Tag Archives: WWII

Top 10 Tuesday — Shelf-ish Organization

31 Jan

Happy Tuesday! Today is a Freebie day for Top 10 Tuesday. I am going completely random today with fiction chosen from the shelves in my house — as opposed to those on my NetGalley shelf and Kindle. 😉 I organize my shelves in a way that makes sense to me. Fiction is organized by genre and then alphabetically by author. I keep series in order of publication. If it’s Biblical or historical fiction, I organize chronologically and by location (example: European vs American. Old Testament and then New Testament). And then there is my Austen knock-off shelf which contains a variety of genres, but all tie into one of Austen’s novels. That’s alphabetically by author. I even have a shelf for signed books. So if I am in the mood for a mystery, I know which shelf to head to.

Confusing? Probably, but it works for me. At least I don’t divide my mystery into historical or cozy, etc. I’m not that obsessive or am I?

I am.

In the spirit of transparency, the books represented today are on shelves at my primary residence. We have a house in the woods that boasts a very small library. That’s where it really gets tick-y. That’s where the mass market cozy mysteries reside. Likewise, all the Grishams. Then there’s my husband’s western fiction, the American historical fiction/non-fiction that revolve around major events. Think Revolutionary War, Pearl Harbor, etc. I have a shelf for veterinary fiction. Yes that’s a thing. Small town fiction like Jan Karon. A shelf where humorous fiction (P.G. Wodehouse) coexists with short story collections. And last but not least, the shelf with North Georgia authors. Too much? LOL!

Enjoy my random and complicated system!

For more freebie fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Random Books from My Shelves

Austen Variations (or knock-offs) Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

Autographed Books — The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barratt

Biblical Fiction/OT — Journey by Angela Hunt

Biblical Fiction/NT — Three from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes

Christmas Fiction — A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

Classical Fiction — Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Contemporary Fiction (including romance) — Dearest Dorothy, If Not Now, Then When by Charlene Baumbich

Historical Fiction/European — To Love A Viking by Heather Gilbert and Jen Cudmore

Historical Fiction/American — A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton

Mystery — Suspicious Minds by Christy Barritt

Suspense — Shadow of Doubt by Terri Blackstock

Speculative — The Ishbane Conspiracy by Randy Alcorn

Top 10 Tuesday — New-To-Me Authors in 2022

24 Jan

Happy Tuesday! Today bloggers are sharing new-to-them authors from 2022. I love discovering new authors. Often their books become must-reads. A few of the books may be debuts, but by and large, the authors on my list have other books to their credit. More great books to read! 😉

For more new authors, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top New-To-Me Authors in 2022

Among The Innocent by Mary Alford

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Green

Driving Force by Kate Angelo

Firefly Diaries by C. C. Warrens

Honor’s Refuge by Hallee Bridgeman

In Search of A Prince by Toni Shiloh

A Light on A Hill by Connilyn Cossette

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

Operation Joktan by Amir Tsarfati and Steve Yohn

Shadows in The Mind’s Eye by Janyre Tromp

When The Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Book Review: Within These Walls Of Sorrow

18 Jan

I visited Krakow in the spring of 2018. Poland is such a wonderful place — the people are friendly, the city is beautiful, the food is amazing. And history surrounds the visitor. We walked through the old Jewish sector which after WWII houses no Jews despite a large synagogue and vibrant Jewish and Israeli restaurants. We toured Shindler’s factory and marveled at how he saved so many people. We walked in silence through the gates of Auschwitz and among the bombed crematories of Birkenau. Our trip was memorable for many reasons, and I am very glad I was able to travel there. Then I read Within These Walls of Sorrow by Amanda Barratt. It was almost like a return visit, but this time I walked the streets of Krakow and entered the buildings of the concentration camps with friends who lived through the era and ordeal. If you are a reader, you know how characters can become real, and, yes, like cherished friends. This book is amazing and very highly recommended.

