As most of you know, I was a part of Jody Hedlund’s influencer team for her recent release An Uncertain Choice (an awesome book by the way!). It was a rewarding experience, especially in getting to know the other influencers. One of the influencers, Kim Moss, emailed me asking if I’d be willing to read her books and review them.
Of course I said yes. And I am super glad I did! Not only did I get to read two wonderful books, I also got to know a fellow Christian author. Before I knew it, I had two book reviews, an author interview, and character spotlights and way too much stuff for one blog post. This blog post will have my reviews and my interview with Kim. Tomorrow I’ll have character spotlights with three of her characters. And, to top it all off, I’m having a giveaway for ebooks of Leaving Nelson and My Summer Storm. Look for the Rafflecopter entry form at the bottom of this post.
So let’s get the fun started.
Leaving Nelson – Bailey Baxter Series Book 1
About the Book:
Bailey’s ninth grade year couldn’t possibly get any worse.
After losing her mother to cancer, her father decides to move the family back to his hometown in Tennessee. Leaving Nelson, the only home she’s ever known, is the icing on the cake. Uprooted from the familiar, with wounds left unhealed, Bailey attempts to hide in the shadows of strangers. However, as the daughter of Fulton’s hometown hero, she catches the attention of many—foiling her plan to simply blend in. Worst of all, the biggest jerk in school has decided to make her his special project. Then Bailey runs into the cute, shy boy from her English class. His charm and lopsided grin give Bailey a reason to smile again even in the midst of her pain. Could he be the one putting poetry in her locker? As new friendships take shape, Bailey’s bitterness and resentment begin to slowly melt away. Just as her faith is restored, a secret is discovered. A painting of a young girl that dates back years before her birth now threatens to ravish the relationships with those she has grown to love.On a quest to reveal the truth, Bailey discovers that, though she had a difficult time leaving Nelson, what she finds in Fulton may just be what she has been searching for all along.
The beauty of this book is not in its fast-paced action scenes or heart-thumping danger. Normally, that is the type of book I pick up. Leaving Nelson is the story of an ordinary, fourteen-year-old girl, Bailey Baxter, who has lost her mother and forced to move several states away from the place where she has grown up. She has to start over with new friends in a new place while trying to heal from the pain of losing her mother. The writing drew me in until I couldn’t put the book down while I held my breath over Bailey’s inner growth and freshmen in high school drama.
The thing that impressed me most about this book was the characters. The characters sounded like fourteen and fifteen year olds in high school. They had drama and bursts and anger and irrational decisions, but it all felt natural to the characters. It is hard to write fourteen-year-olds that don’t sound too young or too old.
I felt like the beginning of this book spent a little too much time on back story and revealed some of the early information in infodumps that could have been worked into the story better. Once I got past the first couple chapter, the rest of the story flew by so fast that the beginning didn’t detract too much from the rest of the book.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All comments in my review are my own.
My Summer Storm – Bailey Baxter Series Book 2
About the Book
Nestled deep in the breathtaking mountains of Virginia, Camp Golden Meadows is the ideal place for summer romance.
At least that’s what 17-year-old Bailey Baxter thinks when she makes the trip with her childhood friend, Max Martin. A summer away is the perfect escape from her father’s budding romance, and it just might be her chance to kindle a romantic fire of her own with Max. Bailey packs all of her hopes and wishes for summer love in her suitcase next to a photo from her past. But when an unexpected turn of events bring old feelings to life, jealousy and betrayal unpack their bags. At odds with one of her roommates and haunted by feelings she can’t ignore, the summer isn’t turning out the way Bailey had planned. In the mountains, where storms are intense and often unpredictable, Bailey learns that love often behaves the same way—with great power and the potential to cause damage. Will Bailey find happiness in the midst of this perfect storm, or will it drown out the fire between her and Max?
I loved My Summer Storm even more than Leaving Nelson. The writing of this book is even better than the first book. In this book, Bailey is now seventeen. Once again, the characters sound their age. Bailey sounds like a seventeen-year-old. Her decisions are more thought-out. Her faith plays more of a role in this book than book 1. In book 1, Bailey was just beginning to grasp what faith means for her. In this book, she depends on her faith to help make decisions in her life.
Although this book covers an entire summer, I never got bored. Once again, the ups and downs of Bailey’s life were written in a compelling manner that kept me reading.
In the interest of full disclosure, I bought this book myself since I loved the first book so much. All my comments are my own.
About the Author
Kim Moss is a wife, mother, teacher, and author. She lives in Dallas, Texas with a very amazing husband and two young “super hero” boys who inspire her daily. She’s been writing ever since she could hold a pencil. She actually wrote her first YA novel on a yellow legal pad in junior high school, and she hasn’t stopped writing since! She is a teacher by day, and a novelist by night. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family in the great outdoors.
You can connect with her on her website kimmosswrites.com
What inspired you to write Leaving Nelson? What about My Summer Storm?
Leaving Nelson was inspired by the death of my mother when I was fifteen-years-old. She was an incredible woman, just like Bailey’s mom. She always wanted to write a book about surviving cancer, but she never got the chance. I feel like God gave me this story to write for kids out there who may have lost a loved one. It’s for them to see that He can use both the good and the bad things in our lives for a bigger purpose.
My Summer Storm was written because a few of my beta readers begged me to write a sequel after reading Leaving Nelson. They wanted to read more about Bailey’s budding romance with Bryce and her confusing feelings for Max. I chose to send Bailey to summer camp because (let’s face it) summer camp is the perfect place to fall in love! I spent several summers as a camper and as a camp counselor, and many of my favorite memories were made on the shores of a lake in the hot summer sun. I also wanted to write a true love story, one that’s not just focused on romance, but on how God ultimately brings two people together who value each other and His plan for purity.
Your mom sounds like she was a wonderful person. Your emotion over your mom comes through in the books. I’ll admit, I cried a couple of times in Leaving Nelson when Bailey described her mom.
You mentioned these books are part of a four book series. When is the next book coming out?
I’m so excited about Chasing Secrets. It is the third book in the series, and it is set to release late this summer. It picks up right after camp, so those of you who are waiting to know what happens next with Bailey and her friends will not have to wait much longer.
Including me! I’m counting down the days until summer!
You’re an indie published author. What made you decide to pursue indie publishing?
It was a very hard decision. I guess it all boils down to creative control. I honestly didn’t want anyone to change Bailey’s story in Leaving Nelson. It was such a personal project for me. I’m not opposed to traditional publishing in the future. I would eventually like to find an agent and have my next series (written in the perspective of one of Bailey’s friends) published through a Christian publishing house.
You did a great job! Best wishes with whatever route you go in the future!
What is the hardest part of indie publishing?
Marketing. Hands down. It’s hard to get the word out without “selling yourself” all the time. That’s my biggest problem as an indie publisher. It’s hard for me to tell people, “Oh yeah, read my book!” without feeling awkward. I’m just not that kind of person. My hope is that people will read about Bailey and her friends and spread the word—that people will want to introduce these lovable characters to their friends, students, and family members. That’s been my biggest reward so far. It’s been really neat to see how readers have responded to these characters.
I’m glad I could help get the word out!
One last question: Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings?
Chronicles of Narnia
I say that simply because I’ve read them several times with my students. I teach elementary school, and we love spending our fantasy unit with C.S. Lewis. I must admit, though, I’m currently reading The Hobbit with some of my advanced readers.
I was in elementary school when I first read The Chronicles of Narnia. It is an experiences that sticks with a person.
Thank-you so much for spending some time on my blog, Kim!
To help get the word out about Leaving Nelson and My Summer Storm, I’m giving away ebooks of both books to one person. Follow this link to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway:a Rafflecopter giveaway
Check back tomorrow for character spotlights on three of the characters from Leaving Nelson and My Summer Storm!