book · reviews

Those Who Save Us- book review

Last night I finished the book Those Who Save Us, by Jenna Blum. I really enjoyed this historical fiction brings the travesties of WWII together with the effect that it had/has on those who lived through it.

Trudy is a History Professor specializing in Germany History. She teaches her students about the women who lived in Germany during the rein of Hitler. What drives her to do this? The search to find the truth about her own past.

Trudie, as she was known as a child, was born in Germany during WWII. Anna, Trudie’s mother, fled from her home when her father found out she was pregnant with Trudie. Anna moved into the local bakery and helped the baker in exchange for room and board for herself and eventually for her daughter Trudie.

Anna makes many choices during the 3 years she in Trudie live together in the bakery. Many of these decisions effect her relationship with her daughter as well as the way she feels about herself. At the end of the war, Anna marries a US soldier and moves to Minnesota.

While growing up Anna tells Trudie that she must forget all she remembers about her time in Germany. Anna will not tell Trudy anything about her past.

Now as an adult Trudy decides to take on a research project through the unversity where she interviews Germans who lived in Germany during World War II. She is searching to find out how they feel about that time and the effect it has had on their lives. Or is what she is really searching for the truth about her own past?

This book was very moving. There were many times where I had to put it down and others I didn’t want to put it down. The interviews that are accounted in the story show such diverse stories of how the people in Germany got by during this difficult time in history.

If you enjoy historical fiction about World War II, as well as gaining a better understanding of mother/daughter relationships, I encourage you to check out Those Who Save Us


**this post contains associate links, please read my disclosure statement**

book · life · reviews · Uncategorized

Beach Rental book review and rambles

Happy Friday Eve!

This has been such a strange week for me. I posted a bit about it yesterday. On top of all the crazy busy of the boys’ schedules, Richard had 2 days of meetings. For his job when they have these big meetings where people travel in from other states it means full days of meetings followed up by dinner and/or drinks. This means he leaves the house at 7:20am to drive the boys to the bus stop and then didn’t arrive home until around 10pm. I’m not sure how he does it! At least it’s done now, and everything went as smoothly as he hoped it would.

I just finished reading another book on my Kindle Paperwhite E-reader . One of the biggest perks of reading on the Kindle is the free books I can get with out prime membership. On Monday, I posted about Coming to Rosemont: The First Novel in the Rosemont Series which I also got for free. I guess this is another bonus to having a prime membership even if the price is going up! I love the free shipping, we have a Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player which is ALWAYS on playing music in the background of our life. I had to laugh yesterday listening to the boys request music on Alexa, we went from We Didn’t Start the Fire to Laughter In The Rain then Wake Me up Before You Go-Go. My sons have always had an eclectic variety of music they listen to, but it just seems to shine through more lately. Some of their favorite stations to listen to are Pop For Cooking, ’70s Light Pop Perfection, ’80s Pop for Runners and those are just a few that they pick. I find it crazy that they know the names of the songs as well as who sings the song. Me, well I could sing the whole song for you but couldn’t fathom to tell you the facts about the song. Oh well, guess I’ll never go on a music game show, but they can!

Today I finished reading Beach Rental (Large Print) (Emerald Isle, NC Stories) (Volume 1), but Grace Greene. I felt like I read this book really fast, but that maybe because I’m finally back to only reading one book at a time. I read all three of the Harry Potter books one after the other and then I was reading a book and an e-book at the same time while adjusting to reading on the Kindle. Beach Rental was the first book in forever that I read both during the day and at night. So I felt like I flew through the book. I was able to get this book free through my prime membership, notice a trend her?

Juli Cooke’s life has never been easy. She bounced around in the foster care system as a child and has worked hard as an adult to keep her nose clean and a roof over her head. She works at a grocery store during the day and picks up jobs with caters at night for extra cash.

One night while working as a server for a lavish party, her life takes a very unexpected twist. She meets Ben Bradshaw at that party and he turns her life on its ear with the proposal of marriage. Ben is dying and realizes he wants someone in his life to keep him company. He offers Juli a financial freedom for her friendship, that may or may not turn into more over time. Juli agrees with this arrangement, but finds more opposition from Ben’s family than she was prepared to deal with. Ben’s cousin and business partner Luke, noticed Juli at the same party and had a preconceived notion of who she was and what her motives really were. When Ben’s sudden death changes everything, Juli and Luke are forced to work together to settle the estate and so much more.

