Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Call of The Wrens by Jenni L. Walsh

Two women, two wars…one an orphan, one a privileged woman.

What do they have in common? 

They both wanted to join the WRENS - Women’s Royal Navy Service.

We meet Marion in 1914 as she enters an orphanage, and finally feels at home because she made a friend - Eddie. 

We meet Evelyn in 1940 who has been sheltered all her life because of a health issue.

We learn of the lives of both women as they struggle through their youth, and make the decision that they want to serve their country.

I really enjoyed Marion and Eddie’s friendship and the strength of both Marion and Evelyn.

THE CALL OF THE WRENS is an emotional, thoughtful, educational read that pulls you in with Ms. Walsh’s wonderful writing style and story line.

The book flows nicely from one time period to the next.

Historical fiction fans as well as women’s fiction fans will thoroughly enjoy this marvelous book about loyalty and friendships. 

Add it to your will love it too.  5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via a win from a TLC Book Tour Giveaway for an honest review.

Friday, December 30, 2022

SpotLight of One Visit by George Veck


A crime drama that deals with subjects like drug dealing in rural areas, county lines, familial abuse and drug addiction.

 Published on November 6, 2022




Thought-provoking, shocking, and engaging, author George Veck’s “One Visit” is a must-read crime drama. The horrors that the protagonist and his brother endure as the narrative descends further and further into chaos hone in on the growing problem of drug abuse and violence as a whole around the world, and will speak to readers on a very distinct level. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today! --Anthony Avina



In sleepy, rural North Wales, Frankie Gibbs, a recently laid off, aimless twenty-year-old on Universal Credit, wants nothing more than to keep his younger brother out of the care system. 

He single-handedly takes this upon himself while their alcoholic, cocaine-addict, single-parent father, Guy Gibbs, heaps misery on their lives through systematic abuse and his never-ending wild parties. 

After Guy is sent to prison, Frankie is coerced into opening his home to Justin, an acquaintance from his school days now turned drug dealer, while his own addiction and self-worth spiral beyond recognition.



George Veck grew up in rural North West Wales, where the hardships and lack of opportunities spurred his passion for tackling tough subjects, such as poverty, addiction and mental health. 
Currently studying a masters degree in screenwriting at the University of South Wales, he's written and directed three short films. 
One Visit was the first feature-length screenplay he ever wrote, and through the exposure of this novel, he hopes to garner interest and funding to turn it into a film one day. 
For news regarding his future novels and films, follow @vecks_gems_productions on Instagram.

Book Blogger Hop - 12/30 - 1/5


Question of the Week:
In 2022, how many books did you read? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

My Answer:

I read 107 books for 2022.

I read 105 in 2021.

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin




Two cases - one a cold case with a dead girl - one a rape case.

Both cases caused uproars in the small town of Neapolis.

The cold case caught the interest of Podcaster Rachel Krall once the victim’s sister, Hannah Still, sent her letters asking her to investigate the cold case since it was classified as an accident, but her sister knew Jenni was murdered.

Jenni Still was labeled as a nobody and the case was thrown under the rug and put out of everyone’s mind.

Some people remembered, though, as Rachel found out.

The rape case involved a prominent family.

NIGHT SWIM is intense, disturbing at times, difficult to put down, and will have you biting your nails as you hope Rachel uncovers the real truth of the cold case and the rape case gets justice.

Amazing read with secrets kept for years!! Loved it!!  5/5

My book club's choice for January 2023!!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Spotlight of The Lipstick Bureau by Michelle Gable

This December, San Diego’s New York Times bestselling author Michelle Gable (author of A Paris Apartment and The Bookseller’s Secret), brings to life an endlessly intriguing, feminist, historical fiction loosely inspired by Barbara Lauwers; a WWII novel set at OSS’s Morale Office in Rome, for fans of Kate Quinn and Erika Robuck. 
THE LIPSTICK BUREAU is about a woman challenging convention and boundaries to help win a war, no matter the cost. 
There are many similarities and biological details between Barbara Lauwers and Gable’s protagonist Niki Novotná, including various biological details and their work on projects like The League of Lonely War Women campaign, but their stories also diverge at some points as historical fiction does. 
“My goal was to bring attention to the work of Barbara Lauwers and capture the spirit of a time and a place—specifically, Rome, at the end of the war” writes Gable in her author’s note.

