Monday, February 27, 2012

Team Novel Teen Blog Tour: The Wishing Pearl by Nicole O'Dell

Sixteen-Year-Old Olivia Mansfield Dreams Of A Land Far, Far Away...

Olivia Mansfield can’t wait to escape the confines of her home, which promises nothing but perpetual torment and abuse from her stepfather while her mother turns a blind eye. She dreams of being accepted into a prestigious music school far, far away. . .but until she graduates from high school, Olivia must make the best of her dire situation. 

When poor choices lead her to the brink of a complete breakdown and she finds herself dealing with the unexpected death of her best friend, Olivia comes to a crossroads. Will she find the path to ultimate hope and healing that her heart longs for? Or will the demons from Olivia’s past prove too much to bear?


This is not the first book I have read from this wonderful YA author. But so far it has to be my favorite. Nicole has such a connection with teen girls and it comes out in her writing. Olivia reminds me of so many teen girls in her actions and her desires. The struggles she has within herself to do the right thing or do what will "make it all go away" are things we all face at that age and beyond, if we are honest. 

Diamond Estates is a wonderful place filled with caring people. What a great concept that should be implemented all over this country to help lost teens. I loved the fact that it was a community of people that helped get the center started and kept it going with prayer and support. I also loved the fact that the girls dealt with real life situations. It wasn't painted over. Things were hard and needed to be faced head on. And each one had to deal with things instead of letting someone else do it for them, in most cases. 

It shows us how each person has their own burdens and hardships. Things that we have gone through or are going through that sometimes even seem impossible to live through. But it also shows us that we are not fighting against things of this world, not even the person that is doing terrible things to you. We are up against Satan and his evil forces. In order to battle that we must call upon a force much greater than ourselves. Without Jesus we cannot hope to win the battle or the war. 

I think this is a great book to share with teen girls in your life. I also think it is a great book to share with women of any age who have a desire to reach out to teens and might be looking for avenues to do that. What an awesome thing it would be if women all over this country joined together, with their spouses and others in their churches, to start places like Diamond Estates to help teens find Christ. Share this book with someone this year! It will be worth every penny!

(This is a re-posted review for our Team Novel Teen Blog Tour.)


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Series Description:
Diamond Estates: Three girls are on a journey to find hope and healing. Each coming to Diamond Estates seeking solace...Each with her own unique set of struggles...And each capturing hearts and challenging the faith of teen girls.

The Wishing Pearl, Book One 2011
The Embittered Ruby, Book Two 2012
The Shadowed Onyx, Book Three 2013

Scenarios For Girls, Interactive Fiction
Dare to Be Different (Truth or Dare and All That Glitters) 2011
Risky Business (Magna and Making Waves) 2011
Swept Away (High Stakes and Essence of Lilly) 2011

Girl Talk: 180 Q&A (for Life's Ups, Downs and In-Betweens) 2012


Team Novel Teen
About Team Novel Teen:
 We are a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Lost in Dreams by Roger Bruner by clicking on the links below, and check out the Team Novel Teen page for more information.
See what the Team had to say about The Wishing Pearl. Click on each link to view their blog post about the book.

My Life with a Mission • ADD Librarian • Audacious Reader • The Book Fae • Book Nook 4 You • Bookworm Reading • Colorimetry • Gillian Adams • Jill Williamson • Katie McCurdy • The Librarian’s Bookshelf • The Pen and Parchment • Rachelle Rea • Terri Harr • Virtuous Girlhood

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Girl Talk by Nicole O'Dell

Girl Talk: 180 Q&A (for Life's Ups, Downs, and In-Betweens)It's Time for Some Girl Talk!....

Popular blogging trio--mom, Nicole O'Dell, along with daughters, Emily and Natalie--offer trustworthy, biblically based advice for all your ups, down, and in-betweens. Selected from actual questions they've encountered on their blog site, this fabulous resource offers real-life helps for issues including relationships, character, body image, fashion, gossip, and more. You'll find 180 questions along with answers and related scripture selections that will both encourage and challenge you in your faith walk. 


