Avis Douglas and her husband, Peter, have dreamed of selling his software business to finance a two year mission effort in South Africa. But when the economy crashes, they're suddenly faced with the real possibility of bankruptcy. When one of the co-pastors of SouledOut Community Church passes away suddenly, Avis and Peter are asked to step in and assist with the leadership of the church in the interim. but that creates an all-black leadership, fanning some subtle racial issues in their multi-cultural church. As tensions mount, they wrestle with returning to a traditional church where things would be easier.Meanwhile, Kate Blanchard arrives in urban Chicago with three friends. Their vision of radically following Jesus--from dressing in second-hand clothes to trying to live green--only adds to the unrest at SouledOut Community Church. When Kate attaches herself to Avis as a mentor, Kate's good heart but lack of wisdom drives Avis nuts. Before long they realize that the body of Christ needs all parts--and Avis will see that she needs Kate's joy in following Jesus as much as Kate needs Avis' wisdom.
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Never met a Neta Jackson book I didn't like and this one is no exception. She has such a gift. Her characters are so believable and I have to admit that I am Jody Baxter in real life. I truly recommend that you start with the Yada Yada series and read them all. But be prepared! You will do nothing else but read once you start. You can't put them down. Then go to the House of Hope series. Which leads us to Stand by Me, the first in the Souled out Sisters series.
Avis Douglas, principal of an elementary school and leader of the Yada Yada prayer group is reaching a critical point in her life. Her and her husband Peter are at a crossroads and need to make critical decisions in their lives. But Avis daughter and grandson are missing and then through in the mix the group of college kids who move into their building for the summer.
It moves me because the character is a leader and well thought of person but makes mistakes and has doubts just like we do. God doesn't let her down though and sees her through. You will love this book.....five stars!
Although I have read some of Neta Jackson's children novels, this is the first of her 'adult' novels I have read. What an awesome novel, following Katheryn Davies (also know as Kat with a K) from the exhibition tent at the Midwest Music Festival in Central Illinois where she became a born-again Christian, to a few years later when she is in College living out her Christianity. By coming into her life just after her decision to follow Christ, and continuing, we have a good example of her growth in maturity, as well as those time she is too bold. Impetuous, and talkative, she has a tendency to irritate those older than her generation, especially some so 'together' as Avis Douglass appears to be. Neta delves directly into many issues – mother and daughter relationships, stepfathers, abusive father, peer relationships (both female and male), reconciliation as well as racism, in a realistic and mind-changing way. I enjoyed the young peoples' enthusiasm for reaching out to others to spread the gospel. Yet at no point did I feel the novel to be preachy, though church services were included. Strong characters, yet each vulnerable, teachable for the most part, make this a great novel to use as a study book, and there is a study guide included in the book. A super book I will pass on to my friends, and look for other SouledOut Sisters novels in the series.
I received this free ebook from ThomasNelson Publishers through their booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review, which I have done. A posititve review was not required. The opinions stated are my own.
Well, I may be the crazy one around here but I had never heard of Neta Jackson before I found her book Stand by Me on Booksneeze! I really enjoyed this book but it took me a few chapters to get into it. It starts with a college student at a music festival in the midwest where she finds Jesus! This makes her decide to change the course of her future, which her parents aren’t very happy about.
Kat, the college student, and some of her friends start attending Souledout Community Church. Avis, a middle aged praise and worship leader, who is an elementary principal, is one of the first people the group meets. Avis has things going on in her life that Kat is unaware of (mostly because Avis apears to have it all together during praise & worship time) and there are things in Kat’s life that Avis is not aware of. I found myself scolding Avis for her treatment of the young group. This made me take a good hard look at myself and what I think about other people. You know, judging…?
