My Thoughts

I have so many thoughts regarding this story, but one thing is for sure, I can see why this won a Christy Award in 2022.
The message is timely, the story is engaging, and the characters are beautifully crafted. It was almost as if I was reading more of a biography than a work of fiction, and maybe for some, this could have been more autobiographical.
I love that Val has physical challenges but she doesn’t let it stop her from living. Not saying she didn’t have doubts about her abilities but she just soldiered on in an effort to make a better life for herself and her son.
The tenderness Miles shows Val was a beautiful element. His inclusion of her son made him even more lovable. But I think it was humility and servitude that made him a “pastor”. We need more like this character.
Then, we have the running theme of Val’s project—Wow! “Our actions have a ripple effect on other lives.” The description of the video she creates reflects that quote wonderfully. If we are hiding from the ugliness of our lives, then God can’t use that to help others. Who better to help and encourage a young, unwed and alone mother than one who has been through it? Perfection!

About the Book

All That It Takes

Author: Nicole Deese

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Christian Romance/ Clean & Wholesome

Click here to purchase

When the ever-cautious Val Locklier moves cross-country with her son for a secure job, everything she’d planned unravels within the first week. After Val reluctantly agrees to rent an apartment from her best friend’s brother, an unexpected chance at an elite filmmakers’ mentorship ignites fresh hope for a dream career. But as Val’s community begins to expand, so do her insecurities, especially those heightened by her growing attraction to a certain friendly landlord. 

Pastor Miles McKenzie returns home from a short-term mission trip to discover that not only does he have an intriguing new tenant living upstairs, he’s also been reassigned to a local ministry on life support. Disillusioned and restless, he distracts himself by throwing his energy into a host of new projects–not the least of which is pursuing Val–without stopping to consider the future. 

As Val struggles to stop hiding behind the camera and Miles wrestles with shattered expectations, they’ll find that authentic love and sacrifice must go hand in hand.

About the Author

Nicole Deese is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and INSPY Award finalist. When she’s not working on her next contemporary Christian romance novel, 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 happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior. Find her online at