To Know You

Julia Whittaker’s rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son.
Julia and Matt Whittaker’s son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds—and his liver—crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a “living liver” transplant, but the transplant list is long and Dillon’s time is short. His two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart to two different fathers, offer his only hope for survival.
But can Julia ask a young woman—someone she surrendered to strangers long ago and has never spoken with—to make such a sacrifice to save a brother she’s never known? Can she muster the courage to journey back into a shame-filled season of her life, face her choices and their consequences, and find any hope of healing?
And what if she discovers in her own daughters’ lives that a history of foolish choices threatens to repeat itself? Julia knows she’s probably embarking on a fool’s errand—searching for the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs something from them. But love compels Julia to take this journey. Can grace and forgiveness compel her daughters to join her?
In To Know You, Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel explore how the past creates the present . . . and how even the most shattered lives can be redeemed.

To Know You tackles some extremely difficult situations; adoption, finding your biological mother/daughter, dealing with a dying child, and asking others to donate organs for that child.  It weaves together the minor story lines with flashbacks and various points of view, allowing the reader to get to know each of the characters a little better.  The novel generates strong emotions and had me asking a lot of "what ifs."  Overall, this is a powerful novel.  I would recommend it.  
I did receive a free e-copy in exchange for my honest review.  


The Rent Collector

Years ago, I read a book that has stuck with me ever since.  I will always remember the power and emotion of that book.  It was Letters for Emily by Camron Wright.  Before I discuss his new book, I highly recommend reading this one!!  When I was given the opportunity to read and review Camron's new book, The Rent Collector, I was hopeful to experience some of that emotion again.  I was not disappointed.  This book is quite different from his other novel; however the thoughts, emotions, and images it provokes are equally powerful.

Sang Ly is a young mother who lives in a large dump in Cambodia with her husband and their one small child, Nisay.  Nisay is very sick, and Sang Ly wants to do everything she can to help him.  She discovers something about the rent collector of her neighborhood, and seeks help in an unexpected way.
This book is about the grittiness of life and relationships.  It stresses both hardships and unexpected blessings and delivers strong messages about hope and beauty.  I would definitely recommend it!


Just One More Thing Before You leave home

Just One More Thing_Gudgel

Just One More Thing: Before You Leave Home is a packed guide to help young adults enter life on their own. In the book, the Gudgels use stories, perspectives, and dialogues to discuss 30 indispensable topics to help teens survive, including: worldview, financial challenges, use of time, career moves, moral dilemmas, sex, painful experiences, and spiritual life, among others. Written from a Biblical perspective, the book is more of a guide to making good decisions than a lecture on how to live., It’s perfect for a parent and teen to go over together or to give as a thoughtful gift. This is a book they’ll reference for years to come.

I have a few years before we even have teenagers in the house, so thankfully I have lots of time to prepare them for when they leave the house.  (And to prepare myself!)  There is definitely advice that I wish I had recieved before leaving for college and beyond.  This book is a great guide that I plan to keep until my little ones may need to hear it!