“This tense WWII historical from Barratt (My Dearest Dietrich) follows a woman’s efforts to help her neighbors survive the Kraków ghetto. . . . Moving and effective, this inspirational finds light in the darkest of places.”–Publishers Weekly


Zosia Lewandowska knows the brutal realities of war all too well. Within weeks of Germany’s invasion of her Polish homeland, she lost the man she loves. As ghetto walls rise and the occupiers tighten their grip on the city of Krakow, Zosia joins pharmacist Tadeusz Pankiewicz and his staff in the heart of the Krakow ghetto as they risk their lives to aid the Jewish people trapped by Nazi oppression. 

Hania Silverman’s carefree girlhood is shattered as her family is forced into the ghetto. Struggling to survive in a world hemmed in by walls and rife with cruelty and despair, she encounters Zosia, her former neighbor, at the pharmacy. As deportation winnow the ghetto’s population and snatch those she holds dear, Hania’s natural resiliency is exhausted by reality. 
Zodia and Hania’s lives intertwine as they face the griefs and fears thrust upon them by war, until one day, they are forced to make a desperate choice . . . one that will inexorably bind them together, even as they are torn apart. 

Amanda Barratt’s meticulous research and lush, award-winning writing shine once again in this moving look at a group of unsung heroes who fought for hope and humanity in the most harrowing of times. 

ECPA best-selling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story—a spin-off of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes romantic, historical fiction, penning stories of beauty and brokenness set against the backdrop of bygone eras not so very different from our own. She’s the author of over a dozen novels and novellas including The White Rose Resists: A Novel of the German Students Who Defied Hitler and My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love.

Amanda lives in the woods of Michigan with her family, where she can be found reading way too many books, plotting her next novel, and jotting down imaginary travel itineraries for her dream vacation to Europe.

Connect with her on Facebook and visit her online at amandabarratt.net.

My Impressions:

I can start off by saying that Within These Walls of Sorrow by Amanda Barratt is one of the best books I have ever read. Not an exaggeration, this novel is so well-researched that the time and place of the book came to life for me. A few years ago I visited Krakow, the setting of the book, and this novel brought back all those images and memories. But this time I felt like I lived alongside the characters. That’s an amazing thing to experience, but also heartbreaking because of the subject matter — the Krakow Ghetto and the Nazi plans for exterminating the Jews. The author details this honestly and realistically. I admit I had to pause my reading in order not to be overcome by the cruelty depicted. Yet, Barratt shines a light in all the darkness with her characters’ love and sacrifice and their faltering, yet continuing faith. The historical detail is key to the novel, but the characterization is what makes this book a 5-star. Many historical figures make their appearances on the pages, including the owner and employees of the Pharmacy Under The Eagle, the Polish-owned pharmacy the Nazi’s uncharacteristically let continue within the walls of Krakow’s ghetto. But the two mains, Zosia and Hania, are fictional, although influenced by the those who lived during these dark days. I won’t go into those things that the characters faced, but just say that the indomitable spirit that helped them survive is a testament to the real people they are based upon. The novel takes the reader from the early days of the Nazi occupation with the beginnings of persecution, through the increasing danger and the plans the Nazi put in place, to the aftermath of the war when those who survived are faced with living with extreme losses and their own futures. Within These Walls of Sorrow will make you think all along the way — would I have succumbed to despair, would I have rallied to face death with dignity, would I have turned a blind eye to what other people were going through? Long after the last page was turned, I continued to ask myself questions that examined what I believe and what I live.

Within These Walls of Sorrow is a must-read. Be prepared to be shocked, but also be prepared to be changed. I also recommend you read this book with someone — you will need to talk about it.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Kregel for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Happy Release Day — Within These Walls Of Sorrow

17 Jan

It’s release day for Within These Walls of Sorrow by Amanda Barratt. This WWII-era novel is a moving tribute to the love and sacrifice of ordinary people who are placed in horrifying situations. This was a hard book to read because of the subject matter, but well worth it. Masterfully written depicting the time of German occupation of Krakow, it will definitely make my best of the best list this year. I very highly recommend it! And now it is finally available — make sure you get your copy now!