Neta had written the Yada-Yada Prayer group books! I DID NOT know that! They are on my Kindle! So I will be checking out more of her writings in the future.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Stand by Me by Neta Jackson is the first book in the SouledOut Sisters series, a spin-off from the Yada Yada Prayer Group series. Avis Douglass has long been the disciplinarian of Yada Yada, keeping her sisters in line like she does as the principal of a Chicago elementary school. But her life is taking some turns that leave her frustrated and distant from the Lord. When Kat Davies enters her life, Avis wants nothing to do with the do-good college student who has a whole lot of ideas about how others should live their lives that don't have much to do with reality. And Kat keeps popping up in Avis' life, attending her church at SouledOut, moving into her building, and the two women couldn't have less in common. I don't know why I keep doubting Neta Jackson. When it was announced that she was ending the Yada Yada Prayer Group series, I couldn't imagine any series being as compelling, until I met Gabby Fairbanks in the House of Hope series. When that series was ending, I was again disappointed and didn't think a series starring no-nonsense Avis would be as moving, but Jackson just keeps proving me wrong! She really throws Avis' world into confusion, allowing us to really see this strong woman of faith and see how she keeps her faith through the hard times. But Jackson keeps Avis' edge in the relationship with good-intentioned Kat. Kat is another character who at first seems unrelatable, but as I kept reading, I could see the heart of this beautiful young woman who wants to make a difference and has absolutely no idea where to begin. The relationship between these two women is thoroughly entertaining and poignant, especially when at the climax Jackson cuts through the noise and exposes the hole in Kat's heart in such a way that it opens Avis'. Jackson's writing is also a treat, and I don't know how I am going to get through the waiting until the next book is released!
We all know the Yada Yada Sisters right? Neva Jackson has now expanded on that series and has started the SouledOut Sister Series. This one is not as good as the Yada Yada (that's hard to beat) but it is better than her last series with Gabby Fairbanks. This series takes on Avis, the leader of the Yada Yada group. The reader now gets to know her as a person rather than as the "saint" that all the Yada Yadas veiw her as. Avis is not only mother-earthy and a powerful leader with an intimate relationship with God, but she also is a sucker when it comes to her daughter, a bit predjudice, and quiet frankly, a grouch. There, I said it, saint Avis is a crabby pants. Sharing the lead role in the SouledOut series is Kat. Kat is a graduate student who is getting a "urban experience", whatever that is, by living in Chicago and going to a multicultural church. She is Avis' new neighbor, the oil to her water. Kat has all the answers, just ask her, she'll tell you. Her favorite pastime is dumpster diving. No she isn't hungery, she just doesn't want to waste food. She's not eating it by the way, she's passing it out to all the people of color she sees. She is about as tactful as a bull in heat. Anyway, the two bash about Chicago, clashing and fixing each other's problems as they go. Stand By Me is not only about the mixing of races in society and its value, but mostly it's about the mixing of generations and how important it is to never lose touch with what you were and will be. This is an enjoyable book, a quick read, and wonderful fresh look at the Yada Yada books. I received "Stand By Me" by Neva Jackson for free from http://www.booksneeze.com/.
"Stand by Me" by Neta Jackson is the story of the idealism of youth meeting the experience of, ahem, maturity. It’s “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young” meeting “These older women must train the younger women.” The slow-growing relationship between Kat and Avis is beautiful, brilliant, and unique. I just loved doing my best to absorb all the wisdom contained in this story.
Fans of Neta Jackson’s "Yada Yada Prayer Group" series, which I have not yet read, will find that group in this story and, as I understand from the Reading Group Guide in "Stand by Me," a deeper look at Avis’s character. Though this is a new series, SouledOut Sisters, Yada Yada fans will want to continue what they started here. On the other hand, Jackson gives more than enough information to keep readers who are meeting these characters for the first time, like me, totally in the loop. I never felt lost, enjoyed the current story and characters, and look forward to someday reading the Yada Yada books.
Themes touched on in this story include: homelessness, domestic violence, church politics, racism, inner city ministries/social services, salvation, Christian growth, mentorship, economic issues, and more. The series is set in Chicago and revolves around members of the SouledOut Community Church.