Girl Talk has over 200 pages. It is a full-color book filled with questions from teen girls. The pages are glossy and beautiful. Nicole and her daughters, Natalie and Emily answer the questions. This book can be used in different ways. A teen can read it by herself, with her sisters or friends or even for some great mother-daughter time. That is how I am using it in my home with my preteen daughter. We are going through it a page at a time and talking about the topic and the answers that were given. I let her share with me what she thinks and then I share a bit more of what I think and what the Bible says about it. We go a bit deeper with the answers given in the book and take it into whatever questions along that line my daughter might have.

It is a wonderful book. Nicole has a love for teens that shines through in her writing. I recommend this book and any other books you can get your hands on by Nicole. You can't go wrong with any of them!

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Nicole O'Dell enjoys speaking at churches and to youth and parenting groups to offer insight into godly navigation of those rough teen years. Over the years, Nicole has worked as a youth director, a Bible study leader for women and teens, a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center, and was a veteran camp counselor for over a decade. Her writing includes teen fiction and devotionals and Bible studies for women of all ages.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Fire In Ember by DiAnn Mills

The Fire in Ember: A NovelBetween One Woman's Life And One Man's Heart...


Bert believed returning a stolen horse was the right thing for her to do. But she never imagined rand hands would mistake her as a horse thief, then sentence her to hang. She couldn't tell them the truth. Neither did she want to die.

Deputy John Timmons's middle name is responsibility. He's been caring for his mother and younger brothers on his ranch for five years. He thought he was saving a boy from a hanging--his duty. But when he learns Bert is a girl, a whirlwind of emotions send his heart spinning. 

Cattle rustlers have invaded the northern Colorado ranchers, leaving murder in their wake. Bert is a suspect, especially when she refuses to give her real name or reveal what she's running from. John knows she's afraid of something, but what? He sees a sweet spirit, not a woman who's deceiving his family.

How can John arrest her when she's stolen his heart?

Twists, turns, and unforgettable characters make this action-packed page-turner a historical romance with fire.


I have read several of DiAnn's books and love her writing style. This one is in Colorado, a state I love. She makes the words come alive when she describes the surroundings. It is almost like you are there. And her characters are rich with personality. 

John is a strong man with determination to do the right thing and provide for his mom and younger brothers. He has put off his dreams because of that and focused only on doing everything needed for others. But he is not without compassion or the sense of right and wrong. He goes about things in an honest way.

Bert (or Ember) is a young woman who has only known cruel and harsh treatment, with a minimal amount of real love from a brother who died years before. When she finds love and acceptance with the Timmon's family she dreams of what life could have been like had she been born in another family, a family like theirs. But the lies she has been told all of her life fill her head and her heart and fear keeps her from telling the truth. 

Read it to see how learning about God, someone she has never known or even heard about, changes her life and how she sees and handles things. This is a great book. I recommend it if you love a great historical set in the west United States. 


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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson

Never Been Kissed

New School = New chance for that first kiss

Summer is ending, and for once that doesn't seem like such a bad thing to Elise. She's hoping that starting fresh at a new high school will turn her first-kiss prospects around. New guys, new friends, and a new lease on life.

What she wasn't counting on was all the new pressure--to hang with the right crowd, wear the right clothes, and date the right guy. Just when it seems she's on top of the world, everything comes crashing down. Could one bad choice derail her future?


This book is written from the point of view of a sixteen year old girl who has, you guessed it, never been kissed. It has all the attitude and sassy-ness of a sixteen year old girl. It shows how much pressure a girl can be under to say what others expect and how that can lead to more lies to cover that up. It also shows how we can misunderstand things. Things aren't always as they appear to be. It is hard when you are trusting of others. The world can have some people who are out for themselves and don't care who they hurt to get what they want. 

This is a cute book for young teens to help them understand how to make the right choices and how to handle things if they are going through a really hard and challenging situation. Standing firm when no one believes you isn't always easy, but God is there to help you through it.


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