“This tense WWII historical from Barratt (My Dearest Dietrich) follows a woman’s efforts to help her neighbors survive the Kraków ghetto. . . . Moving and effective, this inspirational finds light in the darkest of places.”–Publishers Weekly


Zosia Lewandowska knows the brutal realities of war all too well. Within weeks of Germany’s invasion of her Polish homeland, she lost the man she loves. As ghetto walls rise and the occupiers tighten their grip on the city of Krakow, Zosia joins pharmacist Tadeusz Pankiewicz and his staff in the heart of the Krakow ghetto as they risk their lives to aid the Jewish people trapped by Nazi oppression. 

Hania Silverman’s carefree girlhood is shattered as her family is forced into the ghetto. Struggling to survive in a world hemmed in by walls and rife with cruelty and despair, she encounters Zosia, her former neighbor, at the pharmacy. As deportation winnow the ghetto’s population and snatch those she holds dear, Hania’s natural resiliency is exhausted by reality. 
Zodia and Hania’s lives intertwine as they face the griefs and fears thrust upon them by war, until one day, they are forced to make a desperate choice . . . one that will inexorably bind them together, even as they are torn apart. 

Amanda Barratt’s meticulous research and lush, award-winning writing shine once again in this moving look at a group of unsung heroes who fought for hope and humanity in the most harrowing of times. 

To purchase, click HERE.

ECPA best-selling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story—a spin-off of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes romantic, historical fiction, penning stories of beauty and brokenness set against the backdrop of bygone eras not so very different from our own. She’s the author of over a dozen novels and novellas including The White Rose Resists: A Novel of the German Students Who Defied Hitler and My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love.

Amanda lives in the woods of Michigan with her family, where she can be found reading way too many books, plotting her next novel, and jotting down imaginary travel itineraries for her dream vacation to Europe.

Connect with her on Facebook and visit her online at amandabarratt.net.

Top 10 Tuesday — Top Anticipated Books From New-To-Me Authors

10 Jan

Happy Tuesday! I was a bit stumped with today’s TTT prompt. Not that I don’t have plenty of books that I am anticipating. But I have already covered this topic in some form or fashion in the past month or so. I don’t want to bore everyone by repeating myself again and again. So I decided to look for books that are from new-to-me authors, those whose books I have yet to read for one reason or another, but that I need to read if you know what I mean! Some are upcoming releases; some have been in the book world for a little while. Some are from never before discovered authors; others from authors I know I need to read. I was astounded by the book choices that now populate my gargantuan TBR list. Help me now!

For more bloggers’ anticipatory lists, go to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Anticipated Books from New-To-Me Authors

The Antiquity Affair by Lee Kelly and Jennifer Thorne

Two estranged sisters must band together to solve a puzzle three millennia in the making in this female-heroine take on Indiana Jones.

1907: The dawn of Egyptology is a time of imperialism and plunder, opulence and unrest, and Dr. Warren Ford, esteemed archaeologist, is the man of the hour. His daughters—prim intellectual Lila, on the eve of her debut as a Manhattan socialite, and doting nonconformist Tess, who dreams of following in his footsteps—have always lived their lives in the shadow of their famous father’s exploits. But when a secretive organization becomes intent on finding a lost artifact legendary for its dangerous power, it isn’t Dr. Ford they turn their sights on—it’s his two remarkable daughters.

Tess and Lila called themselves The Fearless Fords in their childhood, dreaming of daring international adventures together, but the sisters have barely spoken for years. Presented now with a grand adventure and a puzzle that will require all their wits, the two women face a choice. Will they follow the clues fast enough to win the ultimate prize? Or will they prove clever enough to change the game entirely?

The Antiquity Affair is a high stakes trans-Atlantic thrill ride, with the page-turning excitement and romance of classic adventure novels and a poignant story of sisterhood at its core—all the messy and beautiful truths of what it means to be family.

