my favorite this year.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*


“ There's an old Chinese proverb that those of us in the adoption community love to share with those new to the journey. “An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.””

This heartfelt, emotional story is about a long time dream of Lauren's to adopt a child from China, as a single parent. But it's much, much more too! It's about a love story, bonded friendships, struggles of a dysfunctional family, impossible decisions, and dreams stretched beyond human endurance but safely kept in God's hands. And also a book impossible to review because there's just SO much to it that will affect a reader. For me to ugly cry and laugh through the tears at the same time says a lot about how the author can pull such strong emotions out. Nicole Deese is a new-to-me author and she has me completely enamored with her lyrical way of writing. Her sense of humor in her characters endeared me to their personality and watching Lauren and Joshua fall in love was the highlight for me. There are also gut-wrenching parts that severed my heart all while Deese glued those pieces together in a way that was perfect.

“None of us are strong enough to handle the hard apart from God.”

I just have to say, Joshua was the kind of man any woman prays for and he's exactly what Lauren needs for this time in her life. He's patient, kind, supportive, never pushes his agenda, and is just there for her without her ever asking for his help. He brings out the best in Lauren, always putting her needs before himself. I knew a hard decision was coming for Lauren and it gutted me when it did come. Deese pulled out all the stops on this one, I HAD to keep reading to see how she was going to bring about resolution.

“There was effortlessness in conversing with Joshua, an undeniable ease that created a mixed-bag feeling of desire and denial.”

This was also such a spiritual journey for me as I read this. So many truths about God's nature and of who He is to me. Deese has a way to remind the reader that digs deep in your heart and resonates beyond that last page.

“God's way is rarely easy, but it's always better than mine.”

“It's really difficult to hear God's voice when my ears aren't tuned in. But I can tell you one thing, Lauren. God doesn't trick His children. He loves us, and everything He asks of us, or allows us to walk through, has a purpose.”

“God’s best for us rarely comes without the stretching, and it’s in that stretching season, those periods of complete and utter dependence on God’s faithfulness, that He holds our hearts and molds them into a shape that only He can fill.”

So many quotes that touched me and I pray touch you as a reader too. If there is but ONE book that you read, I highly recommend this one. As a fan of Bethany Turner, I'd put Nicole Deese right up there with her writing. “Before I Called You Mine” is one of my top reads for 2020!
*I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions are mine. * 

If three reviews don't convince you, see our #Release Day post with reviews from Kim and Nicole! 

Back Cover Blurb:
Lauren Bailey may be a romantic at heart, but after a decade of matchmaking schemes gone wrong, there's only one match she's committed to now--the one that will make her a mother. Lauren is a dedicated first grade teacher in Idaho, and her love for children has led her to the path of international adoption. To satisfy her adoption agency's requirements, she gladly agreed to remain single for the foreseeable future; however, just as her long wait comes to an end, Lauren is blindsided by a complication she never saw coming: Joshua Avery.

Joshua may be a substitute teacher by day, but Lauren finds his passion for creating educational technology as fascinating as his antics in the classroom. Though she does her best to downplay the undeniable connection between them, his relentless pursuit of her heart puts her commitment to stay unattached to the test and causes her once-firm conviction to waver.

With an impossible decision looming, Lauren might very well find herself choosing between the two deepest desires of her heart . . . even if saying yes to one means letting go of the other.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:

Buy Before I Called You Mine at Amazon
Buy Before I Called You Mine at Christianbook.com


  1. Thanks so much, Debra! This is a fantastic book!

  2. I don't feel my review does this book justice...it's just so, so much more! Thank you for featuring this lovely heartfelt and emotional story on the blog <3


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