A Stirring Historical Mystery

Clark and Division by Edgar Award-winner Naomi Hirahara brings readers into the poignant struggles of a Japanese American family in 1944 Chicago. After spending two years in the Manzanar internment camp, twenty-year-old Aki Ito and her family face another blow—the mysterious death of Aki’s sister, Rose, ruled a suicide by police. Convinced of foul play, Aki is determined to uncover the truth, thrusting us into a tale woven with historical intricacies and the harsh realities of racism and displacement faced by Japanese Americans during and after World War II. Hirahara’s portrayal of 1940s Chicago is rich in historical detail, offering a vivid backdrop to the personal and communal challenges Aki […]

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What the Fireflies Knew

  “The house is silent and smells like a mix between the old people that kiss my cheeks at church, and the tiny storage unit where all our stuff lives now.”—Kai Harris, What the Fireflies Knew. After her father dies of an overdose and the debts incurred from his addiction cause the loss of the family home in Detroit, almost-eleven-year-old Kenyatta Bernice (KB) and her teenage sister, Nia, are dropped off by their overwhelmed mother to live with their estranged grandfather in Lansing. The kids don’t know where she’s gone or if she’ll ever come get them. Over that sweltering summer, KB’s entire world is upended. Even her sister, always her […]

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My Favorite Reads of 2022

  I read 106 books in 2022, so narrowing it down to my very favorites was a challenge. The list below comprises my crème de la crème in a great year of reading. You’ll find a variety of genres set in the United States, Mexico, Ghana, Ukraine, China, England, Poland, Austria, Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, and Vietnam. Most of these were 5-star reads for me, but one was a 4.5 rounded up to 5. I hope you find something you love! Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid “We live in a world where exceptional women have to sit around waiting for mediocre men.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, Carrie Soto is Back. […]

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The Sanctuary Book Review

Sanctuary is the remarkable true story of how faith turned one lost man’s life around with the help of the rescue animals who loved him. In the small Irish village of Liscarroll, Patrick Barrett helped his family run a sanctuary for abandoned and abused donkeys. He did poorly in school and his headmaster beat him. Patrick only felt truly accepted in the presence of the donkeys and he could read their body language and communicate in ways they could understand. Falling prey to the cultural norms of life in an Irish village, Barrett had his first drink at age seven and came to depend on alcohol to numb his anxiety. At […]

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A Hidden Life

Last fall I watched a gorgeous movie titled A Hidden Life about Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer and devout Catholic who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. Franz, his wife, Fani, and their three young daughters lived outside the small village of St. Radegund and were important members of the tight-knit rural community. In 1943, he and other able-bodied were called up to fight for Germany. When recruiters asked him to swear an oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler, Jägerstätter refused and was arrested and taken to prison in Linz where the most “dangerous” prisoners were housed. His family was ostracized and belittled by their friends […]

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THE BROKEN TREE

On my way into town I often take a shortcut through the countryside. On the south side of the road stood three trees, strong and proud, and oh so beautiful. The other day I drove past the property again and found this heartbreaking sight. I had to pull over to the side of the road because my tears were obstructing my vision. This fallen tree reminded me of my own brokenness. It also reminded me that I am not alone in my pain. In Psalm 34:18, David wrote these words: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. I felt closer to God that day […]

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FREE Kindle Copy of “Facing the Dragon!”

Nope, I’m not kidding. the Kindle version of Facing the Dragon: How a Desperate Act Pulled One Addict out of Methamphetamine Hell is FREE from May 28 – June 3. (If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still take advantage of this offer. There is a free Kindle app available for smartphones, tablets, and PCs.)   In Facing the Dragon, you will witness the slow, agonizing metamorphosis of a good-looking high-school athlete into a violent, drug-dealing, psychotic wife-beater whose children were terrified of him. After more than twenty-three years addicted to methamphetamine and other drugs, David Parnell put an SKS assault rifle under his chin and pulled the trigger. The […]

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