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Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis-real or imagined-you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives. Over 100,000 copies of Miller’s debut novel, Kicking Eternity, have been downloaded from online retailers.
on April 28, 2015 :
Author Ann Miller has created a story that could be happening to you and your friends. Avra has a very close walk with God. This doesn’t mean she isn’t vulnerable. It means she has to rely on her to keep her on the right path. She especially needs his help when she finds herself attracted to Cisco. Cisco has some major issues. He is attracted to Avra. He wants what she has, yet like so many it is easier to live the life he has. Those quick fixes like drugs and sex make it easy to make excuses. Then we meet Jessie and Kallie. Kallie doesn’t trust men because her father ran out one them. If she can take control of the situation then she won’t get hurt. That’s what she tells herself. Jessie is a preacher’s kid. He is in a band and loves the attention he gets from all of the girls. I could relate to so many of these characters. I was raised in a very strict Christian home. When the doors of the church were open we were there. When I rebelled I made sure my mom knew what I was doing. I wanted to show her I could be bad, yet God constantly pulled me back to him.
I believe anyone and everyone who reads this book will see themselves in one of the characters. That is hard to admit because it means we look back at a part of our past that we may not be proud of. At the same time it means we look back at the way God directed our past.
Like Avra, we want our faith to lead our friends to, or closer to a walk with God. This is one of the best books I have read this year and I am glad to recommend it to others.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
on July 12, 2014 :
*I was offered a free copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.*
Even though she's a junior in college, Avra has never had a boyfriend, so when handsome, popular Cisco is interested in her--and even embraces her Christian faith--Avra is happier than she has ever been. However, although Cisco has good intentions, he is frustrated by the need for purity in their relationship and misses the sex life he had before Avra.
Meanwhile, Avra's new friend Kallie is struggling with her father's abandonment and with the attraction she feels for Jesse, Cisco's best friend. Jesse writes songs that allow Kallie a glimpse of his soul, but he doesn't seem willing to give Kallie everything she needs, even though they connected from the first time they met. While Kallie is looking for God to help her, Jesse is hoping He'll stay out of his life. Avra is certain that God has the answers to all of their struggles--but will they let Him provide them?
This is the first New Adult romance I've read--and I love the fact that it's a Christian story so that there aren't any sex scenes. I think Avra, Cisco, Kallie, and Jesse are all likeable characters and the reasons for their behavior are believable. However, they aren't quite as fully developed as I personally like--but that's likely due to the fact that the book is divided up into all 4 of their perspectives, thus limiting the amount of "page time" each character gets.
Going along with that, I didn't always like the pacing of the book; we'd go from one character's point of view to the next very quickly, which didn't allow time to delve into some of the issues as much as I would have liked. For instance, there's a paragraph where Jesse is surrounded by girls, making Kallie jealous after she blew him off when he tried to kiss her (which we see from his perspective); immediately after that paragraph, he's giving her a CD with a song he wrote for her (which we see from her perspective). So, he's trying to fix things, but we don't see his thoughts at all beyond trying to make her jealous--and then he's suddenly trying to be nice and fix stuff. That makes things just seem a little abrupt and made the mood swings a little dizzying and the pacing was somewhat off in places. Additionally, the fact that Cisco kisses two girls, Jesse kisses three (and is kissed by a fourth), and Kallie dates someone besides Jesse in the middle of all of this, means there's a lot going on in this book, and the pacing isn't always the smoothest.
There were times when the writing irritated me a little; it just seemed overwritten (for example, "her thick, dark hair arcing behind her to brush the bare skin between her jeans and her blouse"--seems like an overly complicated phrase).
Overall, though, I liked the book and read it in one day because I wanted to see what was going to happen. I liked seeing the developing faith in and relationships with God as well as the romance.
