The Children’s Blizzard – Book Review

Now that our long Minnesota winter has finally ended (knock on wood), I think it’s safe to post this review. My mom grew up on a farm in North Dakota during the Great Depression. I remember her telling me what life was like without central heat, boots without high-tech insulation, and woolen mittens that froze stiff with the cold. Imagine trudging out in the middle of the night in -30-degree […]

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5-Star Reads from 2020

  I read some great books in 2020 (and some duds if I’m being honest). These were my favorites. There’s something here for just about everybody. (I’m a professional reader, author, and librarian, in case my opinion matters). The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical, but after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their […]

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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. […]

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Genghis: Birth of an Empire

Courage cannot be left like bones in a bag. It must be brought out and shown the light again and again, growing stronger each time. If you think it will keep for the times you need it, you are wrong. It is like any other part of your strength. If you ignore it, the bag will be empty when you need it most. Ruthless. Intelligent. Murderous. Ingenious. Brutal. Intense. Courageous. […]

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Book Review: The Vanishing Half

She hadn’t realized how long it takes to become somebody else, or how lonely it can be living in a world not meant for you. ― Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half Most of us experience a time in our lives when we feel like we don’t belong, that we’re impostors in our own reality. Author Brit Bennett vividly portrays those feelings in her brilliant new novel, The Vanishing Half. It’s […]

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Book Review: Along the Broken Bay

  I am a huge fan of World War II historical novels whether set in Europe or elsewhere. For the first time I stumbled upon one based in the Philippines and I loved it. Here is a brief synopsis (without too many spoilers): December 1941. War has erupted in the Pacific, spelling danger for Gina Thorpe, an American expat living in Manila. When the Japanese invade and her husband goes […]

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Book Review: The Mountains Sing

“Human lives were short and fragile. Time and illnesses consumed us, like flames burning away these pieces of wood. But it didn’t matter how long or short we lived. It mattered more how much light we were able to shed on those we loved and how many people we touched with our compassion.” – The Mountains Sing I was in junior high when Saigon fell. I remember little about the […]

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Sky Full of Stars: Book Review

    Synopsis A Sky Full of Stars: Learning to Surrender to God’s Perfect Plans is about blogger Meg Apperson’s poignant journey of pain and loss. As a young person, her suffering took the form of sexual abuse, a teenage marriage and divorce. As a mother, she watched two of her children fight rare diseases that nearly stole their lives. Meg Apperson grew up trusting God, but it wasn’t until […]

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