Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Grounded: Welcome to the Neighborhood


My blog has always had a major book element to it. I set it up as a way to promote the books I work on. And yes, lately, it's been really book heavy. A) Litfuse is working on a lot of great books and B) I don't have a lot exciting going on in my life anyway, so I can easily talk about it on the weekends.

The truth is, there's not enough time in the day to read every book I post about all the way through. Therefore, I don't request a lot of books to read and write reviews for. Until last week, I hadn't bought a book in months since I have so many great options coming to me for work and some really great Kindle freebies. 

However, I have requested some books to review lately. Today's featured book is one of them (thank you Worthy Publishers). You know I have an affinity for Neta and Dave Jackson. They have a brand new series out, so I'd like to share more about it and my thoughts on the first book in the series, Grounded

About the Windy City Neighbors series:

This is how Dave and Neta describe the new series (straight from their website):

If you're familiar with The Yada Yada Prayer Group series, House of Hope series,
Harry Bentley novels and Lucy Come Home, and most recently the SouledOut Sisters books—all of which revolve around a colorful cast of characters from different cultures and walks of life in Chicago—you may have been one of the readers crying, “No, no! Don’t stop! We want more!”

So, as the familiar litany goes: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue . . .”

We’re doing “something new”! As a husband-wife writing team, we are creating a new series called WINDY CITY NEIGHBORS about ordinary people wrestling with the spiritual and practical issues of real life. Grounded, the first novel in the series, introduces Grace Meredith, a contemporary Christian artist whose life is falling apart (“something blue”!). But we’ve also “borrowed” a few favorite characters from previous series (Harry and Estelle Bentley) who move into the neighborhood and … well, the “old” neighborhood may never be the same!

And something else that’s new! The series employs an innovative storytelling technique we call “parallel novels”—each with its own drama and story arc, but whose characters’ lives become intertwined and affect one another. Grounded welcomes you to Beecham Street—a typical isolated American neighborhood that might just be a place of hope.

About Grounded:

Grace’s fiancĂ©, bothered by her outspoken stance on purity and her near-constant travel as a recording artist, has broken off their relationship. Exhausted and half-sick at the end of her current concert tour, she books a flight home, but traumatic events result in a paralyzing fear of flying. 

Stuck at home due to a major snowstorm and facing major questions about her future and her faith, Grace begins, for the first time, to connect with the residents of Beecham Street. What she discovers in these unexpected relationships could change everything. 

The first in the Windy City Neighbors series, Grounded is an uplifting, contemporary tale featuring characters courageously wrestling with the spiritual and practical issues of real life. the series employs the innovative storytelling technique of "parallel novels," each with its own drama and story arc, but whose characters' lives become intertwined and affect one another. Grounded welcomes you to Beecham Street -- a typical isolated American neighborhood that might just be a place of hope.

About the authors:

Husband and wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are authors and/or coauthors of more than one hundred books which have sold in excess of 2.5 million copies. They are best known for Neta’s award-winning Yada Yada series and their Trailblazer Books – a 40-volume series. They live in the Chicago metropolitan area, where Grounded is set.

For more about Dave and Neta and their books, visit: www.daveneta.com


My take:

Grounded started out a little bit slow to me. When Grace gets stuck at home in the snow without anyone to talk to (in part because she can't!), I wanted her to get out and meet some of the Jacksons' cast of characters we all love so much. I was so happy when the Bentleys moved in across the street!

I was ready for Grace's to confess her secret that's weighing her down to someone, anyone. Maybe  just because I am impatient!

While Grounded does have all the trademark Jackson elements I love {characters that feel like friends of our own, the familiar setting of Chicago (one of my favorite vacation destinations, so I feel I know all the places they are talking about), and praying through a spiritual struggle}, I also like the bit of romance thrown in. The romance element, at least the way it is done this time around, is different than any of the previous books or series. 

Grace is so much more likeable than Kat in the Souled Out Sisters series, that really think I'm going to love this new series even more than Neta's last. I'm excited to read the next installment to find out what happens with Grace and the rest of the neighborhood next.

The wait for the next installment is not a long one. Derailed comes out on October 8!

A sneak peek at Derailed

Harry Bentley was a mess. Yet, with a second chance for a better life, his recent marriage, he expects a smooth road ahead. Abruptly, it feels like God is changing the road signs—left, right, stop, go? Raising his grandson was not part of his plan and now his son wants to move in! Derailed is an often humorous, contemporary tale in an urban setting, featuring characters courageously wrestling with the spiritual and practical issues of average people. The Windy City Neighbors series is set on Beecham Street—a typical isolated American neighborhood—where hope is invited to change everyone


I received this e-book from Worthy Publishers via NetGalley.

2 comments:

Neta Jackson said...

Thanks for the review, Audra! We're honored that with you working on so many books at LitFuse, you chose GROUNDED to review. (Gotta say, poor Kat from the SouledOut Sisters, who started out rather unlikeable . . . I keep hoping readers see the changes God is bringing into her life! Ah well.) As for the new Windy City Neighbors series, we're excited to introduce you to the rest of the neighborhood!--Neta & Dave

Audra Jennings said...

I always choose to read your books Neta!