Review: Annelies by David R. Gilliam

A different take on a familiar story…

We all know the heartbreaking, inspiring story of young Anne Frank. But what if her story had taken a different turn? What if, instead of perishing at Bergen-Belsen, she had made it out alive? This newest tale from David R. Gillam imagines just that.

She would almost certainly reunite with her beloved father who actually did survive. As the sole living members of their family, they’d only have each other. Maybe they’d fall back into their routines, working at the family business. Maybe Anne would pick up where she left off, taking up her writing once again. But it’s just as likely that too many things would have changed, made them all different people.

There are many things to like about this story. It’s full of historical accuracies making it highly believable. It also makes you wonder what might have been…

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Annelies

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Review: Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden

What a wild and intense story! I mean seriously. This poor girl jumps off a stagecoach and is immediately swept up and taken to her wedding, but she had no idea! She thought she was coming to Savage Wells to be a nurse, not a wife. Talk about miscommunication.

Gideon is plain tuckered out. He’s the only doctor for Savage Wells and all the towns around it. He has no one to help him so that’s why he requested a mail ordered bride, who is also a nurse. But somehow wires were crossed and only the nurse was delivered.

Miriam is hiding a secret. One that I never even thought of! But it’s not a surprise how people treated others back in those days. I loved her. She was so strong, even in the face of everything she’s had to endure. So when she’s allowed to stay on as a nurse instead of a wife, she thinks things are starting to look up. But when her secret is discovered, she must face her greatest fear head on. But luckily she’s not alone anymore.

As I’ve said numerous times before, I love these Proper Romances. They’re super sweet and innocent and they make the story the most important part, not the romance. That being said, I adored watching these two dance around each other. Shyness turned to jokes, which turned to soft touches and then BAM. A perfect sweet romance. On a side note, I am hoping for a certain US Marshal to get his own story. There just HAS to be a perfect girl for him!

~Melpomene

Buy Healing Hearts https://amzn.to/2sAUl8b

Review: What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

The wind and water know all the earth’s secrets. They’ve seen and heard all that has ever been said or done. And if you listen, they will tell you all the stories and sing every song.

From the moment I read the prologue I knew this story was going to hit me harder than any other book I’ve read lately. And I was so right. In fact, I’m pretty sure this story was written just for me. There are small details that connect me and I can’t even explain what that feels like. I know it sounds silly, but it’s true.

Without giving away spoilers I will just say this, at 10% I started to cry and I didn’t know why. I was noticing things that had me breathless and speechless. Even as I’m typing now, there are tears in my eyes. The talk of the past and how these people are no longer with us always makes my heart clinch. Anne discovers things that she never knew, but yet, she always knew.

This story is rich in history and romance and I was swept away. What the Wind Knows had an Outlander feel to it, due to the time traveling, but it was so much more than that. This book was so rich in history, I felt like I was there. The people were real, as were their struggles. My heart broke when theirs did.

The romance between Anne and Thomas made me swoon and cry. I’m not even kidding. When I say I was crying, I mean I was CRYING. I woke up one morning at 4:30 to finish it. And by the time I was done, my pillow was soaked and my eyes were red and puffy. I was breathless and overwhelmed by every word I was reading. I may never recover.

“My love is so big and full and brimming that I can’t breathe around it. It’s terrifying to love so much, knowing how fragile our existence really is. You’re going to have to hold on to me, or I’ll burst…or maybe I’ll just float away. Up into the sky, out into the louch.”

~Melpomene

Buy What the Wind Knows https://amzn.to/2SXtmQ4

Review: The Reckoning by John Grisham

It’s been a very long time since I’d read a John Grisham novel. His stories used to be a staple of my TBR list but then for some reason they dropped off my radar. Too many books, too little time I guess. The description of this one greatly intrigued me, though…

It starts with a murder, seemingly pointless. When Pete Banning, a local war hero and town icon, murders a local preacher the town is shocked. Loyalties are divided as the trial nears and eventually concludes. Of course, nothing is ever as it seems. But there are secrets that Pete is not willing to tell, even if those secrets save his life.

