Review of Unbound by Grace
Secrets. We’ve all got them. Tori’s is that she’s a trust fund kid…but doesn’t want people to know because she’s been used in the past. Derek’s is that he’s got a record, and it isn’t pretty. Why do we keep secrets? Some are the good kind: surprise party? Sometimes we keep secrets to protect someone else, or to keep from causing division in the body of Christ. But a lot of times we keep secrets because of fear. Secrets are our way of holding onto mistakes that God has already forgiven. We get the conversation in our head of the person who won’t forgive those mistakes, and we get stuck. Will I lose my job if…? My friends won’t trust me anymore if…Will you still love me if you know the real me?
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I heard a speaker say once that sharing takes away the shame. But it’s such a hard thing to do, and until we do, we carry it around. Guilt, shame, walls that stand between us and our loved ones (if we let anyone get that close). You shouldn’t necessarily share everything with everyone, of course: there is wisdom, and you notice I’m not sharing my deepest darkest secrets here in internet land. But if I long to be known…I have to let someone know the real me.
One of my favorite things about Christian fiction is the way it gives us permission to wrestle through things. See, we know it’s okay to wrestle through things: in Scripture we see Jacob wrestling with God (physically!) and we see David pouring out his heart in the Psalms as he wrestles with life. But for the most part, we don’t get to see this part of people’s lives, the part where they struggle with identity, even with letting God completely heal them. That was one of my favorite parts of Unbound by Grace. Tori and Derek have to wrestle through forgiving themselves for past mistakes, and this is something I can really identify this.
I didn’t love Tori’s biting sarcasm so much. But this was probably because it was a little too close to home. Sarcasm has been my defense mechanism too, and Ms. Massaro lets us feel, with Derek, what happens when a joke goes too far.
There were a few places where the storytelling was a little too obvious, and I didn’t quite jump with the leap in Tori’s faith journey. But I really enjoyed this book. It’s more than that, though…as I was journaling my response to this book using my journal questions for fiction readers, God used this story to bring up some of my own challenges and questions and uncertainties. This is one of the reasons I love reading fiction. This story did it. I found myself re-thinking situations and imagining how I might do them differently the next time. I found myself having this conversation with God…right there in my journal (it happens), about some of the chains that have been holding me back.
(By the way, you can get those journal questions using the form below.)
So yes, I would definitely recommend this book! It was a fun, entertaining read, but it made me think, too. Those are the best kind.
Unbound By Grace is on Tour with Celebrate Lit!
About the book:
Book Title: Unbound by Grace
Author: Michelle Massaro
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
Release date: July 21, 2018
When the past holds the future captive, there is only ONE chain breaker…
Tori Bishop has carved out a safe circle of friends who know nothing of her privileged status. But when she’s roped into attending a glitzy fundraiser, she brings along strong and steadfast Derek for support. As long as her secret stays safe, she never has to question his motives.
Derek Miller wants his life to count for something, to make a difference—especially in the life of Tori Bishop, the spunky smart-mouth who loves razzing him. But if his prison record comes to light, she’s sure to take off running.
When Tori and Derek get involved in building a local women’s shelter, the extra time together stirs more than an ember of attraction. Haunted by the fear of exposure, each must wrestle with the chains of their pasts to experience freedom, love, and the full depths of God’s grace.
Click here to purchase your copy!
About the Author
MICHELLE MASSARO writes contemporary fiction soaked in grace. She makes her home in Southern California with her husband of over two decades and their four children. She’s dabbled in homeschooling, teaching Creation Science, and leading worship. When she isn’t tinkering with words, Michelle enjoys old Rogers and Hammerstein movies, making kefir, and Sudoku. A new lipstick and a good French roast always make her happy.
Guest Post from Michelle
When I sit down to write a new story, I tend to gravitate toward some pretty deep emotions. The raw kind we all have known at one point or another. It’s what connects us all as human beings, no matter how different we are on the outside. If we can learn to see ourselves in others I believe that’s where compassion is born, as well as some self-revelation. Like King David hearing the story of the rich man stealing the poor man’s lamb and realizing he was that man! [Joy’s interjection: this is totally how I felt reading this story!]
In Unbound by Grace, I was approaching the story of two super fun characters I had introduced in my first novel, Grace in the Flames. In that book, they were side characters. But I always adored writing their scenes. They were both so entertaining! And the chance to put these two together and give them their own book was just too delicious an idea to pass up.
I got to put them into some interesting surroundings (anyone been to watch a horse race lately?) and take them to some very exposed, vulnerable places as well. Through them I was challenged to get inside someone else’s skin, and understand. Plus, they kept me smiling as well! This story was a blast to write, and I hope you enjoy these fictional friends of mine as much as I do.
It’s such a pleasure to meet new readers. I hope to hear from you soon!
Real World Bible Study, September 20
Godly Book Reviews, September 20
Among the Reads, September 21
The Power of Words, September 21
Bibliophile Reviews, September 22
A Baker’s Perspective, September 23
Fiction Aficionado, September 24
Faithfully Bookish, September 25
Reading Is My SuperPower, September 26
Carpe Diem, September 27
Lis Loves Reading, September 28
proud to be an autism mom, September 28
Simple Harvest Reads, September 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Janices book reviews, September 30
The Mimosa Blossom, October 1
Books, Books, and More Books., October 1
Texas Book-aholic, October 2
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 3
Bigreadersite, October 3
To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize package that includes a notebook, a mug, a bookmark, a pen, a signed copy of Grace in the Flames, and an Amazon Gift Card ($40)!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d3a6/unbound-by-grace-celebration-tour-giveaway
Michelle Massaro says
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I LOVE your thoughtful review! It means so much to me to hear about what struck a chord as well as what didn’t. I am especially thrilled to hear that God used this story to work through some of your own personal chains. Thank you for sharing that. <3
Have a beautiful and blessed day!
Thank you, Michelle! Funny business: I work with someone who shares your last name, and as I was writing the review I kept typing her name instead of yours!
Michelle Massaro says
LOL, that’s funny! I meet very few Massaros outside of the family. Tell her I said hi!
This sounds good!
Michelle Massaro says
I hope you get a chance to enjoy it! 🙂
Maria Dalmau says
This sounds like a great read, planning on one clicking can’t wait to read it.
Awesome! Let me know what you think of it!
Kim BookJunkie says
Wow, this book sounds fantastic!!!!