book review, history

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Since beginning social distancing, I’ve been diving into my massive TBR list containing books that I’ve had waiting for months upon months. First up, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. It’s the memoir of Ludwig “Lali” Sokolov nee Eisenberg, called Lale in the book, and he was once the tattooer of Auschwitz.

  • Genre: Memoir
  • Overall Rating 5/6 Glass Slippers

In April of 1942, Lale arrived in Auschwitz-Berkinau. Due to his wit and talent for languages, he was soon made the tattooist’s apprentice, then the tattooist himself. He was put in the dangerous and prestigious position of tattooing the numbers on the arm of everyone who entered the camp. He had to be a cog in the Nazi machine, but was also able to help save a few lives.

His tattooing bag is a free pass through the camp, a sign of his status as an essential worker. He’s able to speak with guards, meet the workers from the nearby village who are building the crematoriums, and barter for food with goods slipped from the warehouse used to store and sort the stolen possessions of the prisoners. But Lale uses the most of his influence to keep someone special alive.

He first notices Gita’s dark eyes, and soon he’s smitten with the young woman in a way he can’t explain. He begs and steals, cutting deals to get her a job in the administration office where at least she’ll be warm in the long winter months. He trades hidden gems for chocolate with the village workers for her, and does everything in his power to make sure that when they’re free, they’ll have a future together. But first, they have to survive.

In college, I studied the Holocaust in depth, reading memoirs, taking classes, and taking advantage of my school’s Holocaust Resource Center where survivors would often come to speak. Overall, I found the memoir to be both heart wrenching, and a good lesson in humanizing what happened and how it changed the world. It’s easy to look at numbers in a text book and skim over the labels of Jew and Gypsy without really internalizing what those numbers truly mean. Lali wasn’t a number, nor were any of the other victims.

I wrote many papers on that part of history in my genocidal studies program, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Dr. Mengele in particular. I found some inconsistencies in how Morris portrayed Mengele and his experiments, fabricating some parts perhaps for shock value, although what he did was so terrible without the additional attractions, I didn’t see the reason for them. There were other inconsistencies highlighted by the Auschwitz Memorial Research Center, but I won’t go into because after all is said and done, this isn’t a history book, it’s a memoir based on the extraordinary life of one man.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and the story it told, even with the inaccuracies and simple phrasings. Memories, like memoirs, are tricky things, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget the story of Lali Sokolov.

audiobook, book review, New Book, review

The Broken

My favorite time hopping series is back in audiobook form. That’s right, I’m talking about Echoes from the Past by Irina Shapiro. Today, I’d like to discuss the series’s grand finale, The Broken. As always, I will try to keep my review relatively spoiler free, but if I surprise you, remember this amazing series is on book eight!

  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Genre: Historical and Contemporary Romance and Drama
  • Heat Rating: ♥♥

In 2015 Dr. Quinn Allenby is called to inspect the skeletal remains of an infant for the hit TV show Echoes from the Past, a program that “solves” old murders and deaths from centuries ago. A mother herself, the work is especially difficult, as the remains have been tampered with and the skeleton is new enough that, for the first time, the family might be still alive. But with the help of a broach found with the baby, she’ll work to put a name to the remains.

In 1955 nurse Helen meets David, who sweeps her off her feet. At first, their courtship is secretive, as Helen’s mother despises the thought of her only child being whisked away. And once they’re allowed to wed, Helen believes herself to be the luckiest woman alive. But when a chance discovery in her mother’s bedroom threatens not only her marriage, but her immortal soul, Helen will have to decide if the truth is worth her happiness.

Through the decades, a secret has been kept, one buried in the garden of an unassuming London home.

As always, I was immediately drawn into the story in a way I’m normally not when it comes to most books. Falling back into Quinn’s complicated life with her messy, extended family is always fun, as is following her into the past to untangle the life of someone who’s only left bones behind. Her tale is one of back stabbing siblings, unreliable parents, and a marriage stronger than most I read about. She has to fight for the shreds of normalcy like packing her daughter Emma’s lunch for school and setting up coffee meetings with her boss in between fact checking her visions.

Since this is the last book in the series, I’ll miss it greatly. The way Shapiro is able to weave the past and present together to form a seamless story is something I’ll always admire. She ended the series in a strong, yet organic, way where most storylines are tied up, and while the future is uncertain for some of the cast, they’ve all more or less ended up just where they needed to be.

Overall, and as always, I recommend this book, and all of Echoes from the Past to all contemporary and historical fiction fans who are looking for their next six glass slipper read.

book review, New Book

Temporary Wife Temptation

I’ve been so busy with work and my family, my poor TBR pile has been sadly neglected. But new author Jayci Lee drew me in with her first novel Temporary Wife Temptation, book one of Heirs of Hansol series. I settled onto my couch one quiet morning after school drop off with a cup of coffee and my dog. Before I knew it, I had finished the book and already craving book two.

