Friday, April 30, 2021

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese {Book Review}

 **I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Molly McKenzie's bright personality and on-trend fashion and beauty advice have earned her an impressive social media following, as well as a shiny monthly paycheck. When her manager-turned-boyfriend tells her of an upcoming audition to host a makeover show for America's underprivileged youth, all her dreams finally seem to be coming true. There's just one catch: she has little experience interacting with people in need.
To gain an edge on her competitors, she applies to volunteer at a transitional program for aged-out foster kids during summer, only the program's director, Silas Whittaker, doesn't find her as charming as her followers do. But since forfeiting a goal has never been her style, Molly's only option is to accept the terms Silas lays out and submit to his rules--even the most ridiculous ones pertaining to social media.  

Soon as the residents of the home become more than a means to pad her career resume, and Silas becomes more than an obstacle on her path to fame, her once-narrow focus expands to include the deep needs of those she's serving... and perhaps the ones she's neglected inside herself as well. It took years to build her platform, but only one summer to discover what really matters most.

Nicole Deese is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and INSPY Award finalist. When she's not working on her next contemporary romance, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her husband and three children. Find her online at

I'm not 100% sure what I was expecting from All That Really Matters, but I do know that what I got was much more than what I had imagined. The depth of the story took me by surprise... in the best possible way. 

When we first meet Molly, she's honestly not the most likeable character. As a beauty and fashion influencer, she seems to be only looking out for herself and her brand. Even when she seeks out a way to do good, it wasn't truly from the goodness of her heart. It was watching her transform throughout the story though that really made it the amazing book that it was. Little by little we see those pieces of perfectionism chipped away until we got to see the real Molly--- someone she'd even forgotten about. As someone who does earn an income via blogging and social media (though on a HUGELY smaller scale than seen in this book), I did find this part of the book rather intriguing... but whether we understand anything about that world at all, I feel like that desire to create the picture perfect image of ourselves can be an issue that we all struggle with, and perhaps can relate to Molly on some level on that. 

In addition to being a great story of growth and discovering the person God had made her to be, this was a fantastic romance as well. While Molly might have taken a moment to grow on me, Silas seemed the perfect romance novel hero right from the start. I enjoyed seeing his passion for these foster kids he sought to help... and the chemistry between him and Molly was absolutely fantastic. I couldn't get enough. There was also just a slight hint of romance between a few side characters towards the end, and I found myself hoping that perhaps we'll see them again in a future book! I would love to see that played out! 

Either way, this was a fantastic story and one that I would certainly recommend to anyone looking for a fantastic contemporary Christian romance. 


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