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Local Author Soldier's On During Deployment

by Rebekah M. Sweet

     “Soldier On” is a fiction book by local author Vanessa Rasanen. The book tells the story of a soldier serving overseas and the relationship with his wife.

    In the beginning of the book, Rasanen uses a lot of vivid words. This makes me wonder whether this is her everyday talk or an author’s way of writing to grab the reader’s attention as they eventually dissipate.

    The overall content of the book was good. The profanity that was used throughout the book, however, was not appreciated. You can write in a way without using profanity and the book can be just as effective.

The characters do run to alcohol when they are depressed, which is not a very good testimony for the faith that is mentioned.

The first half of the book was sort of boring but builds in intensity as a tragedy strikes, making one of the main characters’ world fall apart.

Rasanen describes what a wife goes through in deployment very well. You cannot know what that is unless you yourself are military.

The author gives great examples how not trusting in others in time of need even when it seems scary or perhaps the fear of placing a burden on others can get so complicated in life. Doing so, can cause mistrust with the others or strain relationships. The effects of this can bring much stress and depression as is mentioned. Also, not relying on God to help you through the trial of life you are in can be a hindrance to your life spiritually.

Rasanen illustrates a tragedy so well in one area of the book that it makes the reader seem like they are a part of it, which is what one is supposed to do when writing. She shows the character’s emotions and what that character experiences after that tragedy. Which is what happens in the real world of military life but because you are not actually there literally, you can’t understand how it can totally change a person. What someone experiences in the light of war can only be understood through their eyes and mind. This can lead to a changed outlook on life.

    Charlie Winters is the soldier who is sent overseas to a different country. His wife, Meg, stays home but they both struggle with relationship issues. Meg struggles the most as she hides past secrets and is unsure of trusting her husband and her closest friend, Piper. Meg gets to the point where she becomes very insecure and runs from the help of her church family and friends. She is so focused on herself that she does not see the hurt she is causing others around her. Will their relationship become stronger or die?

    “Deployments had this power — over both soldier and spouse. The separation upped the sentimentality, pushing people to voice things that never quite fit into conversations back home.”

Rasanen wrote the book for several reasons. “Partly to give some glimpse into the life of a military couple, but more so to reach out to those who have, on some level, been hit by similar pangs of doubt or worry like Meg. I hoped to highlight how we serve one another in multiple roles, and even if we don’t know what to say, simply trying can do a lot.” She did an excellent job with this area and what some couples may struggle with being apart for so long.

    She started writing this book five years ago, “…at that time we knew a deployment could happen at any time. By the time I was finishing it up and set to publish, we knew he’d be leaving mere months after it launched.” Deployments in the military life are not easy. They are very challenging and hard on the families that must go through these. I know this from personal experience as my dad is retired and was sent overseas several times.

Some of the book was based on real-life experiences and others were the author’s own. Example, “The monkey on the motorcycle was from a picture my husband took on his last deployment.” These can be the best illustrations in writing.

    Some may wonder if the book was written in any way that the author herself can place her life like Meg’s character and if it has helped her in any way. “I think it’s helped me remember that God’s peace doesn’t always come in the way I demand, but in His timing. I’m quite different from Meg in that I’m more of an open book than she is, but her story is still a good reminder to me to trust those God has placed in my life.” Well said.

If you or someone you know is looking for a glimpse of what a military wife could experience, this is the book for you. I do not agree with everything that the author has written as was noted but in the end it was worth the time to read.

Read Article on LCCC Wingspan


Do not disincline a chance to sail on a new reading adventure

by Rebekah M. Sweet

“There were too many desperate women who married the first man who showed them any attention, thinking marriage could rescue them and perhaps finally give them a mite of stability and happiness.”

“A Reluctant Bride” is the first book to a new series by famous author, Jody Hedlund.

It tells the story of two people struggling to find their status in life. Hedlund has several great lessons that can be learned throughout the book. One of them is to be content where God has placed you in your walk of life. Another is to not judge your life by others whether that is socially, emotionally, outwardly, etc.

Hedlund is very descriptive but does so in a way that will not overwhelm the reader. She writes just enough to spark your interest. She is very detailed in the emotions of the characters that you as the reader can almost experience it.

Her characters are unique in every way. Example, Mercy is an orphan and from the lowest class of society that one could imagine. She is very insecure and shy. Her biggest struggle is to accept who she is in God’s sight. “…Mercy couldn’t run to Twiggy with her problems any more than she could run to God. Both had abandoned her long ago.”

Joseph is considered a coward because he is running away but refuses to admit it. He is also blind to that fact and fails to see why his relationship with God and people in general is in a state of uproar. Yet, he is a gentleman in every way and manner and is not easily frustrated unless it comes to unfairness.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Everything about the characters and plot is so realistic and true to what we personally struggle with in life. I did not quite care for some of the romantic scenes but Hedlund kept it very clean compared to some other authors I have read in the past concerning this matter. There were times that I could almost place myself in the same position as her characters. I learned a few lessons from what I struggle with now or have in the past. Hedlund had so many good quotes and challenges. “When God gives us someone or something, we must not spurn the gift, we must cherish it until our dying breath.” I am excited to see where this new series will lead to.