I’m happy to recommend this book and thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for providing me with a complimentary eCopy for my honest review.
I have enjoyed all of the YaYa books and this one continues to keep the reader involved in their lives. I appreciate how the life lessons of this group are so real to what many of us women face each day. As they trust God in various situations, we see their relationships with Him and each other grow. Thanks to the author for sharing with the readers what God inspires her with to challenge us.
Kathryn (Kat) Davies comes from a prominent Phoenix family, whose father wants her to go to med school so she could practice with him. After attending a Christian music fest, Kat becomes a Christian and drops out of med school and goes into education, creating a deeper chasm within her family. Kat also starts attending SouledOut Community Church in Chicago, a mixed race community of believers.
Avis Douglass is the principal of one of Chicago’s best performing elementary schools, an over-the-hill newlywed–second time around for her, a founding member of SouledOut Community Church, and one of its main worship leaders. Her faith and relationship with the Lord is strong. However, her estrangement from her daughter haunts her every day, though she prays diligently for her.
Kat’s dramatic enthusiasm for living the “sold-out” Christian life clashes with Avis’ more stable, reserved faith. Therein develops the ‘grain of sand’ irritation in Avis’ shoe, so to speak. How can they develop a relationship when they are so different? Kat appears so care-free and Avis has an estranged daughter.
Neta draws out Kat’s outspoken mannerisms that wreak havoc in Avis’ spiritual walk, wondering how she can become so unglued when this young student speaks out so brashly. Though Kat seems mostly oblivious to Avis’ feelings, the tension is heightened when Kat and her friends rent the condo below the Douglass’s, one of whom is a guy. A secret known only to Kat, Brygitta and Rochelle turns into a conundrum for Kat. New in her faith, Kat wonders how God will bring it all to pass.
Faith, praise and prayer, especially through the Yada Yada prayer group, permeate the story line, but Neta keeps you intrigued as to how God will answer those prayers. His ways are higher than ours!
I found the interactions between the different races at the church to be honest and sincere, as well as the characters. Avis’ thought life becomes known to the reader, which adds depth to the story. Tensions do arise, particularly after Pastor Clark’s death. The possibility of dissension and racism rear their ugly heads. How will it all be worked out? Will the church survive? The author does a wonderful job of working through all the circumstances that touch not only Avis, but her daughter and Kat in a way that melts your heart. The touch of humor helps to level out the stress and tension.
God brings difficult people into our lives. It’s not to make our lives miserable, but to bring us to maturity. Stand by Me is a book that shows how God brings out that maturity, though we are sometimes kicking and screaming. The touch of humor levels out the stress and tension. I would summarize Stand by Me by this, “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17
Special thanks to Rick Roberson The B&B Media Group, for sending me a review copy.
Have you ever had that situation where you were reading a book and you find yourself just plain irked with the characters? I mean they were really getting under my skin, their choices, what they say, how they are treating the people in their lives, etc. As I started reading Stand by Me by Neta Jackson I gotta say, I was feeling a little irked.
If you have read any of the other novels by Neta Jackson , then you will see yourself once again returning to Chicago and once again you will see some of her Yaya Yada prayer group characters in this novel, mainly Avis Douglass and her husband Peter as the novel opens with them celebrating their 6th anniversary. Sadly Avis’ daughter Rochelle is in a tough spot as she tries to make things work in her life, a single mom, HIV positive, an abusive ex-husband, and now she has lost another job and shown up on her Mother and Step-Father’s doorstep once again. Peter takes a stand and recommends using tough love with Rochelle in not letting her stay with them indefinitely. But the rub is that Rochelle has Conny- Avis’ 6 year old Grandson in tow, so poor Avis is conflicted in what the right thing to do is. Rochelle leaves with Conny and no word and no contact.
