Why Is There So Much Evil?

Hello my friends,

I haven’t been blogging or vlogging much and the first video will explain why.

In the second video entitled “Does God Still Heal?,” I share some personal experiences which I hope blesses you.

Please feel free to subscribe to my channel and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

God bless you and thanks for watching.

Perennials by Julie Cantrell

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 14, 2017)
Price: $15.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Eva Sutherland—known to all as Lovey—grew up safe and secure in Oxford, Mississippi, surrounded by a rich literary history and her mother’s stunning flower gardens. But a shed fire, and the injuries it caused, changed everything. Her older sister, Bitsy, blamed Lovey for the irreparable damage. Bitsy became the homecoming queen and the perfect Southern belle who could do no wrong. All the while, Lovey served as the family scapegoat, always bearing the brunt when Bitsy threw blame her way.

At eighteen, suffocating in her sister’s shadow, Lovey turned down a marriage proposal and fled to Arizona. Free from Bitsy’s vicious lies, she became a successful advertising executive and a weekend yoga instructor, carving a satisfying life for herself. But at forty-five, Lovey is feeling more alone than ever and questioning the choices that led her here.

When her father calls insisting she come home three weeks early for her parents’ 50th anniversary, Lovey is at her wits’ end. She’s about to close the biggest contract of her career, and there’s a lot on the line. But despite the risks, her father’s words, “Family First,” draw her back to the red-dirt roads of Mississippi.

Lovey is drawn in to a secret project—a memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise. As she helps create this sacred space, Lovey begins to rediscover her roots, learning how to live perennially in spite of life’s many trials and tragedies.

Years ago, Lovey chose to leave her family and the South far behind. But now that she’s returned, she’s realizing things at home were not always what they seemed.

* * * Vlog Review: ***

Review

I have read every single book written by this author, and I can attest that she is a very talented writer. Like I said in my vlog review above, Julie Cantrell happens to be one of my favorite writers. I loved reading and reviewing all of her books and Perennials was no exception.

Although I would not classify this book as Christian, Perennials is wholesome, with a meaningful message. If I had to some it up in a few words, I would say it is about love and forgiveness.

My favorite character is Eva, who is also referred to as Lovey. She is the main protagonist whom I liked and related to. This book may be fiction, but it spoke volumes to me about overcoming and starting over.

I was honored to receive an advanced copy of Perennials in exchange for an honest review. Please be sure to preorder your copy now. You won’t be disappointed.

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author, Julie Cantrell is known for writing inspirational novels that explore the hard truths women typically keep secret. While she delves into emotional issues, she does so with a compassionate and open heart, always bringing readers through to a hopeful path for peace, empathy, and healing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KJV Know The Word Study Bible

Paperback: 1824 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Price: $27.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

The KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers three easy ways to begin studying Scripture and helps individuals transition from being a casual reader of the Bible to becoming a regular student of the Bible. You can choose to study the Bible book-by-book, verse-by-verse, or topic-by-topic; each path offers powerful insights that will help you develop a daily routine of Bible study. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God’s Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

Features Include:

  • King James Version Bible text
  • Three easy approaches to study the Bible: 1. Book by Book; 2. Verse by Verse; 3. Topic by Topic
  • Insightful introductions for each book of Scripture
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • Beautiful two-color interior page design
  • Comprehensive list of theological notes
  • Concordance
  • Full-color maps
  • 8-point type size

Review

I love Bibles, and my favorite version is the King James Bible. So, I was eager to review Know The Word Study Bible.

The pros: I liked the book by book, verse by verse and topic by topic sections, and the fact that it is compact enough to carry around with you. My personal favorite is the Introduction and Notes.

The cons: The print is too small for me and I found it limited. What I mean by limited, is that it’s not like a Life Application Study Bible or ESV Study Bible.

Overall, I like the Know The Word Study Bible and would recommend it. It does offer more features than any other compact study bible I’ve seen. I believe this bible would work best for a new believer as it’s not too intimidating or overwhelming.

Disclaimer: I want to thank Litfuse Publishing Group for sending me a complimentary bible in exchange for an honest review.

Love Big Be Well by Winn Collier

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Eerdmans (October 27, 2017)
Price: $16.99
Purchase: Amazon | CBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description 

Jonas McAnn is a weary pastor without a congregation, trapped in a dead-end insurance job. Granby Presbyterian is a weary congregation without a pastor, overwhelmed by the prospect of finding someone who actually wants to be a pastor—not a manager, coach, or CEO.

