The Night Train to Berlin by Melanie Hudson ~ 5⭐

Genre: Historical Fiction and Romance ~ Release Date: January 25, 2022

REVIEW: The Night Train To Berlin by Melanie Hudson was a captivating novel. I have not read any other books by this author but, discovered I do have one of her books in my library. It is just a matter of time before I read more from Ms. Hudson. This book was enough to wet my whistle and I look forward to more of her writings.

I love Historical Fiction and this one was in my Wheelhouse. I like the mood of the book. This author picked up on the songs of the time period, the travel by train and all men and women wanted to do their part in war effort of WWII. There was more pulling together and sacrifice back then. Gas, food and many other things were rationed. Sliced bread was banned by our government for a time because we needed steel for the war. They soon found out that banning sliced bread didn’t help the steel supply all that much. You’ve heard of the saying “Just like sliced bread”? That is where it came from!

I enjoyed the two time periods. One was during the war and the other one is modern day. The main character during the war years was Eliza and she was a war artist that would paint her views of the war in the front lines. She was also a Red Cross nurse. The modern character was Ellie and she has a congenital heart problem that kept her from living the life of a normal young adult. There is a love story in each time period. I fell into rooting for the characters and hoping they would find each other and live happily ever after. I enjoyed these characters and the men that enter their lives. They had very different obsticles to overcome in both timelines.

If you like Historical Fiction and don’t like World War books, you might like this book. It is not a heavy war story. The modern timeline helps that a lot. I encourage you to give this book a shot. 

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SYNOPSIS: The most heartbreaking historical fiction novel you will read this year from the USA Today bestseller!

A train journey into the past
A love that echoes through time

Paddington Station, present day

A young woman boards the sleeper train to Cornwall with only a beautiful emerald silk evening dress and an old, well-read diary full of sketches. Ellie Nightingale is a shy violinist who plays like her heart is broken. But when she meets fellow passenger Joe she feels like she has been given that rarest of gifts…a second chance.

Paddington Station, 1944

Beneath the shadow of the war which rages across Europe, Alex and Eliza meet by chance. She is a gutsy painter desperate to get to the frontline as a war artist and he is a wounded RAF pilot now commissioned as a war correspondent. With time slipping away they make only one promise: to meet in Berlin when this is all over. But this is a time when promises are hard to keep, and hope is all you can hold in your heart.

From a hidden Cornish cove to the blood-soaked beaches of Normandy in June 1944, this is an epic love story like no other. Perfect for fans of Pam Jenoff, Kate Quinn, Rachel Hore and Kate Furnivall.

Someone Else’s Child by Alison Ragsdale ~ 5⭐

Genre: Contemporary Literature ~ Release Date: January 21, 2022

REVIEW: Oh my. All of the feelings I have swimming through my heart is unbelievable! Someone Else’s Child by Alison Ragsdale will do that to you too. I am not sure how you can read a book like this and not have a ton of connection to it. If you live long enough you will have experienced many of the emotions this book brings about. Some will be with fond memories and some will bring you sadness. 

Alison has done it again. She has brought us a book that allows us to fall in love with a beautiful family that experiences heartbreak and brokeness. You absolutely can’t read this book and not have your heart break with sadness and swell with happiness. Alison’s writing is stunning and the chances of falling in love with these characters is 100 percent. I could feel the love and the anguish, the hope and joy that each one of the characters experienced. 

If you love a good story for nothing more that what it is, you will love this book. It is definitely worth the time reading it. It was so powerful and emotional, I could hardly put it down to go to sleep. If you have read and enjoyed other Alison Ragsdale books, you definitely want to pick up a copy of this book. Someone Else’s Child is not to be missed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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SYNOPSIS: The first time I saw you, I knew you were meant to be ours. I took you in my arms, your little hands in tight fists, and I knew I was going to do everything in my power to be the mother you needed and deserved…

When Catriona loses her baby girl at birth, it shatters her. But like a light in the darkness, Catriona is given the chance to adopt beautiful baby April, and now she cannot imagine life without her.

The family’s picture-perfect home is filled every day with April’s warm giggles and joyful games. But when her daughter is just eight years old, Catriona gets the call that she has been silently dreading. April’s birth mother, Lauren, would like to meet her.