Bastille Day by Gregory Garrett

Veteran TV journalist Calvin Jones travels to Paris, where he negotiates love, friendship, and despair in award-winning novelist Greg Garrett’s Bastille Day.

With brilliant pacing and gorgeous prose, acclaimed novelist Greg Garrett tells the story of American TV journalist Calvin Jones, who travels to Paris to work with a producer friend he knows from their dark days covering the war in Iraq.

Cal Jones has had a quiet ten years, by design. After surviving the loss of two people he loved in the Iraq war, which he covered as a national correspondent, he fell apart and retreated to a local news job in Texas. Cal is still wrestling with those old demons when he goes to Paris to work with an old friend and encounters Nadia, a brilliant, lovely, and sad Saudi Muslim woman in Paris with plans to wed a Saudi sheikh in a family-arranged marriage.

Against his own better judgment, Cal falls for Nadia, even dragging her from the Seine when she attempts to solve her insoluble problem by taking her own life. He begins to risk a heart he thought was too badly broken to ever love again, and as the wedding ticks closer, to hope that perhaps Nadia can make a choice that includes him. Then their time rescuing each other is interrupted by the terror attack in Nice, which Cal is called out to cover. Back in that setting, Cal is thrown back into the memories of senseless violence and extremism that shattered him in Iraq—and that threaten to shatter him and his hopes now.

Garrett’s characters wrestle with the ghosts of their pasts, as they long for love, friendship, and faith in the present. Bastille Day is a gloriously-affecting novel about how our histories can damage us, but hope can heal us.

Beneath His Silence by Hannah Linder

Will Seeking Justice Lead to Her Own Demise?
 
A Gothic-Style Regency Romance from a Promising Young Author
 
Second daughter of a baron—and a little on the mischievous side—Ella Pemberton is no governess. But the pretense is a necessity if she ever wishes to get inside of Wyckhorn Manor and attain the truth. Exposing the man who killed her sister is all that matters.
 
Lord Sedgewick knows there’s blood on his hands. Lies have been conceived, then more lies, but the price of truth would be too great. All he has left now is his son—and his hatred. Yet as the charming governess invades his home, his safe cocoon of bitterness begins to tear away.
 
Could Ella, despite the lingering questions of his guilt, fall in love with such a man? Or is she falling prey to him—just as her dead sister?

Bless Your Heart, Rae Sutton by Susannah Lewis

Sometimes what your life is missing is an eccentric group of older ladies to take you under their wing?.?.?. 

When Rae Sutton’s mama passes away and leaves her the house where she grew up, Rae can’t imagine how the little old place might restore her broken life. Mourning the recent loss of her marriage, she takes the house and settles back into her tiny hometown with her fourteen-year-old daughter, Molly Margaret, and their overweight dog. 

There she’s embraced by her mother’s close-knit circle of friends, the Third Thursday ladies. Though almost half their age and far less confident of positive outcomes, Rae joins their ministry-slash-book-club-slash-gossip circle and allows the women to speak wry honesty and witty humor into her tired heart. As a new career and a new romance bring their own complications, Rae relies on the unlikely family she’s found and begins to wonder if her future holds more hope than she ever could have imagined. 

The Call of The Wrens by Jenni L. Walsh

The Call of the Wrens introduces the little-known story of the daring women who rode through war-torn Europe carrying secrets on their shoulders.

An orphan who spent her youth without a true home, Marion Hoxton found in the Great War something other than destruction. She discovered a chance to belong. As a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service—the Wrens—Marion gained sisters. She found purpose in her work as a motorcycle dispatch rider assigned to train and deliver carrier pigeons to the front line. And despite the constant threat of danger, she and her childhood friend Eddie began to dream of a future together. Until the battle that changed everything.

