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4 Books I Finished Recently 

Welcome to my book update post where I share what books I finished recently + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

My Reading Goals for 2021

For 2021, I set a goal of reading 3 books per week —  1 fiction book, 1 non-fiction book, and 1 audiobook each week. I know this is an audacious goal, but reading is something I love and it’s a way I learn, challenge my mind, improve as a writer and communicator, and am refreshed and encouraged through inspiring stories.

I have a few shelves full of books (mostly that I’ve gotten free), so I decided to choose 52 books from off my shelf to read this year (see my list of 52 books I plan to read in 2021 here). I’ll also read other books that I find/am sent that pique my interest. Plus, I plan to go through a lot of audiobooks (I get mine free from the Libby app and just started trying out the Hoopla app).

Here are four books I finished recently:

Sweet Like Jasmine

I got to read an early edition of this memoir on finding identity by Bonnie Gray. It traces her upbringing as a Chinese girl in America and the struggles she went through to find love and belonging. Her story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming and no matter your ethnicity or childhood, I think you will find yourself identifying with parts of Bonnie’s story. What I most appreciated was her honesty and vulnerability in this book!

I also loved how she artfully wove so much about Chinese culture and traditions throughout the chapters.

Verdict: 3 stars

Faith to Foster

This book chronicles the story of T.J. and Jenn’s journey as foster parents. While they have a completely different foster care story than us (they’ve taken in many more kids of all different ages and have no biological children of their own at the time this book was written), it still resonated deeply with me. So much of what they’ve experienced is stuff that we’ve walked through or have friends who foster who have walked through it.

In fact, for a few days, I had to set the book aside because reading about saying goodbye to a few children they had in their home for a long time period hit so close to home. I love their perspectives, the lessons they learned, and how candid they were about what they struggled with.

If you are a foster family, are considering fostering, or would just like to have a better peak into what fostering looks like, definitely read this book.

My only critiques would be that the story seemed to jump around some and I had trouble keeping track sometimes and I also don’t like people using the phrase “least of these” when referring to children in foster care (see the subtitle). For me, it just feels like it makes it very much an us vs. them or a pity project or that we are doing so much to help “these needy kids”. I know it’s semantics, but I think it matters how we talk about children who are in foster care and our perspective shapes the way that we love and walk with.

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