Friday, January 20, 2023

The Undercover Secretary
by Ellie Midwood

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 254
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  France, 1942. “I forced myself to hold his gaze. My heart thrashed inside my chest like a bird battering its wings. They knew who I was. They knew what I’d done.” This heartbreaking and unputdownable World War Two novel tells the incredible true story Dora Schaul, who risked her life by coming face-to-face with enemy—the monsters who killed her loved ones.

Dora has lost everything to the Nazis. Her dearest friends have disappeared into thin air. Her parents have been imprisoned in concentration camps and murdered for the crime of simply existing. She has no idea if her darling husband, the devoted and brave Alfred, is still alive.

Though her world is crashing and burning around her, Dora refuses to give in to Hitler’s tyranny. The Nazis may have broken her heart, but they will not break her spirit.

Secretly working for the underground network in France, Dora risks her life on the most dangerous mission in the history of the local resistance. She goes undercover as the secretary of the Head of Gestapo; a soldier with a brutal reputation. A cold-blooded killer.

She is tasked with leaking the names of the SS to the British press. Every day, she rubs shoulders with the enemy. She makes coffee for the people she despises. She types letters for the monsters who killed her family. At any second, she could be found out…

Can she survive, turning the tide of the war and saving thousands of lives? Or will those she loved the most in the world, and millions of other innocent people, have died in vain?

Kritters Thoughts:  While I feel as though I have read every book and every aspect of World War II, this book gave me a unique glimpse at another person's journey through this hard time in history.  When I read a historical fiction book, I typically rate my experience by my need to google and find out more and with this one I kept finding myself wanting to learn more than what was on the page.  

Dora a young woman who leaves her family in hopes of being able to create a life that they may join in the future takes a large leap of faith and the journey is epic.  I found myself holding my breath and while a chapter would end, I was "flipping the pages" (read on a kindle) quickly to get into the next chapter.  While at times it was difficult to read knowing there was truth underneath it all, Ellie Midwood wrote a story that needed to be shared and highlighted within this sub genre of World War II fiction.  

My third Ellie Midwood read and for sure will not be my last.  I love the way this author uses a story rooted in complete truth, but keeps me reading with plot and characters that I care about from early on in the book.  This author is quickly becoming a must read for me and I will wait not so patiently for her next one!  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Bookouture.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Monday, January 2, 2023


2022 ended up being the craziest of years with a new job and a major life change.  I was excited to see the calendar switch to a new year and I know that there are a lot of fun things coming up ahead, so hoping that 2023 will be full of more books and more ramblings!   

So with that here are my goals for my reading life for 2023.  

1. I want to read a minimum of 123 books.  I am taking my goal significantly down from the past just knowing what is coming, but hoping to increase my reading from 2022.  

2. I am switching up my order of my goals this year, and next I want to increase my Netgalley percentage and sadly it went down this past year, so I have a large hill to climb.  I want to keep this goal and challenge myself to aim high to get my percentage up to at least 25%.  

3.  While I said in goal 2, I would like to increase my Netgalley percentage, I would also love to increase my reading of my physical library this year.  I miss curling up with literal pages in my hand and I hope to do more of this in 2023!

And the challenge that I love to do each year is:

Where Are You Reading?
In this challenge, I keep a Google Map and place a pinpoint at each spot where a book takes place.  The link to my google map will also be in the sidebar all year round, so anyone can check out where I have been reading!

If you would like to participate - check out Book Journey.  She hosted this challenge in the past, not sure if she is hosting again, but as this is my favorite thing to do, I am continuing! 

Sunday, January 1, 2023

    So this was probably my worst reading year in a very long time,   so while this will be a sad comparison, I am hoping to compare a   wonderful 2023 to this 2022.  

  Let's compare 2022 to 2021.  

Total number of books I read in 2022: 91 - my lowest number in a long time
Total number of books I read in 2021: 219 (just shy of 220!)

