What I Read in 2020

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First, let’s start with a pick for older elementary/middle school kids. My daughter and I read this together: Black Star, Bright Dawn by Scott O’Dell

Scott O’Dell wrote this great book about a teenage-aged Eskimo girl from Alaska, Bright Dawn, who spent her young life learning to hunt bearded seals with her father. When a hunting accident forces her father to give up his livelihood, the family is forced to move from their village to a small Alaskan town. While living there, Bright Dawn and her father learn to race dog sleds. Her father receives a sponsorship to race in the Iditarod. When he becomes injured again, Bright Dawn takes his place. Follow her struggles and triumphs as she runs the race of her life.

Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

In America, we like to think we are open-minded, and are not prejudiced against other cultures. But sometimes we are. Especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against our country. We took out our frustration on Muslims living in our own neighborhoods. Amani describes what it was like to grow up as a Muslim girl in America. She has heartbreaking stories about the way she and family members were treated. We can’t change the past, but we can most certainly do better in the future.

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire

I do not normally read Zombie Apocalypse books. It is not my thing. I am not even sure why I picked up this book (maybe it was a dare from one of my kids?). Once I started reading it, I just had to finish. I really enjoyed the story line of this book. The Apocalypse starts as an infectious disease and an offbeat reference to flu vaccines….which is an eerie parallel to what we are facing now! I did finish this book right before coronavirus took over our lives, but man there are a lot of comparisons I am making to the book and what we are going through now!

Believe Me by Yolanda Hadid

Have you ever been horribly sick, and no one believed you when because you seemed fine on the outside? Inside your body was being ravished by a disease doctors could not pinpoint. This is the story of Real Housewife star and model Yolanda Hadid and how she suffered from Lyme Disease for years before doctors figured out what was making her so sick. Along the way, she learned that conventional medicine did not always have the answers and she turned to some alternative medicine to supplement her healing. Yolanda is a brave, beautiful soul. She has a very kind heart that is rare among celebrities.

Looking for more reading suggestions?



The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

True friendship is hard to find. A group of friends that lasts a lifetime is even harder to find. Five young mothers gather in a park in Palo Alto in the 1960s, discovering a love of books. Encouraging each other, they start writing. At first it is pretty basic journal writing. Soon they become each other’s harshest critics as they tackle difficult subjects. They rally around each other through illnesses and marital crises. Several of the women become published authors, and they all end up on Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show”, leaving Johnny speechless at their antics! The bonds of the women in this book are exceptional, and you feel like you are a part of their group.

The Bielski Brothers by Peter Duffy

If you are a history buff you will like this book. The Beilski Brothers, Tuvia, Asael, Zus, and Aron, saved approximately 1200 Jewish lives during World War II by hiding in the forests near what is now Belarus. They beat incredible odds to stay alive and constantly moving through the forest to avoid the Nazi Germans. But the Nazis were not their only enemies. Some of the local gentiles and even some members of the Russian Army (who they were helping out) turned on them, making their lives even more difficult.

Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs

Are you a Foodie? Do you enjoy watching cooking shows? I do not, but this lovely novel about Augusta “Gus” Simpson and her antics was a fun read! Imagine you are about to turn 50, and you are the darling of a food network. Suddenly, you are in danger of being replaced by younger hosts, beauty queens, and 10 minute internet videos. What crazy ideas would you come up with to save your show? Find out how Gus reacted!

Kinda Like Grace: A Homeless Man, A Broken Woman, and the Decision That Made Them Family by Ginger Sprouse and Thomas Nelson

For several years, the residents of Clear Lake, Texas helped out Victor, a homeless man on a busy street corner. A little bit of help here, a little bit of help there, but he always kept slipping through the cracks as there was nothing the authorities could really do for him. One day, Ginger drives by Victor’s corner and feels a pull of some unexplained force to help him. She leaves; God just keeps putting Victor back in her path. With all that she has done wrong in her life, how can she possibly be qualified to help him? She has just re-built her own life, and now God wants her to help Victor? She accepts the path the Holy Spirit gives her, and dives in headfirst to help get this man the help he needs.

What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments below!

Spring Reads 2018


The Living Clearly Method by Hilaria Baldwin

I thoroughly enjoyed this book!  Hilaria tackles tough issues of active moms:  there just is not enough time in the day to do what we need to do!  Squeeze in some mini-yoga workouts when you can (she even does them while walking her kids…..with the stroller for balance!), make subtle changes to your diet, and make time for your family (she is married to super-busy actor Alec Baldwin, so their schedule is constantly changing).  Hilaria has great food tips in her book.  While she is vegan, and we are Paleo, I found I could easily adapt many of her recipes for our needs.  I have also noticed that since I started to pull out my yoga mat at home for a few stretches, or to listen to a few minutes of guided meditation, my kids are doing the same.  They pull out my yoga mat, and they listen to the apps on my phone, especially when they think I am not watching!



Little House Living:  The Make Your Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life by Merissa Alink

I first picked up this book because Merissa had some allergy-friendly recipes that we could use in our house.  I was pleasantly surprised to find some great recipes to make our own body butter and body scrubs, avoiding some of the harsh ingredients in commercial brands that irritate our skin.  While we won’t be as frugal and self-sufficient as Merissa, we will definitely use several of her suggestions in our own home.


Camino Island by John Grisham

A great beachy read as you get ready for summer!  A group of thieves pull off one of the greatest heists in history as they steal priceless F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from Princeton University.  A former college professor turned author is presented with an opportunity to infiltrate a curious local bookstore scene on Camino Island in Florida, where her grandmother once lived.  Her adventures take us into an underground world of book trading, and smuggling of the manuscripts into Europe.  My favorite scene was the unveiling of how the manuscript got smuggled out of the country.  This is a suspenseful book, taking many twists and turns you don’t see coming.

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Winter Reads

It’s been so cold this winter…who wants to go outside much?  Here are some of the books I have been reading lately:

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

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I love to read books from authors who attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.   This book by Angela Flournoy does not disappoint.  It is her first novel, and she does a great job while she chronicles a family crisis in the city of Detroit.  The crisis unfolds in modern times; however it has its roots in the previous generation  that came to Detroit from Arkansas.  The 13 Turner children grew up on Yarrow Street in Detroit, and watched their neighborhood decline as the auto industry fell apart.  The family has to decide if they should keep their mother’s house, or let it go back to the bank since it is not worth anywhere close to what is still owed on it.  In the process, several of the children face their addictions, and even what appears to be a “haint”, or ghost, they feared followed their father from Arkansas.

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

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Russell Green thought he had it all.  A great career, a beautiful wife, a big house in a great neighborhood.  For years, it seems nothing can go wrong.  His daughter is born and she becomes the center of his world.  When she is six years old, his wife Vivian announces she is going back to work.  Soon, Russell’s world comes crashing down.  Russell is left as the primary caregiver of his daughter as Vivian starts to work more and travel with her job. Vivian decides she wants a divorce, and Russell loses his job and tries to start up his own advertising firm.  In the process, the custody battle becomes quite vicious and the family is in danger of losing their home.  The surprise way the story works out shows the unconditional love parents have for their children when they finally decide to put aside their differences and put their families first.

Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe

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The title of this book makes it sound really gross, doesn’t it?  It’s not gross at all!  Basically Dr. Josh Axe is telling us that in order to get well again, get ourselves to the point where we are not so sick anymore, is to eat fresh, organic food.  If you have allergies, autoimmune disease, or any kind of illness, this book is a great way to figure out how to get back on track for your situation and heal yourself.

What are you reading this winter?

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