  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Tropes: Billionaire Romance/Fake Relationship
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️❤️
  • Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

Garrett Song is rich, handsome, and poised to take over his family’s fashion empire, Hansol. He can walk on the wild side, but knows his duty as the heir to the proverbial throne. When his grandmother wants to play matchmaker to join the Song family forces with another influential family, comes up with a plan. He hates the idea of marriage and plans on being a lifelong bachelor. But then he decides to handpick his own wife, one he knows would benefit from their marriage just as much as he would. If only he can get her to accept.

Natalie Sobol is having a rough time. She’s been working for Hansol for a while, and has her eye on a position that could validate her career choices and set her up for life. But the death of her sister and brother-in-law leave her the guardian of a little girl, her life goes into a tailspin. She needs a promotion and money for her niece’s medical issues and schooling. She hadn’t planned on being a parent just yet, but when Garret offers her a way to get everything she wants, it’s hard to say no…only there’s a catch, one that makes her question everything.

In the beginning, the deal is clear. They marry so Garret gets the CEO position and Natalie is promoted to the VP of Human Resources and is able to fully adopt her niece. They’ll attend parties, go out to dinner, and appear on the outside as a perfectly devoted pair. After enough time passes, they’ll simply annul their marriage. After all, they don’t plan on actually ever consummating it…right?

Temporary Wife Temptation is basically what happens when The Proposal, The Wedding Date, and Crazy Rich Asians combine forces. Sexy, funny, and interesting, the story sets off at a run from page one, not leaving any room for unnecessary filler or fluff. You dive right in to Garret and Natalie’s story, getting both points of view from the beginning.

I really enjoy fake relationship romances and anything with fabulously wealthy people. The world Lee created is the perfect blend of luxury living and real life issues. There’s enough reality to keep you grounded as you follow the romance, but more than enough champagne living to sweeten the deal. It also wasn’t terribly predictable. There were enough twists and turns between the romance to make you wonder if Garret and Natalie would make a real go of their relationship or just start counting down the days until they could split for good.


book review, New Book

The Main Dish

We don’t have a lot of young adult books on our page, but it’s time to shake things up a little. Introducing The Main Dish by Victoria Kimble. It releases in July, but the paperbacks are available for preorder now!

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Overall Rating: 4/6 Glass Slippers

Scarlet Williams is so close to living her dream–to be the youngest violinist at the Summerset Festival. She’s worked her fingers to the bone and put in the long hours to make sure she earned her spot… and the admiration of a boy she has her eye on. But when her sister Sadie is cast in a cooking show in LA, her plans go off the rails.

A summer in LA with her family while Sadie works to be the top chef on the show means a summer away from her music, and her shot at being in the festival. As much as she wants to stay, she doesn’t have any choice, and soon she’s packing up her violin and putting her dream on hold while Sadie chases hers. Though she’s not content with being invisible, and soon she makes a decision that could change everything.

Overall, The Main Dish was exactly what was promised–a YA story with sisters at odds and their individual dreams. The writing was clean and simple, penned in the way I imagined a teenage girl would write in her diary. Everything’s an explosion of failure in one moment and nothing the next, a glimpse into what it means to be a high school girl.

I normally don’t read YA, but I found The Main Dish to be a light read with a good message of sacrifice and honesty. The idea of the Young Gourmet show could be a book on its own! And Scarlet makes a few mistakes that hurt the ones she loves, but learns from it and becomes a better person. Although my daughter’s only five, this book will sit on my shelves until she’s old enough to read it.

Overall, I thought it was a good story with some totally teen moments with simple writing that conveys several very important messages. I would recommend this book to YA fans that enjoy light reading, particularly those in middle school.

New Book

The Power of Witches

Noa Rembrandt was found in a dumpster. 

Since then, she’s been wanting only one thing in life: to find a loving family to take her in or successfully age out of the foster system. She thought she’d found her family, until after her eighth birthday, her younger foster brother died under suspicious circumstances—circumstances Noa might have had a part in.

Now at sixteen and with no where else to go, Noa Rembrandt is sent to Gardenside County Home for Troubled Youth. With a countdown to her eighteenth birthday, Noa is determined to keep her head down and not cause any trouble.

Trouble instead finds her, in the form of her eccentric roommate and cute boy across the hall who both seem to know more about Noa’s background than she does.

Preorder The Power of Witches now HERE!


Shay Bencosme is a 22 Navy servicemember who writes and photographs in her spare time. She currently lives in North Carolina, USA with her husband, Josh, and their kitten, Lucy.

Shay has always had aspirations of being a writer and just decided to go for it one day, finishing her debut novel is less than 3 months. Since choosing self-publishing, she’s loved every step of her journey through the indie world.

book review

Twenties Girl

It’s the ’20s again, and for the first review of the year, I’d like to talk about Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella.