Now twenty years later, another war has broken out across Europe, calling Marion to return to the fight. Meanwhile others, like twenty-year-old society girl Evelyn Fairchild, hear the call for the first time. For Evelyn, serving in the war is a way to prove herself after a childhood fraught with surgeries and limitations from a disability. The re-formation of the Wrens as World War II rages is the perfect opportunity to make a difference in the world at seventy miles per hour.

Told in alternating narratives that converge in a single life-changing moment, The Call of the Wrens is a vivid, emotional saga of love, secrets, and resilience—and the knowledge that the future will always belong to the brave souls who fight for it.

A Cry in The Dark by Jessica Patch

Deep in the Kentucky hills, three women have been found brutalized and murdered.
But the folks in Night Holler have their own ways and their own laws.
And they’re not talking…

Led to an isolated Appalachian Mountain town by a trail of disturbing murders, FBI special agent Violet Rainwater’s determined to catch a serial killer with a twisted agenda. With locals refusing to reveal their secrets, Violet’s only ally is Detective John Orlando. But even John has an ulterior motive—he’s convinced this case is connected to his wife’s murder. 

As they dig deeper, Violet uncovers a link to her own unresolved past. For years she’s worked the cold case of her mother’s abduction, which had led to her birth. The need to look into the eyes of the sinful man who fathered her consumes Violet. Until she can, she’ll never have peace. Because she’s terrified she might be exactly like him.

In this chilling novel, when the present collides with Violet’s mysterious past and John’s tragic loss, they must unravel the warped, sinuous connections before the killer strikes again. But solving the case might not be nearly as terrifying as the possibility that Violet’s finally found her roots…

Hardly Any Shooting Stars Left by B. K. Froman

A captivating tale of humor and mystery by an award-winning author.

After her father’s death, a creative, free-spirited young woman plans to leave her Oregon ranch and hometown of busybodies. But she didn’t count on a corpse in her shop—or murder. Forced to create friendships with strange, crabby, or too-helpful neighbors, she must face a murder charge and confront aching childhood memories in a town and a life stuck in the past.

Lexi DePriest has always been a loner with a sharp wit and lack of concern about fitting in. If she could quickly sell the family ranch—her father’s life’s work—she’d get out of the Oregon valley, but life has never been easy.

When her crackpot neighbor shoots the drone she uses to check fences and cattle, a battle begins. Nosy eyes in the tiny community are watching, some malevolent—and dangerously nearby.

With no explanation,a man is found murdered in her shop, and the trust she’s built in herself and with a few townsfolk unravels. It takes a crabby school secretary and a Scottish welder to secretly examine murder suspects. The investigation gives her a rare choice to fit in to the home where she’s always lived—but will she choose community, family, or herself?

Indigo Isle by T. I. Lowe

“Storms show up and there ain’t a thing we can do to stop them.”

Sonny Bates left South Carolina fifteen years ago and never looked back. Now she’s a successful Hollywood location scout who travels the world, finding perfect places for movie shoots. Home is wherever she lands, and between her busy schedule and dealing with her boss’s demands, she has little time to think about the past . . . until her latest gig lands her a stone’s throw from everything she left behind.

Searching off the coast of Charleston for a secluded site to film a key scene, Sonny wanders onto a private barrier island and encounters its reclusive owner, known by locals as the Monster of Indigo Isle. What she finds is a man much more complex than the myth.

Once a successful New York attorney, Hudson Renfrow’s grief has exiled him to his island for several years. He spends his days alone, tending his fields of indigo, then making indigo dye―and he has no interest in serving the intrusive needs of a film company or yielding to Sonny’s determined curiosity. But when a hurricane makes landfall on the Carolina coast, stranding them together, an unlikely friendship forms between the two damaged souls. Soon the gruff exterior Hudson has long hidden behind crumbles―exposing the tender part of him that’s desperate for forgiveness and a second chance.

A story of hanging on and letting go, of redemption and reconciliation, and of a love that heals the deepest wounds, from the author of the breakout Southern fiction bestseller Under the Magnolias.