Read what happens in this unique love story that shows that often times love pops up in the most unusual places.

** This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure statement**

book · reviews

The Night The Lights Went Out– Book review

What’s better than one book review in a day???? How about two? Click here to see the first one I did today!

I finished the book I was reading upstairs this week too. The Night the Lights Went Out, by Karen White is a contemporary novel. I love the description on the back of the book that says “…. it touches all the bases of a chick-lit thriller…”

This is the story of Merilee who is recently divorced who moves into Sweet Apple, Georgia. There she rents a house on the property of Sugar Prescott, the towns matriarch. Sugar is known to be aloof and a bit odd, but she hits it off with Merilee. Sugar sees a lot of herself in Merilee and begins to open up and share stores with her that she has not shared with anyone.

Merilee’s children are attending a private school, where Merilee meets Heather the queen bee of the community. Heather brings Merilee into her circle and encourages her daughter to befriend Lily, Merilee’s daughter.

As the story progresses, Merilee finds out that a blogger from the town is writing about not only the town and southern sayings, but also about Merilee and her life. She doesn’t know how to feel about this but since she is trying to keep her head above water and deal with all the drama of life.

As you read through the story, you hear more about the drama of Sugar’s life of the past. You read the many blog posts that show a different side of small town drama anddddd the real dramas of a small town. There is so much more to share, but I can’t without telling you too much.

I highly recommend this book. It is a perfect summer read. It is the type of book that keeps you thinking and makes you want to not put down the book. Read and find out what happens The Night the Lights Went Out.

** Product links included, please read my disclosure statement**

book · reviews

Coming to Rosemont- book review

The first book I read on my Kindle Paperwhite E-reader – Black, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers was Coming to Rosemont: The First Novel in the Rosemont Series, by Barbara Hinske.

Maggie Martin’s husband dies suddenly, but this was just the beginning of the changes in her life. Upon his death Maggie discovers that the life she was living the last few years was not the life she wanted to live. After discovering that her husband was involved in a variety of elicit activities she also discovers that he inherited a house in the serene Mid-Western town of Westbury.

Maggie headed to Westbury to meet with a real estate agent to put the house, known as Rosemont for sale. When Maggie arrives there she discovers more that just a house. She finds home. Maggie then decides to sell her house in CA and move to Westbury.  What she doesn’t know is that this quiet majestic town has a secret or two of its own.

This is a great fast paced novel that is realistic and modern. It is a great story about a strong female who learns so much more about herself and what she is capable of doing. This is also the first book in series, so if you are like me and hate when a book ends… then this is a great book because you can read more in the second book: Weaving the Strands: The Second Novel in the Rosemont Series. I know I will.

**This post contains product links, please read my disclosure statement**

book · reviews

Snowfall at Willow Lake– book review

I just got back from a 2 mile walk in the neighborhood. I needed to go put something in the mailbox, we have central mailboxes not ones at each house, so I decided to take a real walk. I love the fact that I can get a good walk in right in my neighborhood and I don’t even have to walk the same route each time or walk in circles to get a decent distance in.

I could take this walk because spring has finally arrived. It is so nice to have the windows open. We have turned off the heat and don’t need to turn on the A/C yet so that will save on the gas and electric bill… that is always a good thing!

Yesterday while the boys were playing on the PS4 and Richard was building his workbench, which is almost finished, I decided to get my book from upstairs and finish it off. I have been reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban downstairs. I have been enjoying this trip back to Hogwarts that I decided to take. I also like having a book downstairs that I can read. I need something that I can put down at any time. I need something that will hold my attention, but not enrapture me so much that I loose track of time. AND most important, I need a book that has the qualities that I try to pick out in the books the boys read. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught them reading over my shoulder… some adult books are still very much not appropriate for them, and I don’t read smut books.

Anyway,…. I finished reading Snowfall at Willow Lake, by Susan Wiggs. This book is part of a series, but I’ve never read any of the other books in the series, at least I don’t think I have. My mom brought this book to me on her last trip up to PA.