December 27, 2022

Graydon House Books



 “A gripping, fascinating read.” —Kelly Rimmer, New York Times bestselling author of The Warsaw Orphan



Inspired by one of the OSS’s few female operatives, Barbara Lauwers, a WWII novel set at OSS’s Morale Office in Rome, which was responsible for creating black propaganda and distributing it behind enemy lines. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookseller's Secret.

Inspired by a real-life female spy, a WWII-set novel about a woman challenging convention and boundaries to help win a war, no matter the cost.

1944, Rome. Newlywed Niki Novotná is recruited by a new American spy agency to establish a secret branch in Italy's capital. One of the OSS's few female operatives abroad and multilingual, she's tasked with crafting fake stories and distributing propaganda to lower the morale of enemy soldiers.

Despite limited resources, Niki and a scrappy team of artists, forgers and others—now nicknamed The Lipstick Bureau—find success, forming a bond amid the cobblestoned streets and storied villas of the newly liberated city. But her work is also a way to escape devastating truths about the family she left behind in Czechoslovakia and a future with her controlling American husband.

As the war drags on and the pressure intensifies, Niki begins to question the rules she's been instructed to follow, and a colleague unexpectedly captures her heart. But one step out of line, one mistake, could mean life or death…




May 1989

Washington, DC

Niki’s stomach flip-flops, and there’s a wild fluttering in her chest. You’re fine, she tells herself. In this buzzing, glittering room of some three hundred, she’s unlikely to encounter anyone she knows. Not that she’d recognize them if she did. It’s been almost forty-five years. 

“Jeez, what a turnout,” her daughter, Andrea, says as Niki takes several short inhales, trying to wrangle her breath. “Did you know this many people would show up?” 

“I had no idea what to expect,” Niki answers, and this much is true. When the invitation arrived three months ago, she’d almost pitched it straight into the trash.

You are invited

to a Black-Tie Dinner


The Ladies of the O.S.S.

The ladies of the OSS. A deceptively quaint title, like a neighborhood bridge club, or a collection of wives whose given names are not important.

“You should go,” Niki’s husband had said when she showed him the thick, ecru cardstock with its ornate engraving. “Relive your war days.”

“Manfred,” Niki had replied sternly. “Nobody wants to relive those.”

Though he’d convinced Niki to accept the invitation, it hadn’t been the hardest sell. Manfred was ill—dying, in fact, of latestage lung cancer—and Niki figured the tick mark beside “yes” was merely a way to delay a no.

The week before the event, Manfred was weaker than ever, and Niki saw her chance to back out. “I’ll just skip it,” she’d said. “This is for the best. You’d be bored out of your skull, and no one I worked with will even be there!”

Zuska,” Manfred said, using her old pet name. As always, he’d known what his wife was up to. “I want you to go. Take Andrea. She could use a night out. It’d be like a holiday for her.”

“I don’t know…” Niki demurred. Their daughter did hate to cook, and no doubt longed for a break from her two extremely pert teenagers.

“You can’t refuse,” Manfred said. “What if this ends up qualifying as my dying wish?” It was a joke, but what could Niki possibly say to that?

Now she regrets having shown Manfred the invitation and is discomfited by the scene. Niki feels naked, exposed, as though she’s wearing a transparent blouse instead of a black sparkly top with double shoulder pads.

“Do you think you’ll spot anyone you know?” Andrea asks as they wend their way through the tables, scanning for number eighteen. Every Czech native considers eighteen an auspicious number, so maybe this is a positive sign.

“It’s unlikely,” Niki says. “The dinner is honoring women, and I mostly worked with men.” Most of whom are now dead, she does not add.

