Sunday, July 20, 2014

Penny Wise - Windy City Neighbors 3 - by Neta & Dave Jackson

About the book: Penny Wise introduces us to yet another family in "the neighborhood"---the Jaspers, busy with demanding jobs, busy with church, busy volunteering, parents of three active teenagers, juggling sometimes crazy schedules. All good things. Until all those "good things" feed into a series of crises that affects the whole family. Something's gotta change!

The third in the Windy City Neighbors series, Penny Wise is a contemporary peek at an urban family wrestling with the spiritual and practical challenges of real life. The series employs the innovating storytelling technique of "parallel novels," each with its own drama and story arc, but whose characters' lives become intertwined with their neighbors and affect one another. Welcome to Beecham Street---a typical, isolated American neighborhood that is beginning to come out of its shell . . . for better or worse.

My review: This was an interesting story that was a little too stressful for me to really enjoy!  The parents both work stressful jobs full time, have three teenagers, and volunteer at church and Michelle also with a crisis pregnancy center.  It was constant running from one thing to another and Michelle's health starts to decline, but she takes a while to really worry about it.  I need a lot of down-time to recuperate and relax, so I can't imagine keeping up that kind of pace for any length of time, though I know there are plenty of people who do.  I think this really showed that people need to slow down and make wise choices about how they spend their time and that they can delegate or let other people run things.  I also liked that Michelle starts to wonder why she does some of these things.  Is she trying to earn God's favor or is she relying on grace?  The spiritual elements were done very well in the story.  I enjoyed her little experiment with pennies and the tough choice she makes felt realistic.  I got a little frustrated with her husband sometimes with how he didn't seem to do any housework or cooking and with how he treated their oldest son at times.  I liked Michelle and her daughter Tabby a lot, probably because I could relate to them more.  I haven't read any of the Jackson's other books and this worked fine as a stand-alone, but it does tie in with some of their other series, too, as some of the other characters show up for a visit!  I really liked the fact that the main family were African-American and also that there was such a diverse group of people in their neighborhood and that Michelle interacted with.  It made for an interesting perspective that I don't see that often in Christian fiction.  I would recommend this book if you like realistic stories about modern families.

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

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About the authors: Dave and Neta Jackson are award-winning authors living in the Chicago area where their parallel novels from the Yada Yada House of Hope and Harry Bentley series are set. As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books.

Find Neta and Dave online: website

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