Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She is a crazy grammar nazi who also proofreads novels! She's an auntie, a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.
Entertaining Angels: Entertaining Angels Book 1by Emerald Barnes
Along comes Zach, the new guy in high school. He's smoking hot and totally out of her league. She somehow catches his eye, and he makes her feel beautiful for once. But just as she gets
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Madison Andrews can't face her reflection in the mirror. All she sees is a big, fat nobody. Yet, deep inside she longs for something more, something that's not skin deep.
Along comes Zach, the new guy in high school. He's smoking hot and totally out of her league. She somehow catches his eye, and he makes her feel beautiful for once. But just as she gets close to Zach, her nerdy best friend, Chase, won't let Madison doubt her true beauty, no matter how many meals she skips.
Dark forces are at work, darker than the lies and mocking from her peers, stopping her from amounting to her full potential. With her newfound Christian faith, can Madison find true happiness in her own skin amidst the battle of angels and demons?
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- Emerald Barnes
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Entertaining Angels by Emerald Barnes is a tough book to categorize but I think calling it a spiritual-warfare-romance about covers it. I was expecting a clear-cut Christian YA romance so the spiritual-warfare aspect was an interesting surprise. My first thought after reading the above blurb was that Zach was playing some kind of mean trick on Madison. But once you start reading, it takes all of two seconds to combine the Entertaining Angels title with the fact that Zach runs around saying things like “your body is a temple of the Lord’s” and I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say Chase’s concerns regarding Zach are unfounded. Despite being nearly 20 years older than Madison, I didn’t have much trouble identifying with her. Body-image is an insidious battle and something many girls struggle with off and on. I’ve never connected body-image with spiritual warfare before but it makes perfect sense and I appreciated the concept. Satan will latch on to anything to undermine or prevent our walk with Christ; weight can definitely be one of them. But regarding the rest of the spiritual warfare in the book I have mixed feelings. I was raised Southern Baptist and while I know speaking in tongues is biblical, I am seriously skeptical about tongues being used without an interpreter; not to mention other, more pentacostal practices like being “slain in the spirit”. So when the book took a sharp veer into that territory I was caught off guard. That being said, I think the subject was handled fairly vaguely – mentioned in passing and then not really discussed again. Frankly, so was Madison’s salvation – rather than being preached at the reader, it’s glossed into a hazy experience and never defined as such. It’s easy to overlook or debate theological differences in secular fantasy but I find myself more critical of books that are out-and-out Christian. The romance was sweet and one of those “everyone knows what’s going on except the two involved” situations. But while clean, I don’t think they had the best habits regarding avoiding temptations. There’s a lot of hanging out alone in each other’s rooms, etc. Zach points this out once but it was never really followed up on. (Though my lasting thought after finishing the book is they were probably never tempted to go to far when they knew there was an invisible angelic presence always hanging around that just might pop out and say hi! lol) Lastly, while a nice story, I never really bought the reasoning behind Zach appearing in the first place. Had he not come along, would things really have gone differently? Not to mention I don’t agree with the belief of personal guardian angels. And his actions toward her when she though he was a normal boy who might like her were awfully familiar and misleading – a lot of hugging, hand-holding, forehead kisses – which I felt were rather inappropriate when they were not in a relationship and very misleading when he had no intention to be. Not to mention Madison’s fixation with desiring to kiss him for the first half of the book… So, overall, this was a simple spiritial-warfare/body-image story with cute romance aspects. I think it’s a good read for showing the spiritual side of the struggle and something most girls can relate to, but only if one is comfortable with more pentacostal Christianity. (And I’ve already got a close friend clamoring to read it after previewing this review. ;) Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. 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.
Entertaining Angels, by Emerald Barnes, is the inspiring story of a young woman who overcomes her insecurity. Madison begins the story as an overweight, depressed teenager, but her best friend Chase and the hot new boy at school, Zack, help her fight her insecurity with encouraging words and prayers. Ultimately, God’s truth about His creations’ beauty wins. Yet, the story twists and turns—which boy will she choose, what will the horrible Ashley do next, and what does the title have to do with the story? I loved the story. It was sweet, a little predictable, but I have read few books that were not predictable in some way. The story was more made to encourage the readers than to be original. I was glad that Jesus Christ was the one who gave Madison self-worth, not herself, her friends, or her popularity (or rather, lack of popularity). One thing I would comment on is that Christianity does not appear to be clearly defined in this book. From the experience Madison had in the church, one might assume that having a special feeling and hearing encouraging words in your head during the worship service automatically makes you a Christian. That is not in the Bible I have read and memorized. It says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31)”… “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1Cor 15:3-4).” I just thought I should comment on that. I hope no one is offended. Aside from that, I think it is a lovely book and I hope some young women out there will be encouraged by it.
I absolutely love feel-good stories, and Emerald Barnes has created a real winner. The heroine of the story, lovely sixteen-year-old Madison, is so relatable I feel as though I know her. Well, I am her. We all are. We’ve all faced those tormented moments of self-doubt and self-loathing that do nothing but drag down our spirits, and so relating to Madison’s struggles is impossible not to do. The ridicule she faces pales in comparison to the disdain with which she looks at herself, and so witnessing her transformation from beginning to end was beautiful and inspiring. With the help of her adorably nerdy best friend Chase and a very special person on a mission to help her, Madison blossoms and grows in both herself and in her faith. This story is a fabulous and greatly needed addition to the YA genre, with the benefit of having a Christian message that will warm your heart. I found myself laughing along with Madison’s witty commentary and tearing up during her intense moments of self-discovery. I couldn’t wait to get to the end and see if she got her happy ending. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that I left this book feeling better than before I picked it up. It charmed me in every way imaginable. I can’t wait to see what beautiful stories of faith Ms. Barnes writes next!
Oh my goodness I loved this book by Author Emerald Barnes. This story and the characters in the story took me as a reader on a journey of what it is to endure faith when everything seems to be stacked against you. Madison's journey and path is something I could totally relate to as I was growing up and her problems were also my own. I loved this story and I connected to her and the people around her. I loved it and this was one amazing book!