Thursday, July 6, 2017

Squeezing in time to read

Whew, this may be the busiest summer we've ever had, and here we are supposed to be retired with no responsibilities.  We always take four of our grandchildren, two at a time, to our little cabin in the northwoods, and with the kids' schedule of Bible school, summer school, summer ball, church camp, family trips, band camp, football practice, etc, we have not found any suitable dates.  It would be terrible to give up those precious days with them, so I am still hoping we can manage some days in late August.

Over the next three weeks, Russ and I will take a short trip to our cabin by ourselves, mainly to retrieve stuff we need for our Canada trip later in July, then we head to my class reunion (a multi-day event).  Hope to see some relatives while we are back in my hometown for the reunion.  Then our daughter and her little girl will visit us; we plan to camp for two of those days.  Right after they leave, it will be time to clean and repack the camper for our trip to Canada with our oldest son's family.  In there, we need to keep the garden weeded, lawn mowed, meals cooked.  You all know the drill.  And I thought I would have time to quilt this summer -- funny!!  If it was not for sleepless nights, I am not sure I would get my reading done!!  Blogging long reviews just is not going to happen, unless it is an obligation to a blog tour.

That said, I am going to do a quick review of three books I recently read.  All of them are ones that either were e-book special sales or ones I saw recommended somewhere.  Before I buy, I always check the library system.  When none of these were owned by any libraries in my Winnefox Library System, I decided to check the Wisconsin State interlibrary loan system before I parted with my money.  I could get all three books -- libraries are so great.

I chose these three books because the subjects are so diverse and stand out from the typical Christian contemporary series.

Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy is a story of two families and the daughter/sister they share.  Lily, aka Joy, was adopted from a Chinese orphanage by a Texas couple when she was about 6.  Now ten years later, she feels like she does not belong anywhere and rebels against the god of her preacher father. With no one who looks like her at school, Joy feels friendless and useless.  Little does she know that she still has a Chinese family, and her older sister, now a doctor in Boston has spent years searching for her.  When the sister learns that Joy may suffer from a debilitating kidney disease, she ramps up her search and finally finds the teen.  Patti Lacy shares at the end of the book the research about Chinese adoption and also kidney disease she put into this book.  I enjoyed this story of mixed cultures, shared love, and a teen who finds a second chance.

As I have Loved You by Nikki Arana is an unusual love story.  Leigh, an overprotective single mother, of a college aged son, does not approve of his recent girl friend.  When he puts aside his pledge to wait until marriage and decides to move in with the girl friend, Leigh is heart broken.  Tensions build among the trio, and readers will likely agree that Jessica is bad news.  Bounced checks, late rent payments, Jessica's absences from work, failing grades -- Jeff tries to hide it all from his mother.  But he remains by Jessica's side because he sees that she needs a human example of Christ's never faltering love.  In Jessica, we can see the mess that abuse and failed foster care breed. While it is easy to turn away from those who seem to be failing at life, we can learn much from Jeff's attitude.

Of Stillness and Storm by Michelle Phoenix tackles a topic that I never thought would be book material, but I am so glad I read this book.  Sam and Lauren worked for ten years preparing for their mission to Nepal.  Only a young boy when the plan began to take shape, their son never wanted to travel away from his home.  Now a teenager, Ryan has not settled into their new life, except for the hours he plays soccer.  His father, who travels into the remote mountains for three weeks out of every month, is basically absent from his life.  When Sam is home, he cannot see what Lauren sees -- that Ryan is slipping away behind a facade of teen rebellion.  When an old friend connects when Lauren on social media and another friend offers the money for a sabbatical home, but Sam refuses; Lauren takes a painful look at her family and what they have become.  Michelle Phoenix, herself a child of missionaries, works with those children who are often caught between cultures and their parents' dreams.  This was an eye-opening book to read.  We would like to think that all missionaries are guided by God's hand, but clearly as Lauren discovers, one's version of God's plan can go awry.

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