The Unhiding of Elijah Campbell by Kelly Flanagan

Elijah Campbell is on the verge of losing his writing career, his faith, and his marriage when a recurring childhood nightmare drives him back to his hometown, Bradford’s Ferry. There, his encounters with loved ones both past and present shed light on the reason his wife left him—and the meaning of his nightmare. However, beyond the light he begins to glimpse something even more terrifying—a decision he must make either to continue hiding the secrets of his past or unhide the only thing that can save his marriage: himself.

In psychologist Kelly Flanagan’s nonfiction works (Loveable, True Companions), he drew from clinical insight to explore the spiritual depths of identity and relationships. Now, in this debut novel, he weaves a compelling and plot-twisting tale that brings new life to those insights, along with fresh revelations about personal growth, spiritual transformation, and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships.

Top 10 Tuesday — The Best of 2022

3 Jan

Today’s post is a look back at the best books I read in 2022. I read a lot of great books, so this post was hard to write. How do you distill down to just 10 books out of 80+? I gave it a go, using my rating system to search for those that could be included on my list. The genres vary, but all are outstanding. I hope you find one to love too.

For more bloggers’ lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Best Books Read in 2022

All That It Takes by Nicole Deese

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Lady’s Mine by Francine Rivers

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells

When The Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer

When We Were Young And Brave by Hazel Gaynor

Best Book of The Year

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Top 10 Tuesday — Most Recent Additions To The NetGalley Shelf

27 Dec

Despite my TTT post last week listing all of the books I would love to have Santa pre-order, I have yet to receive them. My immediate family hasn’t had Christmas together yet, but I don’t anticipate any book gifts in my future. Most of them think I have enough books already. 😉 But I have been diligently adding to my NetGalley shelf and those are the books I am spotlighting today. I have quite the range of great books. Hope you find one to love!

For more book shelf additions, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Ten Most Recent Additions to My NetGalley Shelf

Body of Evidence by Irene Hannon

Broker of Lies by Steven James

The Cairo Curse by Pepper Basham

Daughter of Eden by Jill Eileen Smith

The Metropolitan Affair by Jocelyn Green

A Novel Proposal by Denise Hunter

The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin

The Weight of Air by Kimberly Duffy

What Happens Next by Christina Suzann Nelson

The Year of Jubilee by Cindy Morgan

First Line Friday — Within These Walls of Sorrow

16 Dec

Happy Friday! Last week I was lamenting my lack of Christmas preparedness. Well, I have almost all my shopping done — just need a few more stocking stuffers — and my Christmas tree has ornaments on it. 😉 I am going to forgo baking since my husband and I will be solo for Christmas. But come New Year’s all bets are off since the whole gang will be back together to ring in 2023. So I guess I have a little reading breathing room!

One of the books calling my name is Within These Walls of Sorrow by Amanda Barratt. It is set in Krakow during WWII. I am excited for this book for a number of reasons, one of which is that my husband and I visited this magical city a few years ago. We toured the Jewish sector and Schindler’s factory while we were there. I was not acquainted with the story told in Barratt’s novel — can’t wait to find out more. Here’s the first line:

The sun shone the day I married Ryszard Lewandowski.

Zosia Lewandowska knows the brutal realities of war all too well. Within weeks of Germany’s invasion of her Polish homeland, she lost the man she loves. As ghetto walls rise and the occupiers tighten their grip on the city of Krakow, Zosia joins pharmacist Tadeusz Pankiewicz and his staff in the heart of the Krakow ghetto as they risk their lives to aid the Jewish people trapped by Nazi oppression. 

Hania Silverman’s carefree girlhood is shattered as her family is forced into the ghetto. Struggling to survive in a world hemmed in by walls and rife with cruelty and despair, she encounters Zosia, her former neighbor, at the pharmacy. As deportations winnow the ghetto’s population and snatch those she holds dear, Hania’s natural resiliency is exhausted by reality. 

Zosia and Hania’s lives intertwine as they face the griefs and fears thrust upon them by war, until one day, they are forced to make a desperate choice . . . one that will inexorably bind them together, even as they are torn apart. 