When Granby’s pastoral search committee and Jonas connect through handwritten letters passed back and forth, something sparks between them—something so real and refreshing that even after Jonas and his family move to Granby, he continues the regular practice of writing letters to his congregation.

Spanning seven years of his ministry at Granby Presbyterian, Jonas’s letters ruminate on everything from fly-fishing to the Nicene Creed. They reveal the earthy spirituality woven into the joys and sorrows of the people of Granby, the community of the church, and Jonas’s own unfolding story.

Readers will discover what it means for a pastor and a church to do the slow work of ministry in community—anchored by a common place and buoyed by a life of faith that is meaningful, rooted, and true.

Review

Love Big Be Well is a beautiful little book full of letters from a pastor named Jonas to his congregation.

Can I keep it real with you? This book was so realistic I actually thought it was nonfiction.

Winn Collier writing is full of wisdom. The book makes you ponder the simple truths of life. Love Big Be Well touches on living as a Christian, but not in a preachy or in your face kind of way.

My favorite chapter is Conviction. I actually went to look it up a book title mentioned in this chapter on Amazon, but it does not exist. I hope Winn Collier considers writing “Dirt and Thunder.” Trust me, once you read this book, you will know what I mean and will want him to write it, too.

I honestly enjoyed Love Big Be Well, it had many gems to ruminate on. I look forward to reading more by this author. If you want to read a book that makes you slow down and see life differently, I highly recommend you read this book.

***Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book by publisher in exchanged for an honest review.***

Winn Collier is a pastor, columnist, and author of several books, including Holy Curiosity. With his wife, Miska, a spiritual director, and two sons, Collier lives in Virginia, where he serves the good people of All Souls Charlottesville. Collier holds a PhD from the University of Virginia, focused on the intersection of religion and literary fiction.

 

 

 

Why I Stopped Watching “Power”

Do you watch “Power” on Starz? I did. I got hooked when it first came out. I was fascinated by the story of a drug lord wanting out of the game.

They say anything 50 Cent touches turns to gold, and I have to say, he did good with this series, as far as viewership and money is concerned. I believe much of the story correlates to his humble beginnings on the streets of Southside Jamaica Queens, which is where he is from.

The first two seasons were great. Recently, I caught up with Season 3 and 4.

I am not sure if they hired a different writer, but I saw a change in Season 3. It was darker and more violent.

As a Christian, I struggled through the episodes, fast forwarding through the soft porn and violent scenes. All you see is a bunch of different characters being killed a variety of ways. It doesn’t take much genius or creativity to kill a bunch of characters off.

I wrote to “Power” directly and expressed my thoughts on the change. As artists, we have a responsibility for what we put out there for the masses to consume. Life is inundated with senseless killings and untimely deaths, must we then replicate it for television? Especially in this instance, where the youth who admire and emulate 50 Cent are watching?

There are famous rappers speaking out against drugs, guns and gang violence, but then we have those who don’t, who produce shows like “Power” which propagate and glorify it. I understand it is just a show, and it’s for entertainment, but unfortunately, art imitates life and life imitates art. As embellished as it may be, stories like “Power” happen in real life, which is why it can be written about in the first place. As I mentioned above, 50 Cent has input and plenty of material to pull from his own life.

The only thing I liked about Season 4 was the scene where Kanan (50 Cent), who is a stone cold killer, develops genuine feelings for Tariq (Ghost’s son), who he was going to kill to get back at Ghost. That was about it, the rest was a disappointment. “Power” went from being unique and well-written, to being a vehicle of exploitation, violence and greed.

Listen, I am all for truth and good stories, but there is a fine line being crossed, when it’s riddled with sex, murder, and violence. We wonder why our society is disintegrating, and our youth are becoming more disrespectful. The reason is because what our society is ingesting. You are what you eat. If you are only ingesting garbage, then that’s what is going to come out.

The Bible says, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Whomever we associate with rubs off on us, whether good or bad. It can come by way of what we read and watch, too.

Gang violence, bullying, cyber bullying, disrespect, bad attitudes, suicides… are part of the framework. The only ones untouched are those who produce shows like “Power,” and are afforded the ability to be insulated from that reality.

At a certain point, we must ask ourselves, is writing and producing shows like “Power” necessary? The visuals that multitudes ingest weekly, don’t go away. There must be accountability. Greed can not override responsibility. As artists we must be concerned with what we are putting out there and how it is going to affect the minds of impressionable youth; our future generation.

As a believer, I had to take a step back and look at it from a spiritual standpoint. How is watching fornication and murder going to benefit our broken society? We blame our government, our President, but as artists, we are just as responsible for what is happening around us, by what we contribute and produce to feed millions of viewers by way of flat screen televisions across America.

Those who write books, produce television programs and make movies have a greater responsibility. We as artists owe it to our youth to produce substance. What we make or produce directly affects the climate of our society.

We have a choice to make. I made one. I am no longer going to partake in watching senseless violence. As an artist, there are ways of conveying things without being graphic, explicit or violent.

As much as I loved “Power,” I will no longer be watching it. I won’t judge those who do, as it is a personal decision. But I’m afraid if we continue moving in the same direction, things will only get worse.

Artists have the privilege of using their gifts which God blessed them with as a way to inspire and motivate change in our society. We are the voice. Change begins with us.

Drain The Swamp

Have you ever found yourself in a hopeless situation? A dark and lonely place? Where everything around you lacks color and is grey.

Haunted by memories, hounding you like a hungry wolf. Lost in a swamp, walking aimlessly, looking for a way out.

Courtesy of SJ Carey | Creative Commons

No matter what you do, or how much you walk, you are trapped with no escape. Lost and desperate, you look up and all you see are dead branches.

You look down at the murky water, with the hopes of finding life, only to be met with a distorted reflection of someone you once knew, looking back at you.

* * * * * * * * *

Our hearts are preoccupied with self, and our minds are polluted with the cares of this world.

The swamp is our souls.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

How do we drain the swamp?

It’s simple, but requires a commitment. That is, reading the Bible every day without fail. Not only reading it, but praying, studying, journaling and meditating on it.

This is how the excavation begins. The draining, digging, cleaning out of the old and replacing it with the new.

When negative thoughts flood your mind, like a tsunami, and you feel hopeless, think of Jesus.

When the pain suffocates you, and you feel like giving up, cry out to Jesus.

When nothing makes sense, and there are no answers, pray to Jesus.

When you feel lost, alone, and no help can be found, call on the name of Jesus.

Only Jesus can save us from ourselves. He is our only hope in the midst of whatever we are going through.

“Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6

“But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12:31

We must seek Him like hidden treasure.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” Matthew 13:44

Jesus is the answer. He possesses the keys to any problem or situation we face. He alone can drain our swamps and set us free.

***May this song encourage you today: https://youtu.be/ADuWzd7x25c***

 

His Bright Light by Danielle Steel

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Delta; Reprint edition
Price: $10.69
Purchase: Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

“This is the story of an extraordinary boy with a brilliant mind, a heart of gold, and a tortured soul. It is the story of an illness, a fight to live, and a race against death.

I want to share the story, and the pain, the courage, the love, and what I learned in living through it. I want Nick’s life to be not only a tender memory for us, but a gift to others. . . . I would like to offer people hope and the realities we lived with. I want to make a difference. My hope is that someone will be able to use what we learned, and save a life with it.”—Danielle Steel

From the day he was born, Nick Traina was his mother’s joy. By nineteen, he was dead. This is Danielle Steel’s powerful, personal story of the son she lost and the lessons she learned during his courageous battle against darkness. Sharing tender, painful memories and Nick’s remarkable journals, Steel brings us a haunting duet between a singular young man and the mother who loved him—and a harrowing portrait of a masked killer called manic depression, which afflicts between two and three million Americans.

At once a loving legacy and an unsparing depiction of a devastating illness, Danielle Steel’s tribute to her lost son is a gift of life, hope, healing, and understanding to us all.

***Vlog Review: https://youtu.be/YC8qgK_JpQQ***

Review

His Bright Light was written as a tribute to Danielle Steel’s son, Nick Traina who was born with bi-polar disorder and committed suicide at the age of nineteen.

This is a well written, detailed account chronicling his life and everything he/she went through trying to get help within the medical community. The failures and the successes, the ups and downs, the sadness and the joy.

It was heart wrenching and difficult for me to read. I had to put it book down a couple of times, because I felt bad for Nick and all he suffered, as well as Danielle Steel and her family.

Mental illness is real and it not only effects the person who is suffering from it, but it also impacts everyone else around them.

At that time, there wasn’t as much information regarding treating bi-polar disorder, (otherwise known as manic depression) as there is now. Although I’m grateful to see there have been strides in the medical field, there is still more to be uncovered and revealed regarding brain disorders.

I get into more detail about my thoughts in my vlog review.

If you want to learn more about what bi-polar looks like, I highly recommend His Bright Light. 

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 650 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Dangerous Games, The Mistress, The Award, Rushing Waters, Magic, The Apartment, Property of a Noblewoman, and other highly acclaimed novels. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina’s life and death; A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless; Pure Joy, about the dogs she and her family have loved; and the children’s books Pretty Minnie in Paris and Pretty Minnie in Hollywood.

Growing Up Gangster by Gregory Marshall

Paperback: 378 pages
Publisher: Brown Girls Publishing
Price: $15.00
Purchase: Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Powerful…Poignant…Inspiring As a child growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Gregory Marshall was enamored with the fast life. Money, women and cars were the things to have and Greg was determined to get them-by any means necessary. It wasn’t long before the innocent youngster had turned into a cold-hearted gangster known around town simply as G Man. His ruthless life of crime made him a legend in South Central LA-and the go-to man for everyone from Tupac Shakur to the notorious Monster Kody. But a drug deal gone bad eventually left him shot and near death…forcing him into the ultimate struggle for survival. Faced with intense rehabilitation and paralysis that had crippled the entire right side of his body, Greg had two choices, give up or get up. He chose the latter. And with the use of only one finger, he wrote his story through gritty, breathtaking, and sometimes brutal details…including his anger at injustices, the pain of abandonment and one unlikely act of kindness that started him on the path of healing and forgiveness.

*** Watch the vlog review here: https://youtu.be/7ihwparEYdQ ***

Review

Growing Up Gangster is a powerful memoir about Gregory Marshall’s life. Gregory entered a life of crime at an early age, which was partly due to his father being absent from his life. His father had left his mother and abandoned him and his siblings, and started a new family. The rejection and pain he felt from what his father did drove him to the streets and into a life of crime.

If you want read a well-written memoir that will have you at the edge of your seat, I highly recommend this one.

For a more detailed and thorough review, please be sure to watch my vlog.

Greg Marshall was an innocent youngster-turned-gangster whose journey took him from the dangerous streets of South Central Los Angeles to the Deep South in Natchez, Mississippi. A life of crime, several stints in prison, all led up to Greg being shot and left for dead in a drug deal gone bad forcing him into the ultimate struggle for survival. After undergoing an intense rehabilitation, in which Greg had to overcome paralysis throughout the right side of his body, he penned his story about the deepest secrets of street life and the underworld, but also of how he eventually embraced God’s redemption and forgiveness. Greg’s story is one of pain, despair, crime, love, healing—all leading to where he is today—hoping to make a positive difference in the lives of others and becoming a beacon of hope for those who need it most.

Bullies, Suicide and “13 Reasons Why”

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to take a peek at “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix. And yes, I am well aware of all the negative commentary surrounding it.

However, one thing I will say, is that I thought the series was well done. The writing, story, acting, and cinematography is superb.

“13 Reasons Why” is about a smart, pretty teenager named Hannah Baker who begins attending a new school, and becomes a target after a guy she liked took a photo of her coming down a slide. He decides to show the revealing photo to his jock buddies, and one of them thought it was a perfectly good idea to text it to everyone in the school.

Credit: Bully | by Jonathon Narvey | Flickr Creative Commons

It was disheartening to watch how these teenagers relentlessly bully her after that photo was sent. She did her best to cope with the cruelty that bombarded her on a daily basis. But things took a turn for the worst, when the same guy who texted the photo, raped her.

After this occurred, as a last resort, she visits with her school counsellor, which unfortunately, made matters worse. It was after this meeting, she decided to take her life. But before she does, she records 13 cassette tapes, leaving messages for everyone she holds responsible, except for one, her friend Clay Jensen.

The critics say “13 Reasons Why” glorifies rape and suicide. But I disagree. I believe the producers intention was to shock people into awareness and create a conversation to propel change.

I understand why some people wouldn’t want their small children watching it. However, I believe it should be viewed by parents and teenagers alike because of its important message.

I understand all too well about triggers, however, there is more violence in “The Walking Dead” than there is in “13 Reasons Why.” So, is it perfectly okay for kids to watch stuff like “The Walking Dead,” but not okay for them to be educated on a real and prevalent issue, such as bullying, rape and suicide?

Statistics say, suicide is the third leading cause of death in America between the ages of 10 to 24. Did you know every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, and every 8 minutes, it’s a child?

The story of “13 Reasons Why” reminds me of a YouTube video I watched several years ago of a girl who was being bullied. She made this video before she ended her life. Her name was Amanda Todd. She was just one of many who kill themselves because they see no other way out of their situation.

Just recently, I came across a story on Facebook of an eight year old boy from Ohio who committed suicide because of the relentless bullying he endured. Why hadn’t the school stepped in and stopped it? Why is bullying allowed or ignored in our public schools? Why aren’t changes being instituted to insure the safety of our children attending school?

Yet, the critics are up in arms about “13 Reasons Why.” I don’t understand. Don’t they see what is going on? Aren’t they aware of the epidemic? Aren’t they paying attention to what is happening to our children in schools across America?

Yes, the content is graphic, but so is the reality. Parents and victims of bullies need to see and understand the damage it causes. Not turn a blind eye or pretend it isn’t happening. No one can afford to ignore this problem anymore.

Parents, children, principals, teachers…everyone has a part to play. Parents can’t leave parenting up to the schools, because the schools can’t do it. However, I do believe schools need to send a strong message that bullying won’t be tolerated. There needs to be accountability and a better security system in place.

It is a shame our schools have to turn into a juvenile detention center instead of being an institution for learning.

Awareness and knowledge is the first step, and I believe “13 Reasons Why” accomplished that. Now the rest is on us. Instead of protesting, debating and disagreeing about this series, why not use the energy to be proactive in spreading awareness and helping to stop bullying which is claiming the lives of our youth.

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Price: $15.00
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final “class”: lessons in how to live.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie’s lasting gift with the world.

* * * * * Vlog Review: https://youtu.be/cwkeHf5n0x8 * * * * *

Review

Mitch Albom met Morrie in college. He was his sociology professor. Morrie took an interest in Mitch and they developed a close friendship. After graduating college, Mitch Albom went on to be a sports journalist, and lost touch with Morrie.

One fateful night, while Mitch was flipping through TV channels, he came upon an interview with Morrie and learned that he was dying. This is what prompted Mitch to reach out, and thus began visiting with Morrie.

Every Tuesday, Mitch would visit and interview him. He would ask him important questions, which resulted in this memorable and thought provoking book.

I remember when this book came out and was on the New York Times bestseller list for a long time. However, I never got around to reading it until now. I am thankful I received the 20th year anniversary edition from Penguin Random House to review, because this short book reminded me of what’s matters in life; God, family and community.

If you want to be inspired, I highly recommend Tuesdays With Morrie. 

Mitch Albom is an internationally renowned author, screenwriter, playwright, nationally syndicated columnist, broadcaster and musician. He is the author of six consecutive number one New York Times bestsellers–including Tuesdays with Morrie, the bestselling memoir of all time–and his books have collectively sold more than thirty-five million copies in forty-five languages. Four of his books have been made into Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed television movies. He has founded eight charities in Detroit and Haiti, where he operates an orphanage. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan. Learn more at www.mitchalbom.com and www.mitchalbomcharities.org

The Prisoner’s Wife by Asha Bandele

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Price: $15.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

As a favor for a friend, a bright and talented young woman volunteered to read her poetry to a group of prisoners during a Black History Month program. It was an encounter that would alter her life forever, because it was there, in the prison, that she would meet Rashid, the man who was to become her friend, her confidant, her husband, her lover, her soul mate. At the time, Rashid was serving a sentence of twenty years to life for his part in a murder. The Prisoner’s Wife is a testimony, for wives and mothers, friends and families. It’s a tribute to anyone who has ever chosen, against the odds, to love.

 

***  Vlog Review: https://youtu.be/N4kqoD6gDmw ***

 

Review

I decided to read The Prisoner’s Wife after reviewing Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor. Shaka listed it as one of his favorite books, and I can see why. Asha Bandele is a beautiful writer, who penned a powerful memoir like a poet that she is.

I must admit, it was not an easy read. She touches on topics which gave me pause and had me reflect on my own life. In some ways, she and I share similar pasts which is why I identified and was profoundly moved by her writing.

The Prisoner’s Wife is a love story, but not an ordinary one. It was about her personal journey of falling in love and marrying a man named Rashid, who was serving a life sentence for murder.

One of the things I learned from reading this memoir is when someone is incarcerated, not only are they doing time, but so are their loved ones, which is what happened to Asha. She spent the majority of her time alone, other than the letters, phone calls and occasional visits.

I commend her for writing the truth and not painting an unrealistic picture. She did not romanticize her experience, but was bold, brave and courageous. She exposes the truth, shows the difficulties, and obstacles related to loving someone in prison.

If you were ever curious about what it’s like to be married to someone serving time, I highly recommend The Prisoner’s Wife. 

Asha Bandele is an author and journalist. A former features editor for Essence magazine, Asha is the author of two collections of poems, the award-winning memoir The Prisoner’s Wife, and the novel Daughter. She lives in Brooklyn with her daughter.