Posted in Book Bestie Approved

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner @SusanMeissner @BerkleyPub #bookreview #bookbestieslastyearofthewar #thelastyearofthewar

Happy hump day book lovers!

Excited to share with you today my review for this riveting story that definitely hurt my heart! Another wonderful group read with the Besties!🦋

My Thoughts

A heartbreaking tale about the atrocities of war, and one girl who never allowed the cruelty of war to break her spirit!

It never ceases to amaze me how tragic, horrifying, and devastating war is! This was my very first book from Susan Meissner, but will definitely not be my last! This book completely captivated me, I was fully invested in the lives of all these characters from first page to last. I did have prior knowledge of the Japanese internment camps during WWII, however I did not realize that we also sent Germans to these camps. I also did not realize that we sent German people living in America back to Germany in the midst of war, that is truly horrifying! This is really a part of our history that we as Americans seem to avoid acknowledging. It certainly does not appear to be in any history book I’ve ever seen? OK I just asked my kids and they do teach it now, however back in the day when I was in school this was not ever brought up, so that’s something. It is definitely a dark time in our country‘s history. This is one of the reasons why I love books so much, they always have something to teach you. More times than not they give you a little nugget of knowledge to walk away with that you didn’t already possess.

Elise is an American citizen, born in America and has lived in America her entire life. her parents are legal residence of the United States, however her father is falsely thought to be a Nazi sympathizer and ultimately the family is sent to an internment camp in Texas. While at the internment camp Elise befriends a Japanese American girl, Mariko. The girls form a tight bond and it is this friendship and the hopes and dreams that come from it that will help Elise through the toughest and darkest of days. When Elise‘s family is sent back to Germany to endure the last year of the war. It is the hope that she will one day be reunited with her friend in America that Elise clings to like a lifeline. And over 70 years later Elise still clings to the bond that ultimately leads to the friends reunion.

Elise really completely stole my heart in this book. She was a brave, smart, resourceful young lady, with a strong spirit. Her story was so disturbing and devastating, it definitely broke my spirit at times. I really loved the friendship between Elise and Mariko, but I have to say my one complaint about the book is that we did not see what happened to Mariko after the internment camp. Maybe this is in a future book? I guess I felt so much was made out of this friendship and then it just wasn’t there anymore? It was almost as though Elise was hanging onto a ghost. However this did not hinder my enjoyment of this book. Although it is hard to say I enjoyed a book that was so real and raw and at times depressing. War is brutal and this book really brought that to life.

A riveting story about an exceptional girl Who grows into a remarkable woman, who I will not soon forget! Absolutely recommend!

*** many thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943–aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.

The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences. 

The Besties

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Holly @ Dressed to Read

💕💕 Be sure to check out all the Besties’ reviews!

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray @BerkleyPub #bookreview #bookbestiescareandfeedingofravenouslyhungrygirls #thecareandfeedingofravenouslyhungrygirls

Happy hump day bibliophiles!

Today I have another impactful and emotional book to share with you! This was another group read with the Besties and we all give it our seal of approval!💕

My Thoughts

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Wow! This book was thick with dysfunction, grief, guilt, and love!

When I finish this book I did not know what to think, I was emotionally exhausted and I needed to let this book simmer for a while. I needed to process the pain and the emotion I had just experienced. Anissa Gray has written one heck of a dark evocative and emotional debut! This book was so real, so raw, so uncomfortable, and yet so exquisite! It was a book I needed to take a few steps away from to truly appreciate, I needed to separate myself from these characters to find the true beauty in these words.

The Butler family truly brings dysfunction to new heights. Every time I turned a page in this book I was drawn further into this family’s misfortune and pain. Not going to lie the darkness was a bit overwhelming for me at times and I think that is why I needed this book to sit with me before I could truly appreciate it. This is the story of sisters Althea, viola, and Lillian. Althea who became the matriarch of the family after the sister’s mother passed is in trouble. Althea and her husband Proctor have been found guilty of embezzlement a crime that the sisters and the entire community are shocked by. Viola and Lillian rally to take care of Altheas twin girls Kim and baby Vi. This was one complicated story with multiple layers and many secrets. A Family broken trying to come together and pick up the pieces.

