Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: "Loving Grace" by April Smith

If you've been around Christian Chick's Thoughts very long, you know that I have some real love for Young Adult fiction. The problem is that much of what's out there is, frankly, inappropriate for adults, let alone teenagers, and it's hard to tell by reading a book's description whether it will be clean or not. So when I come across Christian YA, I'm always eager to give it a shot!

Grace Summer lands herself in a melon load of trouble when she becomes torn between the boy of her dreams and the boy almost next door. 

As the newly crowned Watermelon Queen, she is thrust into the spotlight, meets the dreamy Warren Hartley, and continues trying to get over an accident that rocked her world. Mix in working with Beau Baron who Grace happens to fight with just about as much as breathing and the metaphorical sparks fly. 

Like most things in life, Grace must learn to take the good with the bad. While the good is the handsome and fun Warren Hartley, the bad is Beau Baron—or at least being around his annoying and rude self way more than she would like. For Beau, Grace is nothing more than aggravating and an irritating reminder from the night of the accident. 

Tensions soar as Grace and Beau fight to love themselves and maybe, just maybe, each other.

Title: Loving Grace
Author: April Smith 
Publisher: Ambassador International 
Release Date: March 20, 2018 
Genre: Christian Fiction, Young Adult Romance

Loving Grace has left me with some seriously mixed feelings. I love that it's clean Christian YA romance, so it's safe for everyone to read and is a great alternative to much of the highly sexualized offerings in the YA genre. The setting—on a watermelon farm and the watermelon beauty queen circuit—is unique and fun, and I loved the interaction between Grace and the Baron family. Author April Smith obviously knew what she was talking about regarding watermelon queens, and that entire aspect of the plot had a ring of authenticity.

It's very common in YA novels for the main character's romantic relationships to be at the forefront of the plot, and this is true of Loving Grace. There are three boys in Grace's life who could be potential partners: Bennett Baron, the boy she's had a crush on forever; Warren Hartley, a boy she meets on the watermelon circuit; and Beau Baron, her late brother's best friend and her longtime nemesis. Unfortunately the romance aspect of this novel is what didn't quite work for me.

I get that teenage girls are sometimes oblivious to what's in front of them. I get that when a guy pays attention to you, you might be blind to his faults. But Grace's naivete when it came to Warren definitely pushed the bounds of credulity. Fairly late in the novel, she does begin connecting with Beau, and at that point, I started enjoying the romance aspect more. There are some really fun, cute scenes with Beau and Grace, and I would have liked the story more had the love triangle aspect not been so prominent.

I also noticed some continuity errors, and I think they are obvious enough that many readers would catch them, such as the site of an event switching from Atlanta to Orlando and one character seemingly vaporizing in the middle of a scene. I don't normally comment on things like this, but these instances were so glaring that they completely pulled me out of the story.

Overall, I did enjoy Loving Grace, and I think that it's a great alternative to much of what's out there. I also think that, as a teen girl, I wouldn't have been nearly as critical a reader. So I don't know that I'd recommend this to my girlfriends, but I do think it's a great book for teens. 3 stars.

Learn more or buy the book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | CBD


April Smith grew up spending summers working on her best friend’s family watermelon farm,  and she was one of those watermelon queens she writes about. She has her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching.  

CONNECT WITH APRIL: website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

loving  grace  blog  tour  giveaway


Ambassador International is giving away:

(1) JustRead Summer Fun Book Box, which features Loving Grace as well as at least 4 quality items which complement the story. Find out more here.

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight July 16, 2018 and last through 11:59pm July 23, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

tour  schedule

Check out the tour landing page at JustRead for the full schedule!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from JustRead Publicity Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. thanks for your honest review, Becky! :)

  2. Thanks for your review and I loved the fact that it's a christian book =)

  3. I appreciate the honest thoughts in your review!

    1. Thanks, Heidi! This kind of review is always difficult to write, as I'm sure you know!


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