The Thirteenth Chance

Another book review because the amazing authors out there who have written books for me to lose myself in deserve praise shouted from the rooftops!  That, annnnnd they let me read their books early if I tell all my friends what I thought about it.

51-6lwixfjl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Amy Matayo is an author whom I became acquainted with when I read a novella collection that one of my favorite authors was part of.  Then I won a copy of Amy’s novel, Sway, and was hooked on her writing.  This newest book, The Thirteenth Chance, was one I couldn’t put down!

But I’ve also learned that bad decisions don’t make a bad man.  Everyone has a past full of mistakes they would like to undo, and everyone has a future full of errors ready and waiting for them.

I love it when a feel-good novel brings home hard truths that we all need to hear.  Messing up is a part of life, but forgiving is the part that we all struggle with and need to work on.

In this book, a professional baseball player, Will,  who has plenty of mess-ups in his past, enlists the help of his goody-two-shoes, elementary school teacher neighbor, Olivia, to help him straighten out his reputation.  Neither one of them expects the chain of events that follow that first fateful meeting in the dark of night, with Olivia wearing blue flannel pants while wielding a screwdriver.  Amy Matayo has managed to capture with hilarity the antics of an ordinary woman who is content to be herself and the reactions of the man who finds her irresistible even when nothing in him wants to.

Did you know you can physically feel your self-image detach itself, suspend in front of you, and fall away?  Well you can.  You really can.

I laughed out loud so many times while reading this novel.  I had to try to explain to those around me why I was laughing more than once, and the joy that bubbled up in me because of Amy’s skillfully written words stayed with me long after I put this book down.  You won’t regret your decision to read this book!  Truly.

You can get it on Amazon tomorrow, September 26th!

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My Hope Next Door


I met Tammy’s pastor husband the first time we ever visited China. He was from Southwestern and participating in the same short-term trip that we were.  He and Cam became friends, and years later, when I learned that his wife had written her first novel, I had to read her work!  I have been hooked ever since.  Tammy has the ability to take real life scenarios and create a story that is not only believable but one that you can imagine yourself living.  I pre-buy all her books and read them on release day.  They make me laugh.  They make me cry.  They make me feel.  I experience every emotion and leave the book, every book, thinking about how I can live my faith out a little bit more.

You want me to believe some holy power has turned your life around?  Well then, Katie, show me the difference.

This book, My Hope Next Door, follows in the footsteps of it’s sister novels.  Katie Stone grew up in a small town where everyone knew who she was.  She didn’t make the best choices and when she returns, years after leaving, to help care for her family, she comes face to face with her reputation.  As she tries to live out her new faith and let her present self rewrite who she is today, she is met with a wall of resistance, from both others and herself.  Her neighbor turns out to be a guy she hadn’t treated well in high school, but through an unlikely friendship with him, they both navigate through past pains and find their way to a second chance they couldn’t have dreamed of.

I know you think hiding is your best option.  But trust me, you have to feel something in order to heal.  Ignoring pain only makes it worse.

This book challenged me as a follower of Jesus to take a closer look at the people in my life, both past and present, and determine whether or not I am judging them for their past.  We are all sinners in need of grace, and I need to freely forgive both others and myself.  It isn’t an easy task, but I do think it is one that is required of us.  I love it when a fiction novel can speak to my heart and allow Father to refine the places that are in need of Him!

September 13, 2016 is the release date for My Hope Next Door.  You can pre-order this novel on Amazon, and by following that link your purchase will also donate a portion of the sale to the Board that supports us overseas.  You can actually add an Amazon smile element to your Amazon account and support us with every purchase you make!

So go!  Right now, go order this novel (and just do yourself a favor and get all her other ones too!).  If you love to read fiction, you won’t be sorry.

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