Enter in Kat Davies, a college student who is new to the Souled Out Community church that Avis and Peter are long time members and leaders of as well. Kat saunters in one Sunday with many friends in tow and sort of plops herself among them rather like a bull in a china shop. She is so eager to make a difference in an Urban experience program that she sometimes fails to see the people and their real needs. One of her counselors at her college urged her to “talk less and listen more” which she got a little bit better at as the book went on, but it was a real struggle for her. She is a relatively new Christian with lots of zeal but little discernment.
Kat and friends end up renting an apartment below the Douglass’ and Kat proceeds to rub Avis the wrong way again and again. This is where the irksome moments come into play as I kept getting mad at these characters for how they were treating each other, Avis’ constant irritation with Kat, Kat’s impulsiveness and tendency to run off at the mouth, Avis’ daughter continually shying away from getting help, etc. But as the story played out, as the character’s were honest with each other, etc. I realized that all this frustration with these characters was a good thing as it revealed to me that these characters read as real people. They all had their own inward motivations as to why they responded as they did and Neta Jackson does a great job with this storyline in making you really connect and care about these characters. I was irked because I really wanted the best for them. You see people are rarely what we take them as at face value, in that there is usually a lot going on and if we take the time to stop, care, listen and truly find out what their needs are, then amazing relationships are formed and especially with those people that we maybe didn’t like at first.
Great read! 4 stars
A free copy of this book was provided for me through the Booksneeze program through Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
Have waited so long for the Yada Yada series to continue, and this was just as exciting with the same characters as well as new, it did NOT disappoint. Our Waterlilyz Prayer group passes them around, we can't get enough of the Yada Yada hope she continues to write for years to come.
Stand By Me is a Souled out sister’s book, which is a spin off of the Yada-Yada group books by the same author. You will meet some of the same characters in this book, but also new ones. If you have never read a Yada-Yada book, this one can easily be read as a stand alone.
Kat Davies is a med student when she makes a decision that will change her life. Christianity is new to her, but she leaps in with both feet to change her major and her college. Her family is not supportive of her decision and she faces a lot of struggles as new school, new friends and trying to figure out where she fits in with her determination to save the planet and educate people on nutrition.
Avis and Peter have not been married long, but their relationship has some strain when it comes to Avis’s daughter and grandson, whom seems to get herself in one scrape after another. When she vanishes from their lives, Avis tries to hide her worry, but instead finds it manifested in irritation with another young woman, her own daughter’s age.
I have enjoyed all the of the books in these series that Neta Jackson wrote. They are real, down to earth and full of real life struggles. I especially liked how she showed the struggles that Kat was having with all the changes she did all at once! Avis was hard for me to get…and I struggled with the lack of issue that other members of the church took with the racism in their midst. I also was disappointed that Avis and Peter never went to South Africa. I loved Kat’s dumpster diving…but would love to point out that most trimmings from produce is not moldy….most people would never know a lot of it came from a dumpster.
I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend if you did as well, to check out the other books by this author.
Neta Jackson is an author who excells at creating true-to-life characters with heart, ones who will touch you with their quirks, their messy faith, their dreams and desires.
Stand By Me is a fabulous book where readers are reunited with favourite characters from past series, particularly with Avis Douglass, while being introduced to new characters like Kathryn Davies. Old or new, I felt the characters were beautifully developed and were a pleasure to get acquainted with again or for the first time. Jackson has tackled some tough issues in this book, such as issues of racism, how to love those who annoy us, and fractured family relationships, and she has done so in a way that both entertains and inspires. As with her prior books, I leave this book challenged in my own faith, in allowing God's spirit to lead me in serving Him, to commit to prayer and living my life sold out for Jesus. I love how Jackson's characters are so utterly real and how their walk with God so truly reflects the struggles and joys so many of us experience in our own journies of faith.
I greatly enjoyed this absorbing read and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and B & B Media group for the purposes of this unbiased review.