All these characters were flawed and not necessarily likable, but they sure were real. Althea was very difficult for me to understand as a mother, but I did like how as the story went along we got to see a softer side of her (sort of). Lillian and viola were really so full of love and yet so broken. During the course of the story they really found their strength and voice, it gave me hope for a better healthier future for these ladies. Their brother Joe on the other hand…

A powerful debut packed with emotion sorrow and hope! Absolutely recommend!

🎵🎵🎵 Song Running Through My Head

Seems like it was yesterday when I saw your face
You told me how proud you were, but I walked away
If only I knew what I know today
Ooh, ooh
I would hold you in my arms
I would take the pain away
Thank you for all you’ve done
Forgive all your mistakes
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do
To hear your voice again
Sometimes I wanna call you
But I know you won’t be there
Ohh I’m sorry for blaming you
For everything I just couldn’t do
And I’ve hurt myself by hurting you
Some days I feel broke inside but I won’t admit
Sometimes I just wanna hide ’cause it’s you I miss
And it’s so hard to say goodbye
When it comes to this
Would you tell me I was wrong?
Would you help understand?
Are you looking down upon me?
Are you proud of who I am?
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do
To have…

*** many thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

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About the Book

in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you.

The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.

Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important. 

The Besties

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Kendall

💕 Be sure to visit the other Bestie blogs!

Let’s Connect

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Have a lovely day!🌹

Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman @alysonrichman @BerkleyPub #bookbestiessecretofclouds #bookreview #thesecretofclouds

Happy Tuesday bibliophiles!

Excited and delighted to share with you my review for this beautiful story that I will not soon forget! This was a group read with all the Besties and we all loved it! I seriously still have a book hangover from this one!💕☁️

My Thoughts

A stunning story that enveloped me completely and pulled at my heartstrings!

Every once in a while when you finish a book you know it’s going to stick with you for a long time, this was one of those books. There was just something about this story that touched me deeply, and I really can’t put my finger on it. Perhaps it was the fact that this is a beautiful love story and tribute to teachers everywhere, my mother was a teacher, my daughter is in school now to be a teacher, they hold a special place in my heart. Or perhaps it was watching Katya and Sasha’s emotional struggle dealing with a sick child Yuri. It could have even been Yuri’s incredible passion for baseball, a game he himself will never be able to play. Regardless of what it was that completely captivated me, this was one lovely and emotional story!

Maggie is excited for the start of the school year when her principal reaches out and asks if she would be willing to tutor a boy who cannot come to school due to illness. At first Maggie is a bit hesitant afraid it might dredge up some old ghostss, but Maggie has too much compassion not to help a child in need. In the beginning Yuri was not receptive at all to Maggie, until they bonded over baseball. We also got a glimpse of Katya and Sasha’s lives in the Ukraine. Katya was a ballerina and Sasha an engineer, they both were in the Ukraine for the Chernobyl disaster. Their guilt over it perhaps being there exposure to nuclear power leading to Yuri’s heart defect was palpable. This story was also peppered throughout with family, food, romance, friendship, Art, and the violin.

Yuri really stole the show and my heart in this book. There was just something so innocent yet so wise about him, and I loved his bond and relationship with his parents, Maggie, and Finn. The mom in me could not help but put myself in Katya’s shoes and the human in me could not help but put myself in Maggie’s, I felt this emotional journey with the hearts of both these wonderful ladies. Maggie was such an energetic passionate teacher I enjoyed every minute I spend with her in the classroom and out. Katya was such a lovely loving mother and I loved that we got to see pieces of her past. Sasha was a remarkable man and husband, and I found it interesting how differently these two dealt with their son’s illness. There’s a part in the story regarding an assignment and letters that will make your heart both sing and cry. I could go on and on, but I will spare you all! Just read it!