Click Here to find this book on Jody Hedlund's website.


A Kingdom.

Three Sisters.

A New Beginning.

“Sometimes, when we think we’ve come to a dead end, we’ve arrived instead at God’s stepping-stone on the way to bigger plans.”

-Jody Hedlund, "Always"

Jody Hedlund's New Series..."Always" Leaves You Captivated

A Kingdom.

Three Sisters.

A New Beginning.

“Sometimes, when we think we’ve come to a dead end, we’ve arrived instead at God’s stepping-stone on the way to bigger plans.”

Jody Hedlund’s newest novella, “Always” is the start of a new young adult series. It is captivating and enjoyable.

A lady of the court has made a promise. The king’s guardsman has also made a promise but each to the other of the royal members.

Both are in a race for their lives and struggle to keep emotions at bay and focus on their duties of protecting the princesses. But as time passes the relationship between the two grows through humility and diversities.

“Always” teaches the lesson of how circumstances in our lives bring us to humbleness.

Once again, Author Jody Hedlund has captivated me with her book.  The book was very enjoyable and I was always disappointed when my reading became interrupted.  Hedlund, keeps her books modest and sweet.  The book is perfect for any younger princesses in the home.  But it is written in a way where everyone can enjoy reading it.  Don't miss out on adding this new series to your book collection.

There are times when we need to hold out faith and hope even when the circumstances seem impossible.”

-Jody Hedlu​nd

A  Secret  That  Lasts "Evermore"

“There are times when we need to hold out faith and hope even when the circumstances seem impossible.”

“Evermore” is the second book to Jody Hedlund’s newest young adult fiction series. The book “Evermore” is just as exciting as the prequel.

One of the lost princesses has been handed the key that holds a secret and the realization that she is the next rightful queen of the land.

Adelaide struggles with the idea of being royalty but learns through her most trusted advisor, Christopher who is her “push” and guidance in her life. Not only did Adelaide grow up in protection of his family, but she shares a very close relationship with him. Adelaide struggles with her emotions and guarding her position as “queen” safe. Throughout the story she learns to forgive. Especially when she is wronged by someone very close to her with willful intentions.

Evermore teaches the greatest lesson accepting of where God has placed our lives with grace. We may not like it or it is unbelievable as if it were only a dream. We often think “why am I special?” What have I done to be placed in a position of great honor by God?

Love Jody Hedlund’s series and am very excited for the series to continue.

Click Here to find these books on Jody Hedlund's Website

Hedlund’s second book strikes in love…or does it?

“I will remind you of your praise next time you object to something I request of you.”

“Foremost” is the perfect title for author Jody Hedlund’s second book to her young adult series, which means, “most prominent in rank, importance, or position,” which is exactly who Lady Maribel is. Maribel has grown up most of her life with the nuns and is a bit skeptical when a former nun comes and reveals to her that she is a royal twin. What should Maribel do? “You are royalty and as such must resign yourself to a new life and the roles that come with being a princess” is the advice Edmund gives her.

After careful consideration, Maribel decides to take the journey, but gets distracted first by trying to find a hidden labyrinth. With her escort and best friend, Edmund who also happens to be a master at talking with the animals, together they search and end up in more trouble and wasted effort. Through this time, Edmund, finds that he is falling for the Princess and tries to guard his heart.

Maribel has studied everything she knows on how to be a lady physician, but will she be accepted by others and will she continue to use that ability, or will it be all in vain? Maribel is so blind at her own desires that she does not see how much she really loves Edmund. “Perhaps my love had always existed. Or perhaps it had been slowly growing. Whatever the case, I knew now that my selfishness had prevented me from acknowledging it.”

Hedlund’s book teaches a couple great lessons. One shows how ignorant we as human beings can get when we become so obsessed with our lives and what our goals are. Wanting revenge so much that we are deceived by how evil we become is the second. “I understand why you want to hurt him. But giving in to revenge will not release the bitterness. Revenge only feeds the hate until it grows like mold, turning your heart black.” Hedlund’s final book to the series will be released soon and I know it will be one that brings the series to a final close of grandeur and love.

"Foremost" the 2nd Book to the Series

Click here to find this book on Hedlund's website. 

"God gave you the healing gift, Maribel...When He gives you the opportunity to use it, you cannot say no to Him."

Love Conquers All

Jody Hedlund’s final book, "The Last Chance Cowboy, in her series, Colorado Cowboys is an exciting adventure and a beautiful way to end the series.

“You’re exactly who God intended you to be."

Catherine is determined to find the father of a baby she helped deliver. This was not her first decision though…she is faced with a predicament that will either catch up with her or disappear completely. Can she be accepted by others and accept who she is herself?

“We always have a choice-a choice to do what’s right in our own eyes, or what’s right in God’s.”

Dylan is the temporary sheriff of the town. He can keep his badge if he does right by the town, catches the “so-called” rustlers, and deals with his past mistakes by marrying the woman he had a child with and learn to be a father to his son. Or does he?

This book has a several lessons; to always be honest, remember that God still loves you no matter your past, and don’t compare your life to others.

"The Last Chance Cowboy,"

the last book to Jody Hedlund's "Colorado Cowboys"

Click here to find this book on Jody Hedlund's website.

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