(reviewed 5 months after purchase)
on May 14, 2014 :
What a rollercoaster of emotion! Reading this "New Adult" book reminds me of one of those e-cards that I think is hilarious and oh-so-true: "I'm 30 but I still fell like I'm 20... until I hang out with 20 year olds... then I'm like, nope never mind, I'm 30." The author skillfully portrayed all the drama, emotion, indecision, change, and maturing that happens during the college years. The characters are vibrant- I felt like I really got to know each of them- their strengths, hopes, vulnerabilities, and fears. The story is told from four perspectives- the two girls, and the two guys who break their hearts. I appreciated having the insights into what the guys were thinking, although that didn't prevent me from still having a hard time understanding the male psyche. (Maybe it's because I grew up with all sisters). I kept thinking, if they would only just sit down and talk about what they are really feeling! But that's not usually reality- and the conflicts these young adults struggled with and the way they handled them sure felt real. The spiritual journey and growth of each character also felt realistic- it was a progression towards connecting with God, learning how to be comforted and guided by him, seeking forgiveness and the grace to forgive.
(a copy of the book was provided by the author for unbiased review)
(reviewed 78 days after purchase)
on June 05, 2013 :
Ann Lee Miller has done it again!
I finished this book in about a day and I loved it so much!
While reading this, I found it was really cool because I found myself relating to Avra so many times. Her story seems so much like my own, but mine didn't end with the guy following God.
I absolutely loved how I got to meet Kallie in this book and get a glimpse of the way her life was before Kicking Eternity.
I seriously can't wait to read more or Mrs. Miller's books! She is such an amazing author!
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on March 03, 2013 :
Avra's God was my first read by author Ann Lee Miller! Her ability to bring the characters to life, with all of their strengths, flaws and insecurities exposed while keeping the story going shows her true gift as an author!
Four college age students face life head on, but only Avra's faith in God kept her on HER correct path, no matter how hard it was. She is smitten over Cisco, the proverbial bad boy who is lost in his own personal torments. Meanwhile their friends, Jesse and Kallie dance around their feelings, hiding behind the barriers they have built. Can they all find happiness while living as they feel God wants them to?
Avra's feelings for Cisco almost made her fall away from her beliefs because Cisco doesn't believe in God. Her strength and convictions for one so young under the pressures of today proved how strong she was and makes her an ideal role model for girls, in particular.
Cisco is bitter with the life his family has led since his father left them. He longs for the structure and support of a family like Avra's. To him, she is a lifeline to grab onto, but, he struggles to follow the path she has, after all, its easier to just give in to temptation and live in the moment. On his path to self-destruction, he tends to give in too easily.
Jessie is a disillusioned son of a strict minister and is rebelling against the roll he is expected to play in life. He cares for Kallie, even looks for ways to be near her, but knows he isn't ready to commit to an exclusive relationship with her when he can't even find himself.
Kallie, thanks to her father's rejection, is insecure and although she wants Jesse with all of her heart, what she wants is total control, that way, she can't be 'left behind' again. She has hardened her heart against his attempts to tell her how he feels through his songs.
All four of these characters are facing real life challenges, some know where God fits in and use that strength in their day to day lives, even when they might falter. This is a beautifully colored story, well-written and a wonderful read! Ann Miller has blended faith and contemporary issues well!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Feb. 19, 2013 :
Title: Avra’s God
Author: Ann Lee Miller
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Christian Inspirational
Sub Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Flawed People Press
Published: 13 Nov 2012
In the tradition of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, four friends navigate college and the drama churned up by their Florida beach band to cement friendship and more.
Avra wants love, but drummer Cisco—self-medicating from his parents’ divorce with sex and intoxicants—is a poor choice. Cisco hungers for fresh-baked cookies and the scent of family he finds at Avra’s.
Kallie shares her classically trained singing voice only with lead vocalist Jesse and fights to keep her heart safe. Jesse feeds on fame and hides more than insecurity beneath his guitar.
The friends surf ego, betrayal, and ambition and head for wipe-out. But somehow, when they’re not looking, Avra’s God changes them all.
Avra’s God by Ann Lee Miller, is an inspirational coming of age tale of four young adults Avra, Kallie, Jesse and Cisco. I know some would classify this as Christian literature, but just because it mentions a divine power, doesn’t mean only a certain class of reader will enjoy it. Author Miller writes a compelling story about life changes and the rocky path all of us have to adulthood. Please don’t shy away from this book because it may not be your regular genre. It isn’t my normal genre either; but I utterly enjoyed it.
