Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Couple of different books...

This weekend I felt like reading a book, so I actually read three.  The first was the one I liked the best of the three.

I feel bad admitting it though.  It was a cheesy, Christian romance book titled Married 'til Monday
by Denise Hunter.  The title (and the cover) makes me think of a Harlequin Romance, but for some reason I wanted to read it because of the story line.  It was good.  Surprisingly good.  The story is about a couple who broke up three years previously and now must pretend for a weekend that they are still married.  The story was a little slow at times, but I began asking God about part way through the book what He wanted me to reflect on.  And the lesson to me was this.  One's childhood baggage follows people into marriage and into their adult life.  It will come up when you don't expect it.  So, know your issues.  Know your achille's heal.  Know the wounds that God has healed and that He's working on.

It also makes me think a lot about how I'm raising my kids.  What will they think about their own childhoods when they grow up?  One thing that is always on my mind is preparing them for the future and helping them develop the ability to cope with life in healthy ways.  I want to teach them how to talk through conflicts and not run away from them.

So, I know all of that may sound strange to take from a fiction book, but when my mind starts processing, I always end up somewhere.

The second book was one that I didn't like as well.  It was titled Among the Fair Magnolias: Four Southern Love Stories.  I read this one because Elizabeth Musser wrote one of the short stories in
the book and she's become an author I really enjoy reading.  This book is four short stories set at different points during and after the Civil War.  The first drove me crazy, because it was about love and that it was all that matter.  It was so fluffy that it was hard for me to read.  The others were fine and easy to read.  I found that because they were novellas, they cut out a lot.  I enjoyed To Mend a Dream, but the shortness made it very unbelievable and I wanted more story.  I would have enjoyed that story as a full book.  Ms. Musser's story felt the same way.  Unlike many Christian love stories I've read, this collection didn't bring God into the picture a lot.  Rather, I would simply call this a more wholesome romance book, not necessarily Christian historical fiction.  

The third book I read was by Erin Healy.  It's coming out in September.  Hiding Places.  This is not a romance, but a realistic fiction book written by a Christian author.  There's a difference between
Christian fiction and a realistic fiction written by a Christian author.  This book falls into the latter category.  Sometimes those books and authors are good to find.  It's hard for me to find secular fiction that doesn't cross lines that I don't want to read about.  Erin Healy's a great writer.  She writes engaging stories that draw you in.  Her stories are suspenseful mysteries usually full of twists and turns.  This story is full of flawed, very human people.  It's messy and at times hard to read.  Sad to read.  But, it's one of those books like the first one of these three that falls into the category of being what Leland Ryken says books are.

I hearken back time and time again to what Ryken says in his book, Realms of Gold.  He says that we read books because they help us make sense of life.

The first book is a reminder of how when mistrust and issues are added into the mix how a marriage  can tear a itself apart.  I look around me at the world and I listen to the stories of friends and acquaintances and my compassion increases.  I am reminded of the importance of fighting for my marriage when my husband and I disagree at times (because we do just like every other married couple I know).  The third book reminded me of how messed up families can be, what gangs are like and how they think, how anger and bitterness can drive people, how hiding the truth of who you are harms other people, and how not confronting conflict doesn't make it go away.

All three of these books will be released before summer's end.  Hiding Places is coming out on September 8, 2015; Married 'Til Monday is being released next Tuesday on June 9, 2015; and Among the Fair Magnolias is being released on July 14, 2015.

Please note that I received complimentary e-copies of these books for review from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

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