Lauren breezes into their home and April just sparkles around her. Their matching turquoise eyes and chestnut hair feels like a knife to Catriona’s heart. Lauren appears to have her life back on track, with a good job and a new house in an upscale neighbourhood. Pushing to spend more and more time with April, one day Lauren says the unthinkable: April belongs with me.

Who can truly give the little girl the love and family she deserves? Catriona is sure Lauren is keeping secrets. Catriona only wants what is best for her darling daughter, but does that really mean she has to let her go forever?

A totally unforgettable, emotional, and beautiful novel that will break your heart into a million pieces and put it back together again. Powerful and ultimately uplifting, fans of Kate Hewitt, Jodi Picoult and Diane Chamberlain will be captivated.

The Saints of Swallow Hill by Donna Everhart ~ 5⭐

Genre: Southern Historical Fiction ~ Release Date: January 25, 2022

REVIEW: I totally enjoyed The Saints of Swallow Hill by Donna Everhart. My first book of hers was The Moonshiner’s Daughter. These books were similar in that they took place in a time period of the past and not the present. The characters were not wealthy. They were on the poor side and doing what needed to be done to survive. I think that helps brings out emotion and grabs your attention.

The majority of this book took place at a turpentine camp in the south. I’ve read of other work camps where folks went to work to earn a living for their families during the depression. The sad part is they are most often paid in scripts which is only accepted at the company store. So, you can already guess that they don’t make enough and wind up in a hole they will never get out of. I am not sure how our government let that happen. Their earnings had the housing cost deducted as they had to pay to live in the shacks. My heart broke for the people that felt they had nowhere else to turn and were taken advantage of.

Donna Everhart brings out the feel of the time, being caught in a vicious cycle they will never get out of. If they leave the camp in the middle of the night or sneak off without paying, they are hunted down for stealing. They were often killed and if they didn’t meet quotas, they were punished. It was a very hard life.

I was involved with these characters and what they went through to survive. I’ve heard stories all of my life about the hard times my own family went through during the depression. I think they were lucky to be able to live with other family and pool their resources to eat and keep a roof over their heads. Some people were not that fortunate.

If you enjoy reading about other time periods and other ways of life, you will enjoy this book. Donna has a way of writing that lets you get into the time period, the location and the characters lives. Her writing flows so well that you find yourself falling into the dialect and understanding it without any problems. I highly recommend this book. It will definitely make you count your blessings.

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SYNOPSIS: Where the Crawdads Sing meets The Four Winds as award-winning author Donna Everhart immerses readers in a unique settinga turpentine camp buried deep in the vast pine forests of Georgia during the Great Depression—for a captivating story of friendship, survival, and three vagabonds’ intersecting lives…

It takes courage to save yourself…

In the dense pine forests of North Carolina, turpentiners labor, hacking into tree trunks to draw out the sticky sap that gives the Tar Heel State its nickname, and hauling the resin to stills to be refined. Among them is Rae Lynn Cobb and her husband, Warren, who run a small turpentine farm together.

Though the work is hard and often dangerous, Rae Lynn, who spent her childhood in an orphanage, is thankful for it–and for her kind if careless husband. When Warren falls victim to his own negligence, Rae Lynn undertakes a desperate act of mercy. To keep herself from jail, she disguises herself as a man named “Ray” and heads to the only place she can think of that might offer anonymity–a turpentine camp in Georgia named Swallow Hill.

Swallow Hill is no easy haven. The camp is isolated and squalid, and commissary owner Otis Riddle takes out his frustrations on his browbeaten wife, Cornelia. Although Rae Lynn works tirelessly, she becomes a target for Crow, the ever-watchful woods rider who checks each laborer’s tally. Delwood Reese, who’s come to Swallow Hill hoping for his own redemption, offers “Ray” a small measure of protection, and is determined to improve their conditions. As Rae Lynn forges a deeper friendship with both Del and Cornelia, she begins to envision a path out of the camp. But she will have to come to terms with her past, with all its pain and beauty, before she can open herself to a new life and seize the chance to begin again.

