Friday, April 15, 2022

ALL THAT IT TAKES by Nicole Deese, Reviewed by Rebecca, Winnie, and Kim

"My mom just tried to kill you with my lightsaber. Look, she even dented it!"

And just like that, Val Locklier and Miles McKenzie meet their future, they just didn't know it yet.

Entering a prestigious filmmaker's mentoring program was not on Val's radar when she and her ten year old son Tucker moved from their Skagway, Alaska home to Spokane, Washington. Expecting to work in her best friend's starter business that would outfit women struggling to enter the marketplace, Val faced a life-altering decision when her employment was delayed. But nothing compared to "the man downstairs".

So . . . his sister Molly had rented out his second level apartment again in his absence. Arriving back in the States physically and mentally exhausted, outreach pastor Miles McKenzie had just wanted to make sure everything was on the up and up after hearing noises. . . upstairs. Instead he came face to face with a "she-bear" and her cub, looking very much like the lovely woman he had barely met, but not forgotten, at his sister's wedding.

As Val and Miles build upon an acquaintance relationship, the core goals of their lives begin to shift. After years of international missions, was it even possible for Miles to put down roots, re-directing his passion for outreach and discipleship into a fledgling local ministry? And sweet, gentle, talented Val; could she find the courage to share her heart, her "story", even if it meant shedding a long ingrained tendency to hide behind the curtain of disability? If not, what kind of connection did they really have?

"At the heart of of every human born on this planet lives the felt need for connection-- to a parent, to a peer, to a Creator whose imprint is in every fiber of our beings."

"I'd much rather my life be defined by a thousand little moments of faithfulness than by one big moment of fame."

This, my friends is a masterpiece, a story worth telling and thus; well told. 

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions stated above are entirely my own.

“. . . sometimes all that it takes is one person being willing to step out in love for the betterment of another to change the trajectory of an entire life.”

Deep, thoughtful, and beautifully written, Nicole Deese’s book, All That It Takes, showcases her great talent for crafting exquisite stories with unforgettable characters. Miles McKenzie and Val Locklier are realistically-flawed and emotionally-layered main characters who are both faced with major life changes. When their lives collide, with help from Miles’ twin sister Molly, they find their futures may look differently than they had planned. I enjoyed seeing them grow and change in their relationship and outlooks.

With Deese’s signature sense of humor, vivid imagery, and emotional depth, this story kept my interest from the first page. Powerful themes of faith in God, service to others, and the impact our actions can have on others are seamlessly incorporated into the tale without being preachy. When I pick up a book by Nicole Deese, I’m guaranteed a thought-provoking, touching read, and this one certainly delivered. It’s headed right to my keeper shelf.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.

I know when I pick up a Nicole Deese book that I’m in for a well written, heart-tugging story with wonderfully relatable characters, humor, and an in-depth message. I also know I will need to make room on my keeper shelf!

While I loved all of the main characters, I have to admit that Tucker stole my heart! I loved him and he really added to this story. I also loved how Val and Miles connected from the start and how their relationship grew throughout the story. The growth of both Miles and Val was perfectly done and so believable. The faith message was perfectly woven throughout this story and while their were some tough subjects, Ms. Deese handled them beautifully.

I really enjoyed everything about All That it Takes and while this book is connected to All That Really Matters, you don’t have to read that one first. But, you should definitely read All That Really Matters because it is amazing and Silas is perfection! I highly recommend this series!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is medium.


BackCover Blurb:
When the ever-cautious Val Locklier moves cross-country with her son for a secure job, everything she'd planned unravels within the first week. After Val reluctantly agrees to rent an apartment from her best friend's brother, an unexpected chance at an elite filmmakers' mentorship ignites fresh hope for a dream career. But as Val's community begins to expand, so do her insecurities, especially those heightened by her growing attraction to a certain friendly landlord.

Pastor Miles McKenzie returns home from a short-term mission trip to discover that not only does he have an intriguing new tenant living upstairs, he's also been reassigned to a local ministry on life support. Disillusioned and restless, he distracts himself by throwing his energy into a host of new projects--not the least of which is pursuing Val--without stopping to consider the future.

As Val struggles to stop hiding behind the camera and Miles wrestles with shattered expectations, they'll find that authentic love and sacrifice must go hand in hand.

Bethany House Publishing, April 5, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy ALL THAT IT TAKES at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

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