Monday, March 29, 2021

Still With Us by Regina Walker

Still With Us
by Regina Walker
Publisher: Independent
Series: Then Comes Hope Collection
ISBN: 979-8595405010

Last year I was introduced to Regina Walker. In June I read book one in her series, We Go On. Not an easy book as it dealt with suicide and how a family survives and goes on in the aftermath. Well, she reached out to me and asked me to review Still With Us. What a powerful story!

Summary:

Worthless. That’s how Ella feels every time she wakes up. But when meth jolts through her veins, the ugly voice that tells her she isn’t enough goes quiet. She thinks she has the energy she wants and she struggles to break free from the draw the drugs have on her.

Torn between blaming herself and her ex-husband, Tammy desperately wants to find a way to get her daughter away from drugs and the abusive men preying on her. But nothing Tammy says seems to make a difference with Ella. Will she be able to reach her daughter before it’s too late?

My Review:

Ok friends, I'm not going to beat around the bush with this review. While this is a powerful read, it's also extremely edgy for Christian Fiction. We Christians tend to like the fluff of our genre's selections. Still With Us doesn't have fluff.

I will warn you, there's one chapter that will make you uncomfortable if you're not used to the rawness of the world and in your reading. What I appreciate about Regina's writing is that she's blunt and honestly writes like she has experience with the content. I was able to tell my husband that from my past experience she either has dealt with this in the past or has close people in her life who have. That, of course, makes this story even stronger. I could be way off base and she's just read book, too. hahahaha

Anyhow, Ella. The central character of this story is dealing with a LOT! We meet her as she's coming out of the hospital from being on a suicide watch after taking too much drugs. This 16 year old girl is a hot mess. It was SO difficult to read her story because I know it's just all too common. Her anger, her lack of self worth, her world is so off kilter that the drugs she's been taking numb it all.

All too often drugs come with a high price that most people wouldn't normally be willing to pay, but an addict does what they "need" to do for that next high. Unfortunately, it's to her detriment. The abuse she suffers, in more ways than one, crushed my heart. As a reader, you will want to skip those pages because it's so painful to read for many reasons, but please don't. There are too many of us who live in houses with white picket fences and stick our heads in the ground so we can avoid the reality of world around us.

My two cents is this. If you have never been personally affected by someone addicted to drugs or know much about what people go through when loving someone who is addicted, this book is just what you need. It's raw. It's base, but it's SO necessary because in our Christian world, we need to know what's going on. How those who don't know Jesus and are suffering need us to be compassionate and loving, especially when we don't understand what they're going through.

And yes, the Lord is a huge part of this story. Liz from We Go On, her husband, and son play an integral part of Tammy and Ella's lives. Tammy's ex and his wife make me want to go on a tirade. They're sorry excuses for humans in my estimation. Trust me, when you read this you're going to want to pop both of them in the mouth like I did. hahaha I was more like Liz's husband when it came to Tyler getting involved with Ella. I was very guarded to say the least. I mean, we have to remember, she's still 16 and an active addict.

I loved how once again the horses in the story play an integral part of all their lives. I know that during some of my darkest days my horse, Winston, was a comfort to me.

Now, there is one thing that did irk me about the story. There's one situation where honestly, Ella should've been tested for drugs and arrested. The fact that she only ever had close calls with police really bothered me, especially with the last incident. I think with everything that surrounded the incident, a drug test definitely would've been done and she'd have had a huge price to pay. As it was, there was no legal reckoning and I was disappointed in that.

Take a chance on this book. I believe that in the end you'll have a better understanding of addicts, especially young ones. Book three of this series will be coming out next month and it's going to be another tough topic. Going to have to hunker down to read that one, too. Oh, and by the way, I read Still With Us in about 4 hours. It sucked me in and wouldn't realize me until the last page.

About the Author:

Regina Walker was born in the beautiful state of Colorado. She moved to Oklahoma in her late teen years, where she has resided ever since. She likes to curl up on the couch and binge-watch crime shows with her hard-working husband. When she's not wrestling with a writing project, she can be found wrangling their children, riding their horses, or tending the garden. Along with finding horses on their small farm, chickens, dogs, and cats can be found at nearly every turn.

Regina crafts compelling characters facing some of life's hardest challenges. Her heart's desire is to always point toward Jesus through the way her characters face challenges, relationships, and adversity.

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