Soon enough, mother and daughter find their table, and exchange greetings with the two women already seated. Niki squints at their badges and notes they worked in different theaters of operation. Onstage is a podium, behind it a screen emblazoned with O.S.S. Beneath the letters is a gold spade encircled in black.

“What a beautiful outfit!” says one of their tablemates in a tight Texas twang.

“Thank you.” Niki blushes lightly, smoothing her billowy, bright green chiffon skirt.

“You’re the prettiest one in the place,” Andrea whispers as they sit.

“What a load of shit,” Niki spits back. In this room, it’s sequins and diamonds and fur for miles. She pats Andrea’s hand. “But thank you for the compliment.” And thank God for Manfred, who’d raised their girl to treat her mother so well.

Manfred. Niki feels a quake somewhere deep. She is losing him. She’s been losing him for a long time, and maybe this is the reason she came tonight. Those three letters on-screen call up—rather, exhume—a swarm of emotions, not all of them good. But they also offer a strange kind of hope, a reminder that Niki’s survived loss before, and this old body of hers has lived more than one life. 


Excerpted from The Lipstick Bureau by Michelle Gable Bilski. 

Copyright © 2022 by Michelle Gable Bilski.

Published by Graydon House Books.



PHOTO CREDIT: Joanna DeGeneres 

MICHELLE GABLE is the New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment, I'll See You in Paris, The Book of Summer, and The Summer I Met Jack. 


She attended the College of William & Mary and spent twenty years working in finance before becoming a full-time writer. 


She grew up in San Diego and lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. 


Find her on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, @mgablewriter.



Author website:







Barnes & Noble






Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Favorite Genres?


What are YOUR favorite genres?

Mine are historical fiction, mystery, and women's fiction.


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Secret Society of Salzburg by Renee Ryan


Why are there Nazis at our wedding? 

Why would her husband invite them during this perilous time?
Elsa and Wilhelm were connected by the opera...she is a famous singer and he is a famous, powerful orchestra director.

He made her famous, married her, and somehow started to scare her.

We then meet Hattie and Vera who were secretaries at the Board of Education in England, but Hattie was also an artist and Vera an author. 

Elsa met Hattie and Vera when they were on their way to one of her operas, and all three women with their talents became entangled in what was going on in Germany.

Art and opera were highly regarded, got the women safely together, and made a perfect cover for their friendship and what they were doing.

Elsa became fast and devoted friends with both Hattie and Vera once Elsa saw Hattie’s emotional drawings of herself and after the sisters met Elsa's Aunt Malvina.

A problem...Malvina was Jewish and in danger - could Elsa be in danger too since they shared the same blood?

You will find the answer to everything when you read this gripping, heartbreaking tale of women trying to save as many Jewish citizens as possible while endangering themselves and their dream careers.

Another marvelous, marvelous, unable-to-put-down read by Renee Ryan based on the lives of Ida and Louise not miss this book.  5/5

This book was given to me by the author for an honest review.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Read Any?

Have you read any of these books?


Mailbox Monday - 12/26/2022


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week.


Warning:  Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.
Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at  MAILBOX MONDAY.
Here is a shout out to the administrators:

Emma @ Word and Peace
Serena @ Savvy Verse and Wit
Martha @ Reviews By Martha’s Bookshelf
THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive.
I hope you had a good mailbox.

On Monday, December 19, I received:
1.  THE BLOCK PARTY by Jamie Day, courtesy of Erica Martirano of St. Martin's and NetGalley.
On Tuesday, December 20, I received:
1.  GONE TONIGHT by Sarah Pekkanen, courtesy of Erica Martirano of St. Martin's and NetGalley. 

2.  THE ECHO OF OLD BOOKS by Barbara Davis, courtesy of Lake Union Publishers and NetGalley.

3.  THESE STILL BLACK WATERS by Christina McDonald, courtesy of Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley.


It's Monday!! What Are YOU Reading? - 12/26/2022

I hope you had a great reading week.
This is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn at BOOK DATE!