The first young adult the reader meets is Avra, the oldest child in a house built by Norman Rockwell. She is invisible to the opposite sex or so she thinks. Too tall, too athletic – too everything the male population doesn’t like. Avra believes in God; a God of forgiveness, brightness and hope. No, she is not a follow me because I preach it character. She is a follow me because I live it character. Avra is far from perfect; but she is the person we should all strive to be in life, flaws and all.
The second young adult is Kallie, described as a beauty with long white blond hair. She has looks and is admired by the male student body of State of Daytona. What possible problems could she have? Avra ponders a similar questions about Kallie. Well, I first met Kallie in Miller’s book The Art of My Life, she was the older sister to the main female character Aly. In that book Kallie is a young married mother. Here Kallie is a twenty year old college junior with daddy issues. Those issues being her father is a horrible man, who abandoned his first family when he started a new one. The impact his actions have on Kallie and her inability to trust in love has damaged this wonderful girl. How will Kallie as damaged as she is grow into a well rounded adult?
Third you have Cisco, handsome, charming and a player. He comes from a recent broken home, and has a deep need for normalcy in his life. His home life is depicted in the book is hectic and scattered. That normalcy that he craves, steps in front of him in the guise of Avra and her family. Being a player and him being attracted to Avra with her moral convictions, makes for an interesting relationship. These two characters come from totally different worlds, both socially and morally. Can two people from totally different worlds survive in a relationship?
Lastly, Jesse, the preacher’s son, who would rather have God and his father ignore him; as he has had a falling out with both his earthly and heavenly fathers. Jesse doesn’t want to be tied down. He wants a big life. A rock star life with all the trappings. He loves the adoration of the crowd and the love he feels from the many girls who flock to him. His major problem is that despite him not wanting to settle down, he has met his soul mate in Kallie. How far can a young man run from his destiny? Only he know?
All of Miller’s characters are flawed, real, and engaging. This is not a fairy tale where the knight is there to slay the dragon and rescue the princess. A higher power is needed to see these friends into an adulthood as they deal with their demons. Their path to adulthood isn’t what they thought it might be, as the road to adulthood is never easy. I remember being young and trying to find my own way, it’s that time when some lives balance on the a knife edge, one wrong move can change a life forever. For these four young friends they will be tested and what choices they make for ill or good will strengthen their mettle. Ann Lee Millers book was a very enjoyable read.
(reviewed 82 days after purchase)
on Feb. 14, 2013 :
Avra’s God was amazing. I loved the characters – they were real, understandable, and likeable. The journey by which Cisco, Jesse, and Kallie all came to God touched me and serves as an inspiration for my charaters in my own books, and Avra’s walk with God is a truly moving story. Even though she loves Cisco, she forces herself to obey God and stay away from him because he doesn’t know God.
I really loved Avra, being able to identify with her more than the other three since I am a strong Christian. But Cisco was the classic hot funny guy who all we Christian girls want to reform, and I spent the book wishing that Jesse and Kallie would finally get together. A beautiful closure and a great look at some of the characters that would be in my favorite book by Ann Lee Miller, Kicking Eternity.
Ann Lee Miller truly has outdone herself. Beautiful story, beautiful God.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
on Feb. 13, 2013 :
Ann Lee Miller does it again!!! 5 stars for Avra's God!! Avra's God is such an uplifting, inspiring story about college aged students who love and serve God. I love everything about this book! It has devotion, romance, turmoil, skepticism, and happy endings! I love how descriptive Ann Lee Miller is with her writing when describing scenes. I feel like I am right there with the characters sucked into their world and emotions. I fell into every emotional scene in this book because of descriptions like this one...
"Kallie tilted her head toward him, looking at him for the first time since the song ended. He took a deep breath and leaned toward her. Kallie’s eyes widened. His fingers tightened on hers. Her lips were soft, motionless under his. He pulled away and grinned, tasting triumph and strawberry. Behind her the ducks splashed through a clumsy takeoff"
Avra is the constant, the rock, the level headed in her group of friends. At least that is how they see her. In reality Avra second guesses every decision she makes and is constantly seeking reassurance from God. I love how strong Avra is even when she wants to so badly fall prey to life's curve balls that are thrown her way. Then there is Cisco... Oh Cisco... Heads turn everywhere he goes. He is charismatic, funny, good looking, athletic.. And did I mention he is in a band. A drummer at that!! That is another thing I love about this story. It has a rock band with "good boys." Of course the good boys aren't always good... They have their own demons they are working through. Cisco is no exception. He is the personification of life of the party. Outsiders see him as always playing around, laughing, and seems to excudes confidence... But inside he is a insecure boy who doesn't think he is good enough for anyone. All of these issues stem from his home life and his parents divorce.
