I finished reading six books in the month of July: Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, plus five others. Read on for my impressions of each (listed in the order I finished them).
The 6 books I read in July
Beyond the Cradle by Anne Stanton
The first book I finished last month was one a reader sent me — her debut novel, a poignant coming-of-age story about faith, friendship, love, loss, and the powerful way the people we care about help to shape and shift our perspective.
Written in a style reminiscent of Ann Voskamp, Beyond the Cradle follows a young homeschooled girl named Robyn Thomas whose parents uproot her from a bustling life New York City to start all over in a small mountain community in rural West Virginia.
That part of the story resonated with me. Since I was facing such a move myself while reading Robyn’s account, it was easy for me to empathize with her sadness over the prospect of leaving a familiar home and dear friends behind to move to a strange place where she knew not a soul.
Yet I found hope and encouragement in the fact that almost as soon as Robyn arrived, she met a kindred spirit who soon had her feeling right at home in her new surroundings. If we could all have a friend as full of life and wonder and wisdom as Samantha Sticker — or better yet, if we could learn to be that kind of friend — the world would be a better place.
The Penderwicks at Point Moutte by Jeanne Birdsall
In the evenings last month, Doug read The Penderwicks at Point Mouette aloud to the family. We all enjoyed it very much, although his work schedule and my unpacking kept us too tired to make it through more than one chapter at a time.
The Penderwick family was split up for this installment: The parents were traveling. Three of the girls were staying with an aunt for two weeks. And the fourth sister was on a separate trip with a friend.
That all hits a little too close to home right now, as we’ve had to bid adieu to several kids as they head off in separate directions this summer.
But, thankfully, the book was full of pleasant surprises and had a happy ending with the entire family reunited, and I’m trusting the same can (eventually) be said of the Flanders clan, as well.
It’s Not Fair by Melanie Dale
It’s Not Fair delves into the author’s struggles with infertility, pre-eclampsia, high-risk pregnancy, foster care, and adoption. These are all things with which I have no personal experience, so I appreciated hearing her perspective on such matters, which she gladly shares with candor, wit, and clever illustrations.
She discusses many hard things others may be walking through, as well — terminal diagnoses, marital infidelity, financial ruin, rebellious children (more things I’m thankful never to have faced) — and offers strategies for surviving such potentially devastating hardships.
Some of the coping mechanisms she describes are methods I’ve used in dealing with my own trials. Others seem less helpful for the particular difficulties I’ve faced. I recommend an eat-the-meat-and-spit-out-the-bones approach for anyone reading this or any book, other than the Bible. And, speaking of the Bible, I would’ve liked for the author to sprinkle Scripture more liberally throughout the book. Instead, she gathers it all in a single chapter — a listing of helpful verses to read, based on how you are currently feeling.
Still, the book was worthwhile, and I’m glad I read it, as it obviously flows from the heart of an empathetic writer who is eager to help others navigate unfair circumstances and learn to love the life they didn’t choose.
The Third Target by Joel Rosenberg
After reading (and thoroughly enjoying) the second book in Joel Rosenburg’s series of political thrillers featuring a foreign news corespondent named J.B. Collins, I had to back up and read the first.
I finished the audio version of that one, entitled a href=”https://amzn.to/3OV63SQ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>The Third Target, while hanging pictures in our new house last week. The storyline was gripping, start to finish, and so realistic that I had to keep reminding myself I was listening to a novel and not a news report. I halfway expected to find details from the events described (peace talks in the middle east amid ISIS terror attacks) in the headlines of our local paper.
Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
My favorite read last month? Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. In fact, this is one of the most encouraging, inspiring, and personally convicting books I’ve read all year.
It has been on my “to read” list since it was first published, but I kept passing it over, mainly because the title didn’t do much to pique my interest. However, once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down.
The book is written for women, both young and old, and discusses what the Titus 2 mandate should look like as it’s played out in our lives.
As usual, Nancy delves deeply into scripture and pulls up nuggets of absolute gold. I would heartily recommend this book to any woman (of any age) who wants to live a life adorned by grace that points others to Jesus.
Bear Bottom by Stuart Gibbs
The latest installment in Stuart Gibbs’ Fun Jungle series finds Teddy Fitzroy and his family, along with several coworkers and their families, on a bison ranch in West Yellowstone. Bison have been disappearing, and Teddy gets the green light to investigate why. Then, when a pricey piece of jewelry belonging to his girlfriend’s mom also goes missing, Teddy finds himself searching for clues to solve both mysteries at once.
The book is filled with all the fun facts, interesting tidbits, and perplexing puzzles we’ve come to expect from Stuart Gibbs. The thing I wasn’t expecting was the confounding revelation — seven books in — that one the characters we’ve known since book one is, in fact, gay. But sure enough, he shows up in this story with a husband we’ve hitherto heard nothing about nor had so much as a hint even existed.
In no way is this new information central to the plot. Rather, it seems forced, as if the author were purposely pandering to the population pushing this agenda. If you are one who welcomes this change and applauds such diversity among fictional characters in children’s books, then by all means read this one. If, on the other hand, you’d prefer that the books your children read be untainted by the woke agenda, you’ll want to steer clear of this title altogether.
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