Monday, December 26, 2011

Two by Alice J. Wisler


Rain Song 
Publisher:  Bethany House
Pages:  304
Source:  I received a copy for review
Genre:  Adult, Realistic Fiction

From Goodreads:
Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan...something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone...something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney. Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy Web site, she meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his e-mails tug at her heart. Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does.

My Thoughts:
Nicole Michelin has had a lot of heartache.  She was born in Japan.  Her parents were medical missionaries.  At the age of two, she lost her mother in a fire and she and her father moved back to the United States. Like many children, Nicole has fears related to things she doesn’t fully understand.  Her father refuses to talk about the past so she is left without answers and too afraid to seek them out.  Then she meets Harrison Michaels through a website.  He knew her as a child in Japan .  He knows there are many in Japan that can answer some of those questions.  This means Nicole will have to takes some steps of faith and courage.  This is accomplished through the love, encouragement, and wisdom of her grandmother.  There are other side stories that add to the warmth and depth of this story.  This was a wonderful book.  One that lets the reader know that we have to let go of fears and lean on our faith.  This is an author to watch out for.


How Sweet It is 
Publisher:  Bethany House
Pages:  320
Source:  I received a copy for review
Genre:  Christian, Romance

From Goodreads:
Deena Livingston leaves behind a broken romance and her chef job in Atlanta to spend time at her grandfather's cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. But her grandfather has an odd request: he wants Deena to teach cooking classes to the ragtag group of middle-schoolers who attend the local afterschool program, The Center. Reluctantly, Deena agrees, but how is she supposed to convince these kids that cooking at home is better than eating at McDonalds? And after all she went through in Atlanta, why is she attracted to Zack, the social worker at The Center? Can a Dr. Seuss-quoting plumber, a curly-haired basketball player, and a group of middle-schoolers change Deena's outlook on life?

My Thoughts:
Oh this one touched close to home.  Deena Livingston and her boyfriend are involved in an accident.  He doesn’t bother to come see her, he just sends her flowers.  When I read this I thought about my cousin.  The night she became engaged she and her fianc√© were involved in an accident.  After emerging from a coma she had to learn to talk all over again, as well as learn to walk.  She actually overheard her fianc√© tell a friend outside of her door at the hospital that there was no way he would marry her.  When the friend asked why, he replied that he would not marry a retard.”  He had caused the accident.  She was so hurt yet determined to move on with God’s help.  Deena is just as determined.  She moves to a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina.  Her grandfather left it to her with the stipulation she will teach cooking classes to a group of middle schoolers.  You could see the hand of God in all of this as she begins to heal not only on the outside, but on the inside.  It is through learning to know these children and the scars they hide within themselves that she begins to heal.  I know as a teacher I often have kids dealing with some pretty terrible things.  Sometimes those things resonate with me and I find myself thinking about how much I have felt some of the same things and have harbored hurt or hatred even.  It is through helping others we often help ourselves. 
I enjoyed this book more than her first one.  I look forward to reading more by her.

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