"No, Avra was class—and she didn’t have a clue. What would it be like to kiss class like that? It had to be different from the girls he usually made out with. He wasn’t stupid. He went after those girls because they dished a whole lot more than kisses."
A love story about college kids and rock band mates wouldn't be the same without best friends. Lead singer and preacher's kid Jesse is the true skeptic if the group. He feels like he cannot enjoy his life, play rock and roll, and live the rock god lifestyle if God is in charge of his destiny. His dad has high hopes of him taking after his old man and leading the church one day. Jesse, however has different plans that take him down a different road than his dad planned. Then along comes Kallie. Kallie is every boys' dream but is cold as ice on the inside. So much so she is known as the ice queen and a song is written about her iciness. Behind every bitter female is a story, and Kallie has one of her own. Jesse and Kallie have a love/hate relationship for most part of the book. Will they end up as friends, enemies, or lovers??? That was the question I pondered majority of the story!
Life happens, twists and turns pull the young lovers apart and tough decisions must be made. Avra's God has it all!! The characters go from being devoted to each other regardless of what type of relationship they have, being devoted to God, questioning everything from each other to their faith, and a little in between! Readers will fall in love with these characters and will find themselves connecting to one or more of them from time to time in the book. Ann Lee Miller did a spectacular job of capturing that questioning nature that young adults have and touched right down to my heart!
“Like your God would care about someone like me. He’d whoop my tail like my old man did.”
I love how the author writes a book centered around faith without making it sound higher than thou or preachy. What a way to reach out to a large audience of believers and possibly non-believers! Great job Ann Lee Miller!! Keep these inspiring stories coming ... PLEASE!!!
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on Dec. 18, 2012 :
In her third novel (a prequel to the others), Miller portrays the impact the prayers and example of one person living in a sincere relationship with God can have, even in the midst of her own pain and struggles. A well-written, uplifting novel capturing the growth and soul-searching of the college years. As always, Miller does an excellent job developing her characters and the sense of inner tension that guides the story.
(reviewed 39 days after purchase)
on Dec. 13, 2012 :
RF's Review: Avra's God by Ann Lee Miller
I started this book without knowing anything about it. I was immediately drawn to Cisco's character. The strong, good looking party boy that every girl wants. There was just something sweet about him that you knew he really wasn't everything he was pretending to be on the outside. I also love his Spanish phrases, I think he should be Boyfriend Monday candidate! From the minute he sees Avra he knows there is something different about her and he wants her, but she is a good, Christian, church going girl. I love the way he weaves himself into her family by inviting himself over to bake cookies and by playing football with her brothers. I also think it is really sweet that he asks Avra's Dad if it is ok if he asks her out.
Avra is another great character in the book. She is a strong women who thinks with her head, not just her heart and she doesn't make rash decisions. She writes down her feelings and prays about things before making her choice. She lives her life in a way that makes the other characters, Cisco, Jesse, and Kallie, wonder what is different about her and why she can react so well to bad situations. By living her faith she inspires her friends to start coming to church and become Christians as well.
Jesse is not my favorite character. I got kind of annoyed about his indecisiveness and his refusal to see what was right infront of him. But I guess like most young men it takes them a while to figure things out! I do like the songs he writes though, it was cool how he gets all his emotions out in a song. Kallie says she won't be the girl that waits around for Jesse, she really does try to move on but her heart really is stuck on him.
This was a good read, you got to know the character more in depth then in most teen romance books. I enjoyed the character development and that is was a unique story and not predictable
I am so glad that we get to see Cisco and Avra's relationship come full circle, Jesse and Kallie's too I guess!
4 out of 5 stars
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
on Dec. 13, 2012 :
This is my favorite Ann Lee Miller book so far. I was drawn into the character's lives right from the start.