Lots of pros and a few cons with this one for me. It’s a great story, full of fascinating characters. And it’s historical fiction set in the WWII era which is one of my favorite genres. Grisham is a master story teller, weaving a story so deep and complex that you just feel yourself being drawn in. There were a few “not so positives” for me. The wartime scenes were more drawn out and detailed than I would have liked, and I didn’t feel they added much to the primary story. And a couple of unanswered questions at the end which always bugs me. Still, this one was a strong four stars for me.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Reckoning

Review:The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

Don’t let that gorgeous cover fool you. This a super creepy and crazy book. But in all good ways. After my daughter and I read The Beast is an Animal, we knew that whatever Peternelle wrote we wanted to read it. So when I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of The Cold is in Her Bones I was through the roof with excitement. And to find out it has a Medusa feel, well then SIGN ME UP.

Milla has been raised in a far off house, away from the towns. She’s not allowed to go anywhere and is raised to be a helper of those who are older than her. She always seemed to do the wrong things and upsetting her parents. When a new girl arrives at a neighbors house she finds hope. Hope of a friend and maybe even a sister. But Iris is keeping a secret from Milla, in the hopes that will keep her safe.

But of course that doesn’t last.

The towns that Milla has been forbidden to go to, have been plagued by demons. Demons possess the girls so Iris and Milla were assumed to be safe since they were far. You know what they say about assuming…

When Iris is “infected” and is sent away, Milla is determined to find her and bring her back home. Her journey is one of self discovery. She isn’t as safe from the demon as she hoped, but for the love of her sister of her heart she is willing to travel far and wide and find a way to save them both. Friendship and familial love was a thread woven throughout this story. Milla broke free from what was expected from her in order to find her own way and take charge of her own life. There were trials and struggles but for love you’d go through anything. Even face a demon.

Girls who run from what frightens them don’t get what they want.

As I was reading this, I kept thinking of my own daughter. She’s the strongest girl I know. She won’t let anyone control her or hold her back. She wants to try everything and if mistakes are made, she owns them and learns from them. And since she LOVED The Beast is an Animal, I know she will love this as well. I can’t wait for her to read it!

~Melpomene

Buy The Cold is in Her Bones https://amzn.to/2BMziUv

Review: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Vivid, magical and EPIC!! That was the best way to end this most amazing trilogy. My heart was racing all throughout this entire book.

Vasya is determined to save her country by uniting them and showing them that there is way to be together and allow everyone their own religious freedoms. When we thought she was strong in the previous books, this is nothing compared to those.

She lives up to the prophecy. She makes allies with those who wouldn’t normally work together. As it’s said in the book, she’s a bridge between men and chyerti. The magic is failing as those stop believing in spirits. I loved watching her. She has the power to change things and she does.

No spoilers but this book was probably 10 times as exciting as the first two books. I couldn’t put it down. As I type this out, I’m awaiting Urania’s excited reactions. It’s her influence that gave me the nudge to dive into these books. I owe her.

There is a smidgen more of romance in this one but it’s very much on the back burner. I actually find myself not even looking for it. It’s just a bonus. But love, familial or romantic, is definitely a strong motivator to get things accomplished. But I will say that I’ve had my eye on Morozko since the first book and I’m happy to see him live up to my expectations.

“Love is for those who know the griefs of time, for it goes hand in hand with loss. An eternity, so burdened, would be a torment.”

Let the book hangover begin…

~Melpomene
Buy The Winter of the Witch https://amzn.to/2QksNlT

Review: The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham

Just when I think I’ve read every possible historical fiction angle on the WWII era, that there can’t possibly be another tale to tell, a new one comes along and knocks my socks off.

Labeled a traitor, young Anke has been placed in one of Nazi Germany’s camps. She uses her skills as a midwife to help women around her, providing what comfort she can. But when word of her skill reaches higher up, she finds herself being placed in a most unlikely situation. Her services are needed to serve the cause and the Fuhrer himself. You see, there’s a baby on the way. And this baby is very important to the Nazi future.

Of course she doesn’t want to do it, but her survival instincts kick in not only for herself but for her family back in the camps. And at the heart of it all, she’s a midwife. So this is what she does.

This book…is so many things. It’s historical and a love story and a story of friendship and hope and so much more. If you’re a fan of the genre, don’t pass this one up!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The German Midwife