  • Genre: Romantic Comedy/Chick Lit
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️
  • Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

Lara is adrift in the world when she’s forced to go to her estranged Great Aunt Sadie’s funeral. She barely knew Sadie existed, as her father and rich, coffee baron uncle never really brought her up. But as Lara sits in the nearly empty funeral home, a slim, chic, upset young woman yells, “Where’s my necklace?”

Lara soon learns she’s the only one who can see Sadie’s ghost. Sadie appears as she did in the 1920’s, glamorous and blunt with a smart mouth and a missing dragonfly necklace, and she won’t rest until Lara finds her favorite jewelry. And no one is louder or pushier than Sadie.

She needs to save her failing business, reclaim the love of her ex boyfriend, and stop Sadie from using her shrill scream to persuade people to do her bidding…including having an American man go on a date with Lara so Sadie can live vicariously through her. From vintage shops and police stations to the London Portrait Gallery and backstage at a fashion show, Lara will do whatever it takes to help her new favorite aunt.

I’m a big Sophie Kinsella fan and always love the lighthearted stories she tells. I was skeptical of the paranormal aspect, as the only time I read ghost stories are when murder and horror are general themes. But Sadie is both a phantom and a real character with real feelings.

The romance in the story took a backseat to the relationship between Lara and Sadie. Their growing bond has highs and lows speckled with hilarious moments. I also enjoyed the small bits of flapper lifestyle like the makeup routine and how to do the Charleston dance.

Overall, Twenties Girl is a charming, witty take on chick lit and what it means to have a guardian angel.

Book Lists

Marietta Bound

Hello everyone!

While Sarah and I are working on some fun, new projects together and some solo books, I have some exciting news! Next year, I’ll be publishing a series of steamy, contemporary romances set in the fictional town of Marietta, Montana.

What makes the cozy, mining town full of cowboys unique is that it was created by Tule Publishing. Featuring a solid roadmap of businesses and landmarks, authors insert their own characters to bring Marietta to life. At the moment, I’m busy writing my own love stories in Marietta, so for now, here’s just a few of the books set in the town, from steamy rodeo romances to sweet holiday tales.

When Rachel inherits a bookstore in Marietta, she doesn’t think small town life would be for her. Texas born Atticus wants to expand his empire, starting with Marietta. Find out what happens during their first white Christmas HERE.

The Love in Montana Series features a cast of crossover characters from firemen to baseball stars, and can be read as individual standalones, or as a series. Start reading today HERE.

Christmas at Sleigh Bell farm is a sweet, holiday romance, perfect for Christmas. Order your copy HERE.

Love blooms in the Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop for three lucky couples. Date your sweet tooth HERE.

The Doctor’s Christmas Proposal follows Dr. Wyatt as he nurses his broken heart with the help of his best friend Mia. This steamy, second chance romance is available HERE.

The Zabrinski family are a tight knit clan of locals with big hearts and big stories to tell. Begin with book one of the Big Sky Mavericks series HERE.

In The Patolays of Montana series, Marietta locals find romance. Or more like romance finds them and refuses to let go. Begin reading HERE.

The Wildflower Ranch series is a sweet collection of stories about old fashioned cowboys and girls meeting their matches. Order your copy HERE.

Collie’s in Marietta to escape from a failed engagement. Michael’s tasked with getting the engagement ring back from Collie and going back to Chicago. But a simple task gets more complicated when sparks fly. Order your copy HERE.

The Frontier Montana series is a collection of steamy Historicals set in the early years of Marietta when cowboys reigned supreme. Begin reading HERE.

The Big Sky Hathaways series consists of two sweet, Christmas romances. One is already a fabulous Hallmark Channel movie you just might have seen! Order your copies HERE.

The Scot’s Montana Bride follows a Scottish man as he crosses an ocean to convince a cowgirl he’s the one for her. Start reading today HERE.

The Hanson Brothers series follows a trio of brothers as they search for love. This series is available HERE.

The Watson Brothers is a series that gives the mail order spouse theme a refreshing twist. Pick up your copies HERE.

A small town sweetheart and a bad boy turned big city tycoon cross paths once again in Falling for the Hometown Girl. Snag this second chance romance HERE.

Christmas Lights and Cowboy Nights follows Rosa, who’s looking for Mr. Right and Calvin, who’s looking for Miss Right Now. Find out if they can find some middle ground HERE.

The Bar V5 Ranch is the last place these five couples think they’ll find love. But romance blossoms in the most unlikely of places. Start reading this series HERE.

Scotswoman Emma’s been left at the alter. Ex football star Mitch wasn’t prepared for his Christmas to get all shook up. Meet them under the mistletoe HERE.

Bridal salon owner Lisa is poised to help make a celebrity wedding a success. Dr. Adam is enjoying his role as Marietta’s newest doctor. Wedding fever’s hit the town. Find the cure HERE.


There are dozens of other Marietta books and fun facts at the Tule website HERE. Small towns don’t mean small romance, and Marietta never disappoints. Happy reading!