Amanda Barratt’s meticulous research and lush, award-winning writing shine once again in this moving look at a group of unsung heroes who fought for hope and humanity in the most harrowing of times. 

ECPA best-selling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story—a spin-off of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes romantic, historical fiction, penning stories of beauty and brokenness set against the backdrop of bygone eras not so very different from our own. She’s the author of over a dozen novels and novellas including The White Rose Resists: A Novel of the German Students Who Defied Hitler and My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love.

Amanda lives in the woods of Michigan with her family, where she can be found reading way too many books, plotting her next novel, and jotting down imaginary travel itineraries for her dream vacation to Europe.

Connect with her on Facebook and visit her online at amandabarratt.net.

Book Review: The Blackout Book Club

5 Dec

I really loved the WWII home front setting of The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green. The small town feel with the community coming together to do their part was a great backdrop for the stories of the four main characters. If you like WWII-era novels, give this one a look.

In 1942, an impulsive promise to her brother before he goes off to the European front puts Avis Montgomery in the unlikely position of head librarian in small-town Maine. Though she has never been much of a reader, when wartime needs threaten to close the library, she invents a book club to keep its doors open. The women she convinces to attend the first meeting couldn’t be more different–a wealthy spinster determined to aid the war effort, an exhausted mother looking for a fresh start, and a determined young war worker.

At first, the struggles of the home front are all the club members have in common, but over time, the books they choose become more than an escape from the hardships of life and the fear of the U-boat battles that rage just past their shores. As the women face personal challenges and band together in the face of danger, they find they have more in common than they think. But when their growing friendships are tested by secrets of the past and present, they must decide whether depending on each other is worth the cost.

Amy Lynn Green is a lifelong lover of books, history, and library cards. She worked in publishing for six years before writing her first historical fiction novel. She and her husband live in Minnesota, where she teaches virtual classes on marketing at writer’s conferences, engages with book clubs, and regularly encourages established and aspiring authors in their publication journeys. Connect with her on Facebook or Instagram (@amygreenbooks), or sign up for her newsletter at amygreenbooks.com to get quarterly emails filled with bookish fun.

My Impressions:

I really enjoyed The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green. How could I resist a book with a library setting and a book club element?! This WWII-era novel focuses on the home front as America enters the war. The historical details bolstered the fictional narrative bringing the time and place of small town Maine to life. The community is busy sending their men to war, while ramping up needed manufacturing, and installing military operations. It’s a time of uncertainty. The POVs of the four main characters explore the era and provide a unique perspective. But this book is more than a look at what was happening in the US during its early involvement in WWII; the four women could have lived in any era. Their struggles are universal and resonated with this reader. Bringing the four very different personalities together through a book club pleased my book-loving heart. And the fact that the books they read helped the characters to grow was a huge bonus! The book club minutes are a hoot too! (For those of you fellow book nerds, the book provides a reading list at the end 🙂 .) The characters face past regrets and present fears. I loved how the main characters, and the community as a whole, come together to lift up, encourage, and support each other — truly heartwarming and a good lesson for modern-day readers.

The Blackout Book Club is the perfect choice for your book club as well — lots of great discussion starters. I highly recommend this one!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Books With All The Feels

15 Nov

Happy Tuesday! Today I am sharing books that have ALL the feels. You know, the kind of book that grabs your heart and won’t let go. The kind of book it is sometimes awkward to read out in public. 😉 There was a particularly heart-rending Christmas book I listened to on my morning walks. If any of my neighbors happened to look out their windows as I walked by, they witnessed me laughing hysterically and crying uncontrollably all in one circuit of the neighborhood. Embarrassing! If you want a book that will create emotional havoc in your life (kidding, not kidding), take a look at my list. (It’s cool how the covers and titles compliment each other in a completely random fashion.)

For more bloggers with emotional reactions to their reading choices, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books With ALL The Feels

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

The London House by Katherine Reay

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

The Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner