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  • Writer's pictureJenna Miller

July 2023 Reads

Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake: Badger is a Very Important Rock Scientist and a bit of a hermit. His life is turned upside down when his aunt sends him a new roommate (it is her house he stays in after all). Skunk arrives with his red suitcase and chicken whistle and swiftly causes Badger to question his self-imposed comfort zone. This is a fantastic first chapter book with illustrations by Jon Klassen. We loved it and laughed out loud through it. My two older boys and I recommend it!

Sackett's Land by Louis L'Amour: set around 1600. Barnabas Sackett's staid life in the fens explodes with adventure when he inadvertently makes enemies with a young noble who has a chip on his shoulder. To escape the noble's skewed sense of justice, Barnabas journeys from the fens to London to the New World. Violence, kidnapping, an appearance by Shakespeare, pirates and more. I thought it was a great read!

How (Not) to Read the Bible: Making Sense of the Anti-Women, Anti-Science, Pro-Violence, Pro-Slavery and Other Crazy Sounding Parts of Scripture by Dan Kimball: this was a wonderful resource for these hard-to-read, hard-to-understand passages of the Scriptures. Kimball dissects some popular memes and arguments against Christianity and the Bible. His advice: never cherry pick a single verse from the Bible and make a definitive statement about God from it. Context is foremost. You must read the verses before and after these 'controversial' passages and then match up your conclusions with the rest of the Bible to see if your conclusions are indeed correct or not. Highly recommend for searching unbelievers or Christians who need help answering critics.

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill: memoir of Corrie ten Boom regarding the events leading up to World War II and her family's role in the resistance hiding Jewish people. Eventually, Corrie, her sister, and her father were arrested and sent to prison, then a concentration camp. Although I cried while reading it, this book is incredibly uplifting. Corrie is quick to give glory to God and show how even horrific conditions can lead Christians to praise His name. Such a wonderful, fast read. I also learned that Corrie traveled throughout Europe with Brother Andrew. You can read his memoir, God's Smuggler, here. Another fantastic true story of God working through a believer to bring His truth (the only truth) to those behind the Iron Curtain.

The London House by Katherine Reay: Caroline Payne randomly receives a phone call from her long-lost college friend Matt that causes her to question everything she thought she knew about her family history. The story jumps bath and forth between Caroline and her great aunt who she believed had died as a child from polio but was actually seen in the family as a Nazi defector. Caroline and Matt begin a search for the truth. This was a super good read. I've enjoyed all of Reay's novels thus far.

The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett: an unsavory murder occurs at Windsor Palace but is kept very hush hush as the police investigate. Unbeknownst to all but a very few, the Queen has been living a double life solving mysteries for years, then expertly planting her results into the right people's minds. Her new assistant Rozie is read in to be the Queen's hands and feet. This was a delightful read! I loved it. There is a sequel, but I am curious as to how the author will continue now that the Queen has died.

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare: 13 year old Matt is left on his own at his family's newly built homestead in Maine as his father treks back to to gather Matt's mother and siblings. Matt's adventures and misadventures lead him to befriend nearby Indians. He comes of age as his father's journey stretches out much longer than anticipated. Has something happened? Will his father return? Should he go with the Indians? This was a good read--perfect for my boys. We recommend it!

The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions compiled by Arthur Bennett: if you are in the market for some theologically rich, well-ordered, and beautiful prayers, look here! I have bee reading/praying through this for the last couple years and have loved it. It is such a wonderful tool to have on hand, especially if you struggle in your prayer life. The Puritans just seem to have a handle on human nature and the glory of God that seems somewhat lacking in those who claim Christianity today. Highly recommend.

Realm and Wand books 1 and 2: The King's Spell and The King's Enchantress by E.J. Kitchens: Kitchens has created a world of magic where the God of the Bible is still worshipped--that's a bit of a rare combination. In her world there are enchanters/enchantresses, non-magics, and magic collectors. Magic collectors have carved out a disreputable reputation for themselves by "collecting" (i.e. stealing) magical items and magic itself from magic users. On the other hand, magic users have become rather lazy in their magic use, many only using it for pranks rather to help protect others from evil. So when the king asks his goddaughter, an enchantress, and a magic collector to work together against a common foe, both must work through their prejudices and behaviors to protect king and country. There is a third book coming out soon that I will also read. I really enjoyed these books! They are free of explicit material, have great character growth, and thus far, a good plot!

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