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‘The Girl With Seven Names’ reveals complexities of freedom

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Escaping North Korea was the easy part. In her memoir, The Girl With Seven Names, Hyeonseo Lee, as she is called today, takes us on her gripping journey from the Ryanggang Province of North Korea where dustless portraits of the Great Leader and Dear Leader hang in every home to life as a defector in China and beyond. Due to a high social ranking and a mother skilled in bribery, Lee has a more privileged upbringing than most in North Korea. However, the extra food and occasional luxuries cannot shield her from the oppression that accompanies living under the rule of Kim Il Sung and …

‘The Redeemers’ showcases author’s storytelling abilities

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The sense of justice and righteousness that Sheriff Quinn Colson has brought to his tenure in Mississippi’s Tibbehah County is drawing to a close in Ace Atkins’ gripping new novel, The Redeemers. But the fifth installment in this series is more than a look at Quinn’s last days as sheriff, having lost the …

Native American boy finds strength, courage in family

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What would it feel like to be an 8-year-old boy suddenly separated from your family? The scariness of the situation is clear and immediate in Chickadee, which is set in 1866 in the territory that is now Minnesota. The story brings readers into the thoughts of a Native American boy named Chickadee; his …

Holiday biography fails to solve the mystery

Saturday, July 11, 2015

No figure in American music led a more interesting, troubled and tragic life than Billie Holiday. She was the tortured soul of jazz, whose breaking heart could be heard in every note she sang. She had a childhood …

Artistic view of end of the world

Saturday, July 11, 2015

In 2009, Kate Walbert published A Short History of Women, a complex novel that swirls around several generations of one family to explore what it meant and means to be female in the modern age. The Sunken Cathedral …

New Sarah Palin book coming in November

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Sarah Palin has a new book coming out, with a new publisher. Regnery Publishing, a conservative press based in Washington, D.C., announced Tuesday that it is planning a November release for Palin’s Sweet Freedom: A Devotional. The book, Palin’s fourth, will feature 260 “meditations” that apply “biblical principles” …

Just published: ‘Deception’ and ‘The PeaceSeeker’

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Deception Dan Lawton of Belmont recently self-published his first book, Deception. The crime-thriller is set in Topeka, Kan., somewhere Lawton has never been. When officer Billy Lewis’s father, the sheriff, is killed by a group of hitmen, Lewis …

Secrets sizzle in Depression-era summer

Saturday, July 4, 2015

In 2008, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was celebrated by readers around the world. The heartwarming story centered on members of a clandestine book club living on the Nazi-occupied Channel Islands during World War II. …

Sherman Alexie explores new realm with picture book

Saturday, July 4, 2015

National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie – already a poet, novelist and short story writer – moves into a new realm with his first picture book set to be released in May 2016. Illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner …

Science fiction and fantasy roundup

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tale with a twist Naomi Novik’s Uprooted is an enchanting twist on a tale from Polish folklore: A century-old wizard called the Dragon comes to a village to choose a young woman who will stay with him for …

Review: Fina Ludlow returns in Ingrid Thoft’s ‘Brutality’

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The challenge of belonging to a high-profile and dysfunctional family, yet establishing your own identity, continues to be the theme of Ingrid Thoft’s exciting series about Boston private investigator Fina Ludlow. The only non-lawyer of the high-powered Ludlows, …

Linked destinies

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Surely everyone knows, or should know, about the Cherokee Trail of Tears – an ordeal imposed upon thousands of Cherokees, who, after fighting and winning a judgment in the Supreme Court against their removal from the Eastern Seaboard, …

Reliving migration that helped settle America’s West

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The “lunatic notion” to attempt a 21st-century journey in a mule-drawn covered wagon along the historic Oregon Trail may have been embedded in Rinker Buck’s DNA. After all, it was a longer, more arduous reprise of his “dream …