Better All the Time (A Darlilng Family Novel)

First off, this is the second book in a series, but don't let that stop you from reading it.  I did not know that before I started it, and it did not take away from my reading experience.  Carre Armstrong Gardner portrays an authentic everyday American family including the beauty of strong relationships and the sorrow of broken ones.  This story focuses mostly on sisters, Amy and Seraphina and some major changes in their lives, but there are many characters and a number of other stories are touched as well.  While it is not essential that you read the earlier book, I wanted to go back and read it to hear more about this family.  I would also like to read the next story because I did get attached to a couple of the characters.

Solid writing, Authentic characters, good theme.  I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.


Letters from My Father's Murderer

Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness (Kregel, June 2015)
When her father was murdered, Laurie Coombs sought justice and found it.
His murderer now serves two life sentences with no possibility of parole. Yet, despite the swift punishment of the killer, Laurie found herself increasingly full of pain, bitterness, and anger she couldn’t control. After coming to faith, she realized she was being called to seek something infinitely more difficult than justice: forgiveness.
This is an extraordinary true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God to change lives. The reader is swept along with Laurie as she undergoes the life-changing transformation of becoming a Christian. As she studies Scripture, seeing God redeeming losses and healing deep wounds time and time again, she starts to understand that her own healing would require her to love her enemy in a real, practical way.
Using her incredible correspondence with the man who killed her father, Laurie reveals a compelling journey of transformation, not only in her life, but in the lives of those whom many would call irredeemable.
Letters from My Father’s Murderer is for any audience Christian or secular who
—Craves freedom from the inability to forgive those who’ve caused them harm
—Wants to hear testimony of God’s power in our obedience
—Has experienced pain through other’s sin against them
—Needs to know healing is always possible
The real story here is not primarily about murder and its fallout, but rather about redemption and how far it can reach.

First off, what a conversation starter!  My kids saw the book and had many questions, so it opened the door to some good conversations about forgiveness and grace.  
The book is authentic and easy to read.  The emotion and events shared in this story portrayed a journey that only the Lord can accomplish!  It is a powerful and moving lesson and picture of God's love and grace given to us and through us!