Beautiful, evocative, and emotional, absolutely recommend!

🎵🎵🎵Song Running Through My Head

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
Moons and Junes and ferries wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way
But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away
I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really…

*** many thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

From the #1 international bestselling author of The Lost Wife and The Velvet Hours comes an emotionally charged story about a mother’s love, a teacher’s promise, and a child’s heart…

Katya, a rising ballerina, and Sasha, a graduate student, are young and in love when an unexpected tragedy befalls their native Kiev. Years later, after the couple has safely emigrated to America the consequences of this incident cause their son, Yuri, to be born with a rare health condition that isolates him from other children. Maggie, a passionate and dedicated teacher agrees to tutor Yuri at his home, even though she is haunted by her own painful childhood memories. As the two forge a deep and soulful connection, Yuri’s boundless curiosity and unique wisdom inspires Maggie to make difficult changes in her own life. And she’ll never realize just how strong Yuri has made her — until she needs that strength the most…

A novel that will make readers examine what it means to live life with a full heart. 

The Besties

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Mackenzie @ Phdiva

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Kendall

💕Be sure to check out all the Bestie book love!

Let’s Connect!

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Goodreads|

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Have a Beautiful day!☁️✨

Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

Breach by W L Goodwater @BerkleyPub #6bookbestiesbreach #bookreview

Happy Thursday everybody!

Bringing you my review today for another group read this time with my Besties Mackenzie and Jennifer💕 We all took a little detour from our usual reeds and read this very interesting alternate history with a splash of magic!✨✨

Breach by W L Goodwater

My Thoughts

This was an interesting story of alternate history laced with magic…

This is definitely not my usual read, but it was a nice change of pace… as a child of the 70s and 80s and with a father who worked in aerospace I was always well aware of the Cold War… in fact after the age of 10 I was not allowed to go inside my father’s work, in case I were a Russian spy not even sure if I’m allowed to say this… They might have to kill me😉

This book was set after WWII in Germany, it took me a while to figure out exactly when this book took place… I’m not even sure how important this is? But because this is not my usual genre I was a little fixated on it…. so sometime after WWII and the Berlin wall being erected… but this is no ordinary wall, it is a wall built of magic…. it is a wall that is hiding something and keeping the peace…. without this wall there is a chance of a possible WWIII… kind of tough to wrap your head around, especially when you witnessed the wall coming down and thought of it as being a triumphant moment…

The female protagonist in this book was fantastic, a woman fighting her way in a man’s world…. really liked Karen and I was a little frustrated when the story switched to someoneelse’s point of view… I truly would have been happy had the story Ben told Soli from her viewpoint… The magic was fascinating, however I would’ve liked a little more information on the magic system… but seeing as though the characters themselves weren’t entirely clear on the magic, I guess it is understandable that I wasn’t either…. The last 25% of this book was pretty much nonstop action with lots of magic, and the ending…. a bit of a cliffy…..

All in all a good book a definite detour from my regular reads….

*** many thanks to the team at Berkley Publishing for bringing this book to my attention and for the copy ***

Be sure to check out Jennifer and Kenzie’s reviews!

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

About the Book

AFTER THE WAR, THE WALL BROUGHT AN UNEASY PEACE.

When Soviet magicians conjured an arcane Wall to blockade occupied Berlin, the world was outraged but let it stand for the sake of peace. Now after 10 years of fighting with spies instead of spells, the CIA has discovered the unthinkable:

THE WALL IS FAILING.

While refugees and soldiers mass along the border, operatives from East and West converge on the most dangerous city in the world to stop or take advantage of the crisis.

Karen, a young magician with the American Office of Magical Research and Deployment, is sent to investigate the breach in the Wall and see if it can be reversed. Instead she will discover that the truth is elusive in this divided city, and that even magic itself has its own agenda.

BECAUSE THE REAL PURPOSE OF THE WALL IS ABOUT TO BE REVEALED. 

GET A COPY

Book friends are the best friends! Berit☀️✨