“Fans of Sarah Addison Allen won’t be able to put it down.” – Booklist

Under a Sky of Memories by Soraya M. Lane ~ 5⭐

Genre: Historical Fiction ~ Release: January 11, 2022

REVIEW: A new and outstanding book by one of my favorite authors Soraya M. Lane is Under a Sky of Memories. I read almost any fiction genre and have my favorite top two or three authors in each one. Soraya is on the top of my list for Historical Fiction. She is again one of those authors that I don’t even have to know what the book is about before I jump right in and start reading. She is outstanding.

The first book I read of hers was The Last Correspondent. I didn’t think I would like a book about a female War Correspondent. I didn’t think I wanted to be that close to war and all that comes with it. What I found out is this author  hones in on the human aspects of the war. We learn what the characters are going through mentally, the toll the war is taking on them and their loved ones and how it affects the country that is involved in the war in the setting of the book. I have learned a lot about WWII while reading her books. The human side of the war. It is not always the easiest way to learn about war. Human emotions are complicated and hits you in your heart. For me? That’s where it counts.

This book is not different. It is about three woment that sign up to be trained as nurses who will be part of a team that will transport wounded men from the front lines to a hospital that can save their lives. We saved many men’s lives by changing over to a system allowing them to get the treatment they would need to survive their injuries. These women were in a plane that crashed on the Albanian shore. They were stranded there and we follow them and all of the collegues with them in their fight for survival.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from #AmazonPublishing via #Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. 

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SYNOPSIS: From the bestselling author of The Last Correspondent comes the powerful story of three brave women who go to war—and end up fighting for their lives.

Sicily, 1943. Three American women, all nurses in the Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron, are determined to do all they can for their country. Vita is fun-loving, Dot shy and sweet-natured, and Evelyn practical and determined, but for all their differences, a life of military service pulls the three together as firm friends.

When they’re selected for a daring mission, the women are proud to play their part. But disaster strikes when their plane crash-lands behind enemy lines in occupied Albania. Together with twenty-three other medics, they find themselves trapped, cut off from all communication with the squadron, and in terrifying and unimaginable danger.

As days and nights pass without hope of rescue, the group must travel on foot across unfamiliar terrain thick with Nazis and their violent local allies. Can Evelyn, Vita, and Dot survive the perilous journey through enemy territory—and finally find their way home?

To Love and Be Loved by Amanda Prowse ~ 5⭐

Genre: British Fiction ~ Release Date: January 11, 2022

REVIEW: Do you sometimes find you need a good cry? If you do, check out the new book To Love and Be Loved by Amanda Prowse. I really loved this book. I laughed and I cried many times. This book will require a box of tissues next to you as you read because you will find you can’t see the page any longer through the tears. There were so many things to love about this book. Let me tell you about some of them.

The characters were absolutely fabulous! I wanted to know everyone. Heather and Ben are Merrin’s parents. They are salt of the earth. Her older sister is Ruby and her best friend is Bella. Her Gran lives next door. They are such a lovely family. There is great love between the parents and something we all strive for in our lives. There is a little sibling rivalry between the sisters but, Ruby will stand up for little sister Merrin. For the most part this family is pretty near perfect. 

They live near the sea in Port Charles in Cornwall, England. Who wouldn’t want to live right on the beach. This is family property and the Kellow’s have been a part of the community for years. The description of the area will take your breath away. I want to live there! It sounds like perfection. At least perfection for a small town. As you know, in a small town everybody knows your business.

The wisdom imparted in this book is something I never want to forget. All of us have been quoted little sayings and quips from our parents and Grandparents. With this family being from Cornwall, they have some unique words of wisdom. 

I have loved every book I’ve picked up to read by Amanda Prowse and this one is not any different. She has a way with words and promotes love the way it should be. It is probably the best one I’ve read by her. If you are a fan or you have never read one of her books, I urge you to read this one and see if you love it as much as I do. Let me know what you think. I’d love to discuss it with you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from #LakeUnionPublishing via #Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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SYNOPSIS: In this life-affirming tale from bestselling author Amanda Prowse, one woman built a new life to escape her humiliation. Now, can she put the shame behind her and finally find happiness?

Young and desperately in love, Merrin had the whole world ahead of her. But just as her new life was about to start, the ground beneath her feet was cruelly swept away. Devastated by the humiliation, she ran far away from the beloved fishing village she had always called home to lick her wounds and escape her gossiping friends and neighbours.