Set in Chicago, a wonderfully multi-cultural city, Neta Jackson gifts us with a return of the Yada Yada sisters, bringing to life the reality of their stories, the diversity of their backgrounds, the richness of their faith and the connection they find in one another that brings them into a deeper relationship with God and a closer daily walk in Jesus’ footsteps.
At the center of Stand By Me is Avis Douglass, principal of an elementary school in one of Chicago’s more challenging neighborhoods. Her commitment to bring a high level of education to her students goes beyond the traditional school day as she strives to provide programming and a safe, productive place for children to be when school is not in session. Avis’s personal life is deeply touched by a daughter from whom she is estranged, a young grandson that she misses and worries about and a loving husband whose business is negatively affected by the current economic conditions. Now add Kat, a college student that enters Avis’ landscape when she visits SouledOut Church, bringing a few of her college counterparts with her. Kat, a new Christian, is full of vision and drive to make the world, at least the world that she can reach out and touch, a better place. Enthusiastic, impulsive Kat and faith-filled, intentional Avis meet on the common ground of SouledOut Community Church, and so begin a memorable and meaningful relationship. Through these two “couldn’t be more different” women, God moves and develops a relationship, witnessing to our need for one another, our unique and beautiful differences, and the wholeness only He can bring to lives that are hurting.
Thank you, Neta, for the beautiful reminder that prayer can (and does) bring us together. Through prayer we are encouraged and nurtured. Through our prayer partners, we are loved, celebrated, held accountable and given rest. At one point in the book, Avis reluctantly attended a Yada Yada prayer meeting feeling that she didn’t have the time or spiritual energy to share or participate. But as she walked into the room, surrounded by her Yada Yada sisters, she knew that she had “come home.” What a blessing to know that these relationships, blessed by God, always comfort, sustain, strengthen and give us peace!
Can’t wait for the next installment of this SouledOut Sisters series……
From the author of the YadaYada Prayer Group comes a new series SouledOut , I have to say personally I was a little disappointed in this book as I loved the YadaYada series and was looking forward to her new series. In Stand by Me , we meet two main women - On the left of the cover we have Avis and on the right we have Kat. The women are complete opposite , but it may just be that the statement of opposites attracting that will ring true in Stand By Me. Avis is celebrating her sixth wedding anniversary with her second husband Peter but things are not going to go to plan as her youngest daughter Rochelle turns up wanting Avis and Peter once again to bail her out. Peter has had enough of it and decides to put his foot down as he tells Avis that she can't keep bailing her daughter out . After this decision, it puts a huge strain on Avis's marriage and when the pair are offered to go to Hawaii for six months courtesy of her other daughter Nony and husband Mark. Will the pair take the trip and is this what they need to rekindle their marriage ? The second person is Kat , three years ago she said goodbye to her family as she chose God and her family not understanding turned their back on Kat . Three years later, Kat has a good group of friends and in Stand by Me has decided to start attending SouledOut Church where she meets Avis - the worship leader. Avis takes a quick dislike to Kat but Kat seems intrigued by Avis and soon a strange friendship between the pair starts to occur. Has God sent both women to each other to help them on their rocky roads ? Find out in Stand By Me by Neta Jackson.
