{If You Liked…Then You Might Like} The Nightingale & From Sand and Ash

I’ve seen different variations of this post on several blogs and have been toying around with the idea to start doing my own post. Although these books share some similarities, they also stand out in their own way, and are ones I highly recommend reading.

If You Liked…. The Nightingale

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Despite their differences, sisters Viann and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Viann finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength is tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Viann and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

Then you Might Like…. From Sand and Ash

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Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.

 

I loved these two books equally. They are also equally heartbreaking and if you’re a crier like me, you’ll be sobbing by the end of both. But it’ll be totally worth it!

{Review} From Sand and Ash

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about the book

Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.

My Thoughts

A fictional story based on true events with beautiful prose and an incredible love story – this is a book I will not forget anytime soon. My heart was so heavy while I read it, as it always is when I read anything related to WWII. I had to read slowly, taking frequent breaks from it, because it was so heartbreaking and sad. But do not let that deter you from picking up this book. It is by far one of the most beautiful stories ever written, and I’m still thinking about it weeks after finishing.

Bottom Line

Unforgettable. Absolutely one of the best books I have ever read or will ever read.

5 Stars

Genre: Historical, Romance

Standalone

Published December 1, 2016 by Lake Union Publishing

Length: 372 pages

ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

{Review} Salt to the Sea

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Goodreads / Amazon

About the book

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in one another tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view, and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson’s #1 NYT bestseller Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloffthe greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

My Thoughts

I have only recently started enjoying historical fiction more, especially novels set during WWII. I’ve heard great things about this author, and was so anxious to read this book that I preordered it. Although it was incredibly heartbreaking and sad, this book was worth every penny. I loved how the author wrote each chapter from a different characters POV, and that each chapter was really short – making it impossible to put the book down.

Nothing breaks my heart more than reading about WWII. The tragic events that took place during that time is so hard to stomach. Reading this book was not easy as far as emotions go – the horrors people faced during the war were  so very awful. My heart broke several times while reading this book, but there was also proof of the goodness in humanity throughout the story. The hope of love prevailing over all of the sadness and horror is what kept me reading.

Bottom Line

An emotional and tragic story sure to make a long lasting impression.

5 Stars

Genre: Young Adult, Historical

Standalone

Published: February 2, 2016 by Philomel Books

Length: 400 Pages

Books I’m Thankful For – Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme is a Thanksgiving Freebie to do with whatever we choose.

It goes without saying how much I love reading, books, the authors that bring us so many amazing books, the escape it gives me, Goodreads for keeping me organized, my Kindle, and this wonderful book blogging community and all the friendships I’ve made. I’m extremely grateful for being a part of such a wonderful community that allows me to be me.

 

For today’s TTT, I decided to list all of the books that have opened my eyes to new genres and authors over the years. These books top my favorites list, and I’m so thankful to have read them. They’ve connected me with other readers and bloggers over the years, as well. Without so many awesome books in my life, I wouldn’t have that much needed escape that I love, and for that I’m extremely thankful!

 

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Surrounded by controversy, and maybe not the most well-written series in the world (and I hate love triangles, so how did I see past all of that?!), but this series means a lot to me. It introduced me to a new genre, as I had never read anything paranormal or fantasy before. It gave me a common bond with a lot of my close friends, where we discussed the books and movies regularly. It was an obsession of mine for many years, the books and the movies. I enjoyed reading before this series, but Stephenie Meyer lit a fire in me and helped me rediscover just how much I loved to read.

 

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This book not only gave me my favorite author, but it introduced me to a love of New Adult romance and indie books. I just happened to be browsing Amazon looking for something new to read the day I one-clicked this baby. And to say it changed reading for me is a major understatement.

 

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My first major author love goes to Nicholas Sparks. Before CoHo, his books were the ones I ALWAYS had to own (in hardback no less), and I got so excited for a new release. I may have outgrown my Sparks phase, but my love of romance novels is all thanks to him.

 

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Only the cutest YA book EVER. I wasn’t a big fan of YA at all until I picked up this book. What a big wonderful world it opened my eyes to. I have read some really fantastic YA contemporary novels over the years, and I thank Stephanie Perkins for giving me my favorite YA book still to date.

 

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I used to read a lot of Chick Lit and found many favorite authors along the way. Even though I may be out of that phase at the moment, I feel like these books shaped my love of reading. I’m still a loyal Emily Giffin fan, and look forward to her new releases.

 

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Haters gonna hate, but it’s all thanks to E L James that I discovered a genre that I love, and then two of my absolute favorite series. I remember finishing the 50 Shades books and immediately going to Amazon to try to find more books similar to it. Amazon recommended Gabriel’s Inferno and Bared to You, which are two of my favorite series. So, thank you E L James, for introducing me to a new genre and in turn giving me some of my favorite books of all time.

 

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Although Sarah Jio‘s books have been out for years, I never had the desire to pick one up until I read this one. Which led me to a new author obsession. I believe I have Netgalley to thank for this by approving an ARC and in turn introducing me to an author I’ve come to adore.

 

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Exceptional books like this one are the reason why I LOVE suspense novels. I have loved a lot of suspense novels and authors over the years, but this is my most recent favorite.

 

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I only recently in the past year discovered a new type of adult contemporary novel most call marriage-in-crisis. I admit that I would have never picked up a book described as that in the past, but Landline and Rainbow Rowell helped me to be more open-minded, and because of this book, I have discovered Taylor Jenkins Reid, another favorite author. These books were emotional reads that I needed in my life at that moment in time. Books that make you think and appreciate what you have in life. Both of them have a special place in my heart and are books I recommend to everyone.

 

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Last but not least, Kristin Hannah has been impressing me with her fantastic writing for years. Some of my all time favorite books are her books, and there’s no doubt they all pack an emotional punch. It was most recently The Nightingale that left a lasting impression on my heart. I not only found a new love for historical fiction, thanks to this book, but I was blown away by the powerful and incredible story. It’s one I think every single bookworm should read at some point in their life. Even non-historical fiction readers like myself will appreciate the message Hannah so perfectly conveys in this stunning novel.

 

So, there you have it. The books and authors that have shaped my love of reading over the years. I’m thankful they have given me so many wonderful books to love that have left a lasting impression on my heart.

{Mini Review} The Last Camellia

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Goodreads / Amazon

About the book

A romantic and suspenseful tale about two women whose destiny is bound across the years.

On the eve of World War II, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an amateur American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate the household and acquire the coveted bloom. Her search is at once brightened by new love and threatened by her discovery of a series of ghastly crimes.

More than half a century later, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couple’s shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardener’s notebook. Yet its pages hint at dark acts ingeniously concealed. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate?

My Thoughts

This book had way more mystery and suspense than I’m used to from a Sarah Jio book, and that’s what made it so enjoyable. The entire plot was just different than anything else I’ve read, and even though I figured out one of the main reveals about halfway through, I was still pleasantly surprised by some of the twists at the end. It wasn’t my favorite of her books, but I’m glad I finally read it. Her books are such quick and light reads, and they are always good for getting me out of a book slump. I only have one book of Jio’s left to read before I’m finally caught up on all of her books!

4 Stars

Genre: Adult Contemporary, Mystery-Suspense, Historical

Standalone

Published: May 28, 2013 by Plume

Length: 320 Pages