It hasn’t been easy, but six years later Merrin has forged a new life for herself far from the sea, burying the impulsive girl she once was. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to return to the village she swore she’d never set foot in again.

Reluctantly back in the arms of her community, Merrin begins to realise what she’s been missing out on all these years. As she begins to remember the person she used to be, she is forced to make choices about her future, and to question the past. What does she want from her life? Who is important to her? Who is to blame for everything that went wrong? And can she forgive them, let old wounds heal and finally be her true self again?


The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain ~ 4⭐⭐⭐⭐

Historical Fiction ~ Release Date: January 11, 2022

REVIEW: My last book for 2021 was The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain. I finished it New Years Eve before I went to sleep which was before midnight. I’ve read one or two other books by her and really enjoyed them. This one was good but, I don’t think it had the wow factor and maybe the author intended it that way.

This book took place in two different time periods. One was in 1965 and one of the main characters was common to both time periods and stories. Her name was Ellie. Back in 1965 she was from an influential family in a small town in North Carolina. Her father was the Pharmacist in town and owned a drug store. Ellie wanted to volunteer with a group called SCOPE. It stood for Summer Community Organization and Political Education. Their purpose was to take racism out of politics. President Lyndon B. Johnson was suppose to sign the Voting Rights Bill Act which would allow folks to vote without passing a reading test among other things. Ellie wanted to volunteer to work in the black communities to educated and urge more blacks to register to vote. Her parents were against it because she would be canvassing and living in the poor black communities. The other time period was in 2010. Ellie has returned to her hometown to take care of her mother and her brother. The land around the home where she was raised has been sold off to a developer to build a new neighborhood. Kayla and her husband bought the lot at the end of the street to build their dream home. Strange things begin to happen to her family and home. Kayla eventually meets Ellie. The chapters of the two time periods rotate back and forth. 

I like both time periods but, I think both of them fell a little short. Let me tell you why.

The time period of 1965 is one I remember well. I was almost 11 years old that summer. I remember moving from North Dakota to Florida a few years earlier. On that trip I remember the first signs that warned Negroes were not allowed to use white restrooms, drink out of the water fountains or eat in the restaurants. As a young child, I did not understand that and remembered asking my mother about it. Ellie had the same feelings I did. I think this was a great story but, would have been just as great on its own.

I felt the time period taking place in 2010 was trying to be Psychological Suspense. So many freaky things started happening to Kayla. I think this coulld have been a story developed into a novel of its own. I understand how they both tie into each other and it could have been an outstanding book. It was good but, I just think it fell a little flat. The 1965 era was an important one and frankly, I think we still have a long way to go. I think this book could have presented that in an easily digestible fashion. Diane Chamberlain has important things to say in this book but, stopped a little bit short.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from #StMartinsPress via #Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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SYNOPSIS: A community’s past sins rise to the surface in New York Times bestselling author Diane Chamberlain’s The Last House on the Street when two women, a generation apart, find themselves bound by tragedy and an unsolved, decades-old mystery.


Growing up in the well-to-do town of Round Hill, North Carolina, Ellie Hockley was raised to be a certain type of proper Southern lady. Enrolled in college and all but engaged to a bank manager, Ellie isn’t as committed to her expected future as her family believes. She’s chosen to spend her summer break as a volunteer helping to register black voters. But as Ellie follows her ideals fighting for the civil rights of the marginalized, her scandalized parents scorn her efforts, and her neighbors reveal their prejudices. And when she loses her heart to a fellow volunteer, Ellie discovers the frightening true nature of the people living in Round Hill.


Architect Kayla Carter and her husband designed a beautiful house for themselves in Round Hill’s new development, Shadow Ridge Estates. It was supposed to be a home where they could raise their three-year-old daughter and grow old together. Instead, it’s the place where Kayla’s husband died in an accident—a fact known to a mysterious woman who warns Kayla against moving in. The woods and lake behind the property are reputed to be haunted, and the new home has been targeted by vandals leaving threatening notes. And Kayla’s neighbor Ellie Hockley is harboring long buried secrets about the dark history of the land where her house was built.

Two women. Two stories. Both on a collision course with the truth–no matter what that truth may bring to light–in Diane Chamberlain’s riveting, powerful novel about the search for justice.