Even though I knew, from previous books, what happens with some of the characters, I had a hard time putting the book down because I wanted to see how it ends. This is a story of finding yourself and sticking to your convictions even when it's most difficult.
(reviewed 36 days after purchase)
on Dec. 03, 2012 :
I've reviewed all of Ann's books and each one amazes me. She isn't afraid to tackle tough subjects, and she does it with such grace.
Avra's God is about one college girl living her life for Jesus with an unashamed devotion to His will for her life. It is about the change ONE person can make in those around them if they live a life choosing to please the ONE who gave life. Her friends make some unfortunate choices, but she remains steadfast despite her own self-doubt.
I highly recommend you read Avra's God. It would be a wonderful gift for a college student near you who is struggling with peer pressure or making their way in the world.
Warning: There are a few curse words (less than five) in this book. While I don't care for their use in Christian fiction, it was easy enough to skip over them and continue with the story.
***I received this book free for the purpose of review.***
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)
on Dec. 02, 2012 :
"It was just wrong to talk about God while you were looking at a girls legs."
This line pretty much sums up Ann Miller's novels, and this one in particular. Neither sexual attraction nor God is off limits in her books.
Avra's God is laced with both, giving heady results. Jesse and Cisco have been friends since they were toddlers, Avra and Kallie become friends as college study buddies. Their relationships become intertwined and deep, exploring love, fear and rejection - of one another, of their fathers.
Grounded in an understanding of God from the book of Isaiah, this story is set apart from other `boy meets girl' tales.
The Art of My Life gave us the rest of the story of Kicking Eternity. Avra's God is the prequel, shedding light on Aly's big sister, Kallie, and Cal's big bro, Jesse. Take my advice - read them all!
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)
Anne Baxter Campbell
on Nov. 29, 2012 :
Ann Lee Miller has an amazing talent for putting words together to keep a person on the edge of their seats and holding their breath, and Avra's God is no exception. She can put you right into the scenes and characters without any trouble at all.
Avra is a college student with two rowdy younger brothers. She also has a crush on this dreamy guy, Cisco. She has always felt a little gawky--tall and athletic, but definitely non-gorgeous. That's why she's amazed when Cisco flirts with her and practically invites himself to her house for home-baked cookies.
Cisco recognizes that Avra is one high-class young woman, not his typical easy conquests. He treats her with respect. For eight months, and then he wants more than either of them are comfortable with. Abstinence wears thin, and he goes off the edge with another girl. How can Avra forgive that, let alone ever trust him again?
And then there's Kallie, whose father deserted her and her little sister Aly a few years before, leaving her mother for a younger woman. How can she trust her heart to Jesse, a young man who thrives on the adulation of a fan club of teen girls who swoon over his music?
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
on Nov. 13, 2012 :
Avra's God is another wonderful novel by Ann Lee Miller. Her stories are heartwarming to read. She takes a great stand on Christianity. Her characters are endearing and pull you into the story. Great job.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Nov. 11, 2012 :
Jesse Koomer was raised in the church, literally since his dad is a minister. Jesse is running from God these days though. Enjoying playing in a band and having all the girls around him. And yet he seems to be missing happiness.
Kallie Logan is so afraid of rejection that she don’t give life a chance to hurt her. Not like her dad did when he left their family. She has to guard her heart from Jesse because she is an all or nothing kind of girl and he’s definitely not ready for that.
Avra Martin knows she shouldn’t be dating a non-believer but when the best looking guy around asks her out, how can she say no? She finds out that God’s rules are there for a reason, to protect us.
Cisco Carter has been leaving a trail of self-destruction behind him ever since his dad left them. When he meets Avra it’s like a breath of fresh air. He loves her life. Her brothers and parents and homemade chocolate chip cookies. But he isn’t so keen on her morals after months of dating. Can he ever leave his old life behind?
Welcome back to New Smyrna Beach once again. This book takes the reader back in time, before Kicking Eternity (book 1) and The Art of My Life (book 2). Once again Ann writes a story that will pull the reader in and take them for an emotional ride. Her stories don’t pretty up life but instead paint a story that has truth in it. Life is hard. Even though some of the characters are Christians they still struggle with life’s temptations….just like in everyday life. All three of these books are worth the time to read.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)