#OpenBook: February Reads

The first Wednesday of each month, Carolyn Astfalk hosts #OpenBook, where bloggers link posts about books they’ve read recently. Here’s a taste of what I’ve been reading:

NONFICTION: When You Suffer by Jeff Cavins (review here. HIGHLY recommended.)

Thrift Store Saints by Jane Knuth. This collection of stories about a middle-aged suburban woman’s volunteer experience at a St. Vincent DePaul thrift shop was touching, funny and honest. Author Jane Knuth is blunt about her own expectations as a volunteer and how her preconceptions were continuously confounded by the people whom she served and with whom she worked. My favorite story: Chapter 3, “A Street Theologian.” This book sat on my wish list for a long time, and I wish I’d gotten around to reading it sooner.

FICTION: The Marshall Plan by Olivia Folmar Ard. I’d already read The Partition of Africa and was happy to find that this book featured some of the same characters in supporting roles. Young college grad Molly and her fiance Gavin are going through a rough patch in their relationship. She can’t find it in her heart to commit to him when she resents him for passing up lucrative job offers in his field of study, only to get a job in a motorcycle shop. Meanwhile she’s scraping by, trying to pay off student loans and her rent while working in a job she hates at a taco stand because she can’t find any jobs in her field. Molly never actually connects those two dots, but that seems to be at the heart of her relationship issues.

June Bug by Chris Fabry. June Bug lives in an RV with her father; they’re stuck in a Wal-Mart parking lot waiting for an engine part when she sees her own face staring at her from a missing-child poster inside the store. This was an excellent story of suspense and the meaning of family. Highly recommended.

Under the Silk Hibiscus by Alice J. Wisler. This historical novel centering on the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II explores life inside the internment camp from the point of view of teenage Nathan. The novel does not end with Nathan’s family’s release from the camp, but continues to recount how they began to rebuild their lives in the postwar era.

A Season to Love by Nicole Deese. An excellent novel of transformation, centering on Willa, a widowed mom of a child who’s just finished chemo for cancer. Willa’s anxiety is always threatening to get the best of her and gets in the way of her relationships. She’s challenged by a young doctor to stop hanging on so tightly to what little she can control, so that her daughter can have a healthy life and she herself can have healthy relationships.

Links to books in this post are Amazon affiliate links. Your purchases made through these links support Franciscanmom.com. Thank you!

Follow my Goodreads reviews for the full list of what I’ve read recently.

Visit today’s #OpenBook post to join the linkup or just get some great ideas about what to read!

Courtesy of Carolyn Astfalk via A Scribber's Heart Blog.
Courtesy of Carolyn Astfalk via A Scribber’s Heart Blog.
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