I have a confession to make: I have never read any of the Yada Yada Prayer Group books. I say that because I am now dismayed that I haven’t! I generally read mysteries and thrillers or theology books, and so occasionally when I get a book like this one for review, I am a little hesitant to get into it, not sure if it will be able to get my attention, or keep my interest. Stand by Me is definitely a story that caught and kept my interest! I enjoyed it, and I’m guessing that I will have to figure out a way to get the Yada Yada Prayer Group books, because I’m not quite finished with the stories of the characters in Stand by Me. Hopefully, this is the first of several in the Souled Out series, too, because I imagine Neta Jackson’s books will be on my wish list for some time to come. This story is about the assumptions we can make about people who are different than us, and the ways in which those assumptions can hurt us. Avis Douglass is a strong woman, with an active faith, whose world is unexpectedly turned inside out by an invitation, a loss, and a new acquaintance. Kat is a college student, new to Christ, whose idealism and enthusiasm are matched only by her inexperience and youth. She wants to befriend Avis, and doesn’t understand why her overtures are not accepted. In the end the ways in which their lives unexpectedly intersect change both women’s perspectives on what both a relationship with Jesus and a relationship with believers means. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I cannot wait until I have an opportunity to read more by Neta Jackson. I anticipate fun and interesting stories of women of faith, who love their families, their church, and their God to the full. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. 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
He saga of the Yada Yada group continues. This story centers around Avis, an African-American principal of an elementary school in Chicago and her software entrepreneur (second) husband, Peter. Avis has been involved in the Yada Yada Prayer Group since its inception. She and her husband are active in a multi-ethnic church, Avis frequently leading worship. Avis is a pretty polished woman except lately she has been worrying about her estranged daughter, Rochelle, and grandson. Into the picture comes four white students from a nearby Christian college. The most gregarious is Kat (Kathryn), an ecologically conscious education student. She is the only Christian in her family, recently being saved at a Christian concert. The students begin attending Avis's church, clashing a bit with the differences in culture. When the students find summer residence in the same building in which Avis and Peter live, tensions increase. Kat meets Avis's estranged daughter while “dumpster diving.” Kat wants to set things right, not only in the world in general, but in Avis's family specifically.
This is not an action packed, fast paced novel. Instead, it covers the daily struggles Christians go through, finding their way in God's plan. Should Avis and Peter respond to the call to help missionary friends in Africa? Should they stay in Chicago and help out in their church when one of the pastors suddenly dies? How can Avis deal with the well-meaning but irritating Kat? And Kat, how does she deal with her parents who just don't understand her? How does she handle their lack of communication with her? Do they really love her?
This book is a pleasant read. I wouldn't consider it a page turner, but you will become attached to the characters as they make their way through life.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
This is the first book I have ever read by Neta Jackson and I have to say I loved it!
I thoroughly enjoyed her style of writing, her characters, the premise, the plot, the whole shebang. Stand by Me is a story that is full-bodied, full of life, and full of the wonders of how God would use others in difficult times to remind us of His ever-presence.
Kat is a gem God uses to help shake Avis's world. Kat is not just energetic, enthusiastic and believes in God, she also dumpster-dives and salvages food for those around her, including Avis.
Avis is the worship-leader with high standing in her church, SouledOut, but finds her personal life is full of bumps and obstacles with her daughter and husband.
Kat sees a strong, sold-out Christian in Avis and Avis sees an over-enthusiastic college girl disrupting her life. Kat sees a warm, mother-figure in Avis and Avis sees an annoying dumpster-diving girl.
I hope to see a sequel to this book.
Stand by Me is a story worth reading, laughing about, crying over and just allowing God to point out the similar things He is working out in our own lives. A church is filled with many personalities, gifts, strengths and problems, but in the end, God is the one who uses each person to sharpen the other, to strengthen one another, to pray with and share in His wondrous love.
I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is well worth it.
This book was provided freely for the purpose of review by the B & B Media Group, Inc and Thomas Nelson Publishing. I am under no obligation to provide a positive review.
This book is part of a series or can be a stand alone series. It is the 3rd portion of the Yada Yada Prayer Group Series, and the House of Hope series, this is the first one of the next series but they all tie together.
It is phenomenal. I have a passion for young people and when reading this I loved the ministry that Manna House was providing and then how young people were getting involved in Souled Out church.
I hope to eventually get the whole series. It is such a great book and a series I will go back to again and again. It is awesome to have the study questions in the back of the book to have your own book study or small group.
This book follows the same women from Yada Yada Prayer Group. This book takes you in depth with Avis, who was Jodie's principal in the Yada Yada series. Familiar names, familar places. What could be better. The whole Yada Yada series makes me feel like family.