Total number of pages I flipped, clicked, and so on in 2022: 29,355
Total number of pages I flipped, clicked, and so on in 2021: 73,312

I have been keeping track of WHERE my books were taking place all year. Below is the outcome.  There are 18 states that I "visited," which is worse than last year, but probably partly due to the amount of books I completed.  I would like to travel more in 2023

States that made the list:
Maine                    Vermont            Pennsylvania
Massachusetts        New York          Washington, DC
North Carolina        Florida              South Carolina
Louisiana               Arkansas           Missouri
Texas                    Minnesota           Idaho
Nevada                 Washington        California

My country number went down from 13 to 9 this year, so I am sad that I didn't travel the world as much this year, but probably also again due to the amount that I read being down this year.

Countries accounted for:
Guyana            Canada            Australia
Ireland             UK                  France
Italy                Poland              Germany

Saturday, December 31, 2022

As I have done in years past, I am hoping to make my first book of the year something important and to set the stage for a year of reading!

This year I want to read books that give me peace or entertain me.  After a year where reading took a backseat, I want reading to be a place that I crave and make space for.  For me, the mystery thrillers captivate my attention quickly and hold it for a long time, so I want to start here this year.  Have only read one Ruth Ware, so would love to read another one, especially one with snow on the cover to make it feel seasonal!    

One by One 
  by Ruth Ware

Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them?

When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?

Thursday, December 29, 2022

I have been missing on this blog this year and I have missed this blog this year.  In the middle of this year, my life took a turn and I ended up in a place I never imagined.  Going through a divorce and away from the home, garden and library that I had cultivated over years.  I am now putting the pieces back together in a different way and finally finding comfort in the things that I loved.  

I have family and friends who caught me and helped push me back up the hill and I can't thank each of them enough.  I am hoping that 2023 will be the year where I make some big decisions and find peace.  

The pup Charlotte has been by my side and our short and long walks have helped both of our physical and mental health!  

Monday, November 14, 2022

The Librarian Spy
by Madeline Martin 

Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Ava thought her job as a librarian at the Library of Congress would mean a quiet, routine existence. But an unexpected offer from the US military has brought her to Lisbon with a new mission: posing as a librarian while working undercover as a spy gathering intelligence.

Meanwhile, in occupied France, Elaine has begun an apprenticeship at a printing press run by members of the Resistance. It’s a job usually reserved for men, but in the war, those rules have been forgotten. Yet she knows that the Nazis are searching for the press and its printer in order to silence them.

As the battle in Europe rages, Ava and Elaine find themselves connecting through coded messages and discovering hope in the face of war.

Kritters Thoughts:  Two storylines going on at the same time and while the reader has to wait a bit for them to collide, when it does, it is so good!  

Ava was happy working at The Library of Congress when she was approached with an interesting job - to go abroad and work with the US military in intelligence.  Elaine is living in occupied France and with recent happenings going on around her she decides to join the effort and work for a printing press trying to get the news from the Resistance out into the world.  

I absolutely loved this book.  I enjoy reading about this war, and while I know about the atrocities that happened, sometimes it is hard to read the hard truths of it all.  SO I like these books where I can read and learn more about this war, but not quite enter into the depths of all that happened.  

When there are two storylines, sometimes I lean towards one or the other, but not the case in this book.  These women were in two different parts of the war doing two different things and I loved seeing both of them in the same book.  

My second Madeline Martin historical fiction book and she is quickly becoming an author that I will immediately open and read! 

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2022 Challenge: 60 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from HarperCollins.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Edge of Dusk
by Colleen Coble

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Even though secrets lie off the coast of Rock Harbor, the truth will set Annie Pederson free—if it doesn’t kill her first.

Nine-year-old Annie Pederson’s life changed the night her sister was kidnapped. The two had been outside playing on a dock, and Annie never forgave herself for her role in her sister’s disappearance. Twenty-four years later and now a law enforcement ranger, Annie is still searching for answers as she grieves a new loss: the death of her husband and parents in a boating accident.

But Annie and her eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, aren’t the only people in the town of Rock Harbor whose lives have been marred by tragedy. While managing the property around the Tremolo Resort and Marina she inherited, Annie discovers a dead body floating in the cold Superior surf and begins to work with the sheriff’s office to tie the death to a series of other mysterious reports in the area.

At the same time, her first love, Jon Dustