The End of Youngblood Johnson by Aaron Johnson

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The End of Youngblood Johnson by Aaron Johnson with Jamie Buckingham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Immediately I felt the rush in my stomach. I knew I had killed myself. I tried to get up but could not move. Youngblood Johnson was dying.

For someone who doesn’t read a ton of memoirs, it’s almost strange how engrossed I get whenever I read this one from the 1970s, The End of Youngblood Johnson by Aaron Johnson (as told to Jamie Buckingham.) I’ve read the book three times now.

I mean, if it were a movie, it might be one I’d personally pass on watching. Heroin addiction is absolutely no joke, and Johnson’s earlier life as a junkie wasn’t any joke either. Add in some broken families, poverty, violence, pimps and prostitutes, crooked preachers, crooked cops, jail time–and you’ve got anything but a pleasant, feel-good story on your hands.

Yet, this is a real story. A story of faith that someone actually lived. And, no, the memoir isn’t exactly a pretty one, but life isn’t always pretty.

I don’t read books that seem messy for the sake of mess, books that go into salacious or gory details apparently just to shock my senses. But there are a lot of people who won’t know or imagine just how far redemption can reach if redeemed folks gloss over or remain silent about the dark places they’ve been redeemed from.

So, no, this isn’t a book for the faint of heart. It’s a tragic but ultimately touching and memorable account of one man’s passage from darkness into light.


Giveaway: The Movement of Crowns Series

Even after devastation, all is not lost.
The Movement of Crowns Series by Nadine C. Keels

“Overall, The Movement Of Crowns series is an excellent read. The stories are compelling, the people are very well written. I thoroughly enjoyed all three books.” ~iRead Book Reviews

Find the giveaway for these three books in the Faith, Hope, and Book Love group on Facebook.
Giveaway ends July 6, 2018.


The Wife Degree by Aisha Ford

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Wife Degree by Aisha Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Madison is back home from college, and her childhood crush, Jordan, still lives next door. He used to make fun of Maddy all the time, but he seems to have changed during her absence. Maddy thinks there may be a chance for this crush to become more–but maybe there are a few practical skills she’ll need to pick up first in The Wife Degree by author Aisha Ford.

Maddy is a returning character from an earlier novel. So if you might want to read Stacy’s Wedding sometime, it’d be cool to read that book first, though it isn’t strictly necessary.

This story started out pretty slow for me; I was almost ready to set it aside after a couple chapters or so. Then it started getting rather fun, and I recognized the reasons why I enjoyed it the first time, when I read it years ago. The funnier stuff in here is romantic comedy material that got some laughter out of me.

The story isn’t all fun and games, though, as it addresses some serious issues, even outside of the romance. Now, evangelism is spread on thick through the plot, and it doesn’t come off too naturally. On a lighter note, something like the ability to cook is a life skill, not a wife skill, and equal partnership in a marriage doesn’t necessarily equate to equal housework. Different marriages work differently, of course.

But I don’t think it’s this story’s real point to drive home a homemaking message, so much. Besides, the romance is interesting without depending on melodrama to give the hero and heroine their challenge. Other fans of sweet ChristFic romance should like this one.


Maddy is a returning character from Stacy’s Wedding.


Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Janice. The mother of Marquis, a teenaged boy who’s been shot.

Meredith. The wife of the man who shot Marquis.

Wyatt. The white man accused of shooting and killing Marquis–who was black. Was Wyatt only standing his ground, as the law permits?

Stand Your Ground by author Victoria Christopher Murray is one of those novels that’s hard for me to rate. Even though ratings generally reflect how readers feel about a book, folks still judge a book’s merit by its ratings. The measure of a reader’s feelings and the measure of a book’s merit aren’t necessarily the same.

This novel made me feel a number of emotions, including anger and sadness, as it’s indeed a tragic story, in more ways than one. I was intrigued during a few moments, but on the whole, the story didn’t surprise me. I do like how not all the characters of either race think exactly alike, none of them are perfect people, and there’s some nuance in the black community’s response to the killing.

Now, while the novel doesn’t have any words that network television would bleep out nowadays, there’s some language I don’t appreciate seeing in ChristFic. Other times the writing seems repetitive, clichéd, or keyword conscious, as if to fit in or repeat certain common phrases.

More importantly, I would’ve liked to see more purpose and dimension for some of the characters. Although I liked seeing Meredith’s perspective, she ultimately doesn’t seem pivotal to the plot. The story’s “bad guys” are like caricatures, and in the end, Wyatt’s character just didn’t make sense to me.

In all, my biggest takeaways from this read are reminders not to take prejudgments as facts and to beware of accepting “loud” perceptions without thinking critically, without searching and listening carefully, listening closely, for truth.


Note to my blog readers: this novel contains some violence and sensual material for mature audiences.