Post the books completed, the books you are currently reading, and the books you hope to finish at some point.
Books Completed:
THE LONDON SEANCE SOCIETY by Sarah Penner - review will be on March 21, 2023.
Very disappointed in this book.  
IT'S ONE OF US by J. T. Ellison - review will be on February 25, 2023.
Fans will be glued to the pages.  

THE CALL OF THE WRENS by Jenni L. Walsh - review will be on December 31.
LOVED it...historical fiction fans and women's fiction fans will love it too.
THE LOST ENGLISH GIRL by Julia Kelly - review will be on March 9, 2023.
LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book...I hope you get to read it.
THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL by Meagan Church - review will be on March 8, 2023.
LOVED it - well researched but it is heartbreaking.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE by Alex Finlay - review will be on March 7, 2023.
Disappointed because I really enjoyed his other two books.  This was very dark and difficult to follow.
WHEN THE MOON TURNS BLUE by Pamela Terry - review will be on February 21, 2023.
Disappointed...loved her book, THE SWEET TASTE OF MUSCADINES.
This book was VERY confusing and all over the place with too many characters.
CODE NAME SAPPHIRE by Pam Jenoff - review will be on February 7, 2023.
Another Pam Jenoff not miss it!!
A MATTER OF HAPPINESS by Tori Whitaker - review will be on January 19, 2023.
Another lovely read that historical fiction fans, women's fiction fans, and vintage car fans will adore.
THE GIRLS WHO DISAPPEARED by Claire Douglas - review will be on January 16, 2023.
Another good one by Claire Douglas.
JUST THE NICEST COUPLE by Mary Kubica - review will be January 13, 2023.
It's a good one!!  Don't miss it!!
ONCE WE WERE HOME by Jennifer Rosner - review will be on March 14, 2023.
Another beautiful, but heartbreaking read by Jennifer Rosner.  Don't miss it!!
THE NIGHT TRAVELERS by Armando Lucas Correa - review will be on January 11, 2023.
A beautifully written, heartbreaking book.
ALL THE DANGEROUS THINGS by Stacy Willingham - review will be on January 10, 2023.
Don't miss this one - dragged a bit, but it is worth the wait for a brilliant, clever ending.
THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SALZBURG by Renee Ryan - review will be on December 27.
MARVELOUS, MARVELOUS, not miss this one.
A MOTHER WOULD KNOW by Amber Garza - review is in the book's title.
Disappointed...surprises and a great ending, but very confusing.  I have enjoyed other books by Ms. Garza.
Book Currently Reading: 
HANG THE MOON BY JEANNETTE WALLS - review will be on March 28, 2023.

Books Up Next:

THE ECHO OF OLD BOOKS by Barbara Davis - review will be on March 29.
THE SOULMATE by Sally Hepworth - review will be on April 4, 2023.
WHERE COYOTES HOWL by Sandra Dallas - review will be on April 18, 2023.

ONLY THE BEAUTIFUL by Susan Meissner - review will be on April 19, 2023.
THE DUTCH ORPHAN by Ellen Keith - review will be on April 20, 2023.
FIFTH AVENUE GLAMOUR GIRL by Renee Rosen - review will be on April 25, 2023.
THE COLLECTED REGRETS OF CLOVER by Mikki Brammer - review will be on May 9, 2023.
ADRIFT by Lisa Brideau - review will be on May 10, 2023.
THE WISHING GAME by Meg Shaffer - review will be on May 30, 2023.
THE PARIS DAUGHTER by Kristin Harmel - review will be on June 6, 2023.
THE BOOKSHOP BY THE BAY by Pamela Kelley - review will be on June 7, 2023.

WHAT REMAINS by Wendy Walker - review will be on June 13, 2023.
A MOST AGREEABLE MURDER by Julia Seales - review will be on June 27, 2023.

THE BLOCK PARTY by Jamie Day - review will be on July 18.
GONE TONIGHT by Sarah Pekkanen - review will be on August 1.
DARK CORNERS by Megan Goldin - review will be on August 8, 2023.
THESE STILL BLACK WATERS by Christina McDonald - review will be on August 9.