Sophie Bellamy would appear to have everything someone could want in life. She worked in Hague as an international attorney. She dedicated her life to helping others. But, when life took a turn and she found herself in a hostage situation, she realized that the life she was leading was missing one big piece, her children.

Sophie decided then and there to move back to the United States, into the town where her children lived with her ex-husband and his new wife, and her whole family. This transition won’t be easy, and not even close to smooth, but she needs to put her life into a new perspective.

Life decides to throw her one more curve ball when she crashes her car the night she arrives in Avalon. Noah Shepherd, the local veterinarian came to her rescue that night. Read to find out if Sophie can mend her relationship with her son Max and daughter Daisy. How will she adjust to being a grandmother to her grandson Charlie? Can she live in a small town filled with her ex-husband’s family and new wife’s family? What will come about in meeting Noah Shepherd?

I just started reading my next book last night and I’m already enjoying it. Maybe I should take it outside and read it in the sunshine? What are you reading? Where is your favorite place to read? Do you read one book at a time or multiple?

–This link contains affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you anything extra if you purchase an item through these links, and I get a little extra to help. Please read my disclosure statement.  Thanks!–


book · reviews · through my camera lens

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


Yesterday I finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This time, I read the illustrated version. Santa has been bringing these versions to the boys the last few years.

Harry Potter is one of those series that people either love or hate. People have either read all the books or none of them. This is a series that crosses age and interest levels. It is an easy read since it is written on a young adult level.

The illustrated version is fantastic. I loved the details of the illustrations. It was enough to help you visualize the story pieces, but not so much that it would interfere with you creating your own images in your brain.

These photos do not do the book justice, but it does give you a glimpse into it. Yes, I know this version is expensive, but if you are a Harry Potter fan, or know one…. it is so worth it!

I started re-reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets today, this time the illustrated version. I will again just read this book in the afternoons when the boys are doing their homework. It is a nice break at that time of the day and if I have to stop it isn’t a big deal as I’ve already read the whole series.


book · reviews

a piece of the world– book review

Last night I finished reading the book A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline.  This is the author of Orphan Train which I have already read and loved (sorry I read it before I began blogging so there is not a blog review to link)

A Piece of the World is historical fiction based on the life of Christina Olson. Christina spends her whole life in her own small piece of the world. She spends her whole life on her family farm in rural Maine. The book is told from Christina’s point of view telling the story of when she met Andrew Wyeth, an artist who decided to spend time at Christina’s farm during the summers, using Christina’s farm and life for inspiration for his paintings.

Through the book there are flashbacks to show how Christina came to spend her whole life on her farm taking care of her ailing parents. We learn about her childhood illnesses, disappointments, and failed relationships. All these factors play into the fact that Christina and her brother Al, never marry and never leave the farm.

One summer, Andrew Wyeth convinced Christina to pose for him in the field near the farm house. This painting became one of Wyeth’s most famous paintings.  When Christinasworld.jpgChristina sees the painting she realizes that the house is her home, her prison, and her life.

I did enjoy this story. It was a bit disjointed, but I enjoyed seeing the simplicity of life being portrayed as the setting and plot of a story. You see how the world changed outside the farm, but the farm and those in the farm stayed put and didn’t change with times. I found myself sympathizing with Christina at times, and other things wanting to shake her and say stand up and advocate for herself. It’s a reflection of the difference in the times between then and now.

This was an easy read that gets you thinking about life, changes and how some decisions (your own and others) can alter the directions of life. The importance of standing up for yourself and making your own path and how if you don’t… you too will be stuck in time.

*** This post contains associate links. Please read my disclosure statement. ***


book · reviews

The Identicals– book review


Last night I finished reading The Identicals, by Elin Hilderbrand. This was a much lighter departure from the last few books I have read. I always enjoy reading Elin Hilderbrand books. Elin Hilderbrand typically sets her books on Nantucket Island.

The Identicals is written about identical twin sisters, Tabitha and Harper. The unique part of this story is when their parents divorced the girls were forced to pick a parent. Tabitha went to live with their mother and Harper lived with their father. Tabitha and her mother lived on Nantucket and Harper and her father lived on Martha’s Vineyard. This put the girls 11 miles away, but it may have been across the country.

Before the divorce the girls were inseparable, but after they had little to nothing to do with each other. They lived opposite lives.

Harper is carefree and goes from job to job. She find love, but he is the married doctor who is caring for their dying father. This causes issues for her in so many ways.

Tabitha works for her mother a famous women’s clothing designer and lives in her mother’s carriage house. Tabitha is raising her teenage daughter, but that is a rocky relationship. There is a lot to Tabitha’s background that takes a woman who seems to have it all together and shows that it is all smoke and mirrors.

When Billy, the girl’s father passes away, the twins are forced back into each others lives. Then things get worse when Eleanor breaks her hip. Can the girls figure out how to live and function together, on their own islands or together on the same island? What happens when identicals are forced to deal with their past, present and future? Can they find the relationship they once had?

If you are looking for a fun, light read, this might be the book for you. I’m heading to Costco today… maybe I’ll find my next book there? If not, I plan to re-read Harry Potter. We have started collecting the fully illustrated versions and I have yet to read it in this format.

book · reviews

Lilac Girls– book review

I finished reading Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly over the weekend. I got to a point where I couldn’t put the book down.

When I started reading this book I was so emotionally overcome by the details that this book shared. I had to put the book aside once and then after picking it up again, I had to only read it during the day. But, don’t let this scare you… it is just the way I dealt with the details and information.

Lilac Girls is a story set in World War II. The story follows three leading female characters who lived in three very different worlds during this time. It shows how different this time was for the females around the world.

Caroline Ferriday was a Broadway star who now volunteers at the French consulate in New York City. Kasia Kuzmerick is a Polish teenager who is in love with Pietrik Bakoski and will follow him anywhere. Herta Oberheuser is a young doctor in Germany.

When you look at these three characters, you would never expect their paths to cross… and then there is World War II.

Caroline goes does whatever she can do to help the families and especially the children in France. She uses her influence to help those who have less. She ends up using this power and influence to help the women who were effected by the war.

Kasia get sucked into helping the resistance movement in Poland which results in her getting arrest. Not only does Kasia get arrested, but almost everyone she loves and cares about gets arrested at the same time. She find herself being shipped off to Ravensbruck, a Nazi concentration camp for women.

Herta doesn’t want to work as a dermatologist, she dreams of being a surgeon. After graduating as a doctor she struggles to find a place in Nazi Germany that will let her practice as a doctor. She answers an ad for a “government medical position” in a “reeducation camp for women”.

How these three women’s paths cross is a turn of events that will tug at every one of your heart strings. This story does not sugar coat the reality of World War II. It shows it all front and center. What is even more is that this story is based on true events. Caroline Ferriday really did perform on Broadway as well as help the “Ravensbruck rabbits”. Herta Oberheuser was a German physician who was tried for war crimes after the end of World War II. The character of Kasia is based on many of the different women who Ferriday helped after World War II.

This story, while realistic fiction is real. The narrative is embellished by the author, but the meat of the story is real.

If you enjoy learning about the past. If you enjoy reading about strong women. If you want to learn more about the time frame of World War II….. Then, Lilac Girls is the story for you.


book · Education · Uncategorized

Thank You, Mr. Falker– book review

Image result for thank you mr. falker

Today and tomorrow, I’m heading to the boys school for Read Across America Week. I’m reading to their classes. I decided to read a picture book or two. I picked Thank You, Mr. Falker since Blake’s class is reading Fish in a Tree. Both books are about dealing with reading issues. Colby’s class recently read about dyslexia as well. I’m taking a few other books with me as well. I was originally going to bring a chapter book, but it seemed strange to read a part of a chapter book, but not the whole one.

I can only hope that the kids enjoy this book. I don’t want them to think it’s young because it is a picture book. These books are written kids in 3rd-5th grade. The main character is a 5th grader. So often we forget that there are picture books made for older children. Patricia Pollacco writes many books that are geared towards an older child audience. The story of Thank You, Mr. Falker is her story. the story of how she learned to read in the 5th grade. How she learned she has dyslexia and how to live with it instead of letting it decide how she lives.

Thursday, I’m back at the boys school to help set up their book fair. I love that I can go help out at the boys school and especially when I can do something to help out the teachers.

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