Jody Rakis

Wanda J. (“Jody”) Rakis was born in Texas, and moved to Michigan with Ling-Temco-Vought Missile Corporation in the early 60’s. She was an executive secretary with the company with top secret clearance. Not too long after arriving in Michigan she met a tall, Greek, handsome salesman and they were married a year later. She was a stay-at-home mother for seven years. Jody returned to the work force after fire destroyed their new investment business. Because their three children being very young, and they lived in a log cabin on a cold, northern Michigan lake, Jody took a job with the school system, as secretary for the Superintendent and Board of Education. She later switched to elementary school secretary so that she could be with her children in the summers. During these years, Jody became more active in her parish and began teaching CCD classes at night. She has been fortunate to have many, wonderful, exciting, sometimes demanding, positions in her career. From school secretary, she managed a new travel agency that opened in her town. Another challenge, another great experience. From there Jody scrimped and saved and was eventually able to open her own business, a secretarial and office rental business with a conference room and three offices, located in the newest building of her small town. The business was very successful and expanded twice in two years, to eight offices and a waiting list of tenants. After herr children graduated from high school, Jody and her husband sold their respective businesses and moved to sunny Florida. One of their sons had also moved there with school friends, and their daughter came with them. Their oldest son was married and starting a family. During those years, Jody attended Barry University and completed required courses for her Paralegal Certificate. In Naples, Jody again became active in our parish, teaching CCD and also becoming sponsor for RCIA candidates. After ten years, the Rakis’ son and daughter moved back north and Jody and her husband missed being close to them and their new families. They moved to Cincinnati, where their daughter lives. Upon arrival, Jody’s husband worked for an appraisal company and Jody found employment with The Kroger Co. as legal secretary to the lead labor attorney for the company. She retired from Kroger in 2005. The Rakis’ parish is St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Delhi, suburb of Cincinnati. Jody am involved with the Christ Renews His Parish movement, prayer groups, and serves as a minister for the Divorce Support Group. Keeping active and staying mentally busy is one of God’s blessings for Jody. Because of some medical problems, she does spend down time, resting and rejuvenating her strength. By reading and reviewing, Jody hopes to continue to rejuvenate her mind as well.

Book Reviews by Jody Rakis

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Synergy

SYNERGY a love story both spiritual and human.  It is the story of the relationship between a priest and a nun.  The author introduces to the reader our spiritual relationship and our human relationship.  It delves into which is stronger, which do we follow.  I found this book to be a very pleasant surprise, better than what I was expecting. 

The story has two main characters, plus a few other characters who are cleverly described and add humor and enjoyment to the storyline. 

Father Sal is a middle aged priest, disillusioned with his present assignment under a bishop wh...

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Annabelle of Anchony: Burdens of the Mind

Annabelle of Anchony is the story of a young girl’s struggle to survive, to return to her family in Anchony. Anchony is the town she lived in with her family prior to being kidnapped by Demolites, an anti-religious group determined to overthrow the king and the people who follow with him the Catholic religion during the High Middle Ages. Annabelle was only 5 years old when she was kidnapped.

The author Ruth Apollonia brings the Catholic religion, its faith, its sacraments, prayers, angels and miracles to life in this story. Annabelle is on an island, hiding in a cave from the Demolites who ...

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The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch is the story of ten children, ignored, abused, handed off to others to raise, and lost from their respective parents. They all end up placed in a foster home called Sunshine Ranch, owned by a Catholic couple, Martha and David Credence.  Mr. Jones, lovingly called “Bones,” helps out the family and the farm.

The author describes each character with such love and truth that the reader comes to know them and love each of them. Benedict is the first of the children introduced, and the story follows his troubles from one home to another, and how he is able to deal ...

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Inspired: The Casebook of Will Day

As suggested by the title, this is a casebook.  Not really complete stories, they are enough to tweak the reader’s interest, to make the reader’s mind start to put pieces together.  The author leaves out the obvious and sometimes the ‘not so obvious’.   When I started reading the book, I was not prepared to concentrate, to do my own detective work; I was expecting to read and follow the clues to the ending.   That is not, however, how this fictional log of cases works and where they lead the reader.

Will Day is a detective known by his reputation as someone...

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The Rebellion

This book intrigued me, it inspired me to pray more, and it gave me pleasure while reading it.  Author Kenneth E. Nowell’s second book in The Trials and Triumph Trilogy puts all the pieces together.  It makes you yearn for the third book.  The fictional story of the last days before the Coming of Christ is the story line.  But it is backed up by footnotes that are real.  The quotes and ideas in his story come from our religion and what we have learned, seen, believed and read in scripture.

The author writes a very suspenseful story of evil and the rebellion that we read about in ...

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The Priest and the Peaches

The novel, The Priest and the Peaches, is the story of five children left to manage on their own. It is a story about love and blind faith. A faith that was taught to them by their parents and by their priest. It is a faith that a lot of us have lost. The children carry on as best they can, with the expectation that all things will be alright. I laughed, I cried and then I laughed and cried at the same time. I have not enjoyed read...

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Tristan's Travels

Tristan’s Travels is written for young adults. It’s the story of a seagull who thinks of himself as part chicken since he was adopted by a hen when he was young. He had been hit by an airplane propeller while flying and now is afraid to try flying again. He has learned the art of reading and talking from two explorers, Lewis and Clark, that were stranded during the winter months near the mouth of the Columbia...

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Sons of Cain

Sons of Cain is Catholic fiction that completely fills that title. An ancient group of twelve unspeakably powerful men are prepared to implement mass suicide in the United States. Already in control of the Congress and the Presidency, all that they lack is the Supreme Court. The only thing standing between these "Sons of Cain" and the lives of the Court judges is a small group of dedicated warriors. Wealthy ex SEAL, Nick Rieper, and his dozen, Knights of Longinus, may be the most deadly strike force alive. They have pledged their lives, their fortunes and their honor t...

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Pope Bob

Pope Bob was a difficult story to get into. To me, the scenario was just not a believable situation. My brain did not accept it as ever being a possibility. But I kept reading…and the characters, one at a time, brought me into the story. Each character is so well developed and true to the meaning and soul of the story that they are easy to believe in and understand. Their relationship with each other brings the story to its full achievement.

Could a modern day, highly intelligent priest, educated in theology and philosophy, who has risen to the summit of the world’s oldest, strongest reli...

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Return of the Children

This book was written for a specific reason. To touch our hearts. To put an end to abortion. It is many stories in one about the return of unwanted babies to earth to their mothers and fathers to give them a second chance at love from their child, and from God. He is so willing to help parents find the love of their child that he sends the babies, teens and older unwanted children back to earth to meet up with their parents and pray for their acceptance. Some are met with tears of love and acceptance; some parents are still in denial and cannot accept God’s forgiveness. Each story is unique.

The boo...

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Tara's Journal

This book was a complete, pleasurable surprise. I normally would not intentionally look for a story about Satan or Demons. Looking at the cover and reading excerpts about the world of angels and demons, led me to the wrong conclusions.

This book is brilliantly written, letting the reader actually believe the descriptions of the battle between good and Evil. The fall of angels, the mighty war between Michael the Archangel and Lucifer is continued. They are there to influence our decisions. Could our struggles in life actually be these two struggling for control of our soul? A little girl, Maria, so loving, pu...

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City of Refuge: A Biblical Novel of the Ancient Past

The City of Refuge is in the land of the Israelites. It is a safe-haven to run to when accusers threaten your life and no one will listen or believe what really happened. The characters come to life for the reader and take them back in time through the ages to the land and tribes of Israel. Valerie Farber enables the reader to follow the characters through their family lives, the customs of their religion and what they faced from ignoring those traditions, and mixing among the idol worshipers of Baal.

The story is touching. A young daughter of the village priest is confined by her father's re...

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The Third Testament

The novel The Third Testament is the story of one man, Fred Sankt, living a good life, remembering his beloved wife, who has died of Melanoma. He has a daughter , Ellen, that he is very close to and so very proud of her energy and values as a young woman. She is the joy of his life, but he lives alone and nights are lonesome. Their faith and love is strong enough to carry father and daughter through life’s more trying moments.  But when Ellen is diagnosed with Melanoma he faces despair that tries to bring him down. But prayer is his salvation. Their friends’ loyalty and love help them as they s...

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A Time To...

The novel, A TIME TO…, by Ronald Louis Peterson, is a special look at life and the people God places there to help us as we grow in faith, hope, love and charity.

The story begins at the World Trade Center on 9/11. It takes Al Masterson, an employee caught in the disaster of that day, on a flash-back journey through his life. These show good people, people that hurt us, happy events and those events that change us. Al is caught in this dream-like trance not knowing why these events are the ones he is remembering. The story shows how we need to trust God and give life a chance to grow, to b...

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The Cloak and the Parchments

The novel, The Cloak and the Parchments by Frank Spinella, is a wonderful journey. Not only is it the journey of Mark and Timothy to see Paul, who is imprisoned in Rome, it is an enjoyable journey in understanding faith for the reader. It is the story of the Gospel of Mark.

As I began reading, I found I was re-reading many paragraphs to make sure I didn’t miss any meaning of what the two disciples were discussing. Mark, a follower of Paul and Timothy, trying to understand the mysteries of the faith, one who did not witness Jesus (except for one dark night as a child), has doubts about why s...

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Until I Return

After finishing Kenneth Nowell's apocalyptic thriller Until I Return, I looked back and felt it was a very complex story. The content is very involved as a suspense novel should be. It is very faith-based and inspirational in many areas; but it is also suspenseful and disturbing at times. Good and evil play equal rolls in the book, and maybe that is my problem with wanting good to always be stronger.

The author does an excellent job with footnotes and references, which makes it easy to check on text that you might want to understand more fully or learn more about. Yet this in no way takes away from ...

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Epiphany

Epiphany is the story of three wise men, but not like you have ever imagined them. Paul Harrington has brought them to life with passion as they make their journey throughout the novel. They are the Arabian, kind and thoughtful. The Oriental, small, wise and quick witted. And the strong, dark fighter from Ethiopia, a loner. Each one so different from the next. They travel alone, distinct, and yet, through the magic of the star, with one purpose. The star is alive, compelling and full of God’s strength as it leads them they know not where.

The scenes come to life and you feel what is happeni...

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Dear and Glorious Physician

I first read Dear and Glorious Physician, Taylor Caldwell's biographical novel about St. Luke, approximately thirty years ago. It left me in awe. It inspired me to want to read more, anything that could help fulfill the need to increase my closeness and knowledge of God. I felt St. Luke come to life. His faith was so strong as he faced overwhelming obstacles. His feelings of total devotion were something I had never heard of or felt. So, when I recently saw the book advertised in paperback on a Catholic website, I immediately ordered it. Would it be as captivating as I remembered it to be? Would it rekindle...

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Sign-up for this free weekly e-newsletter and receive the free article - "What is Catholic Fiction?" Read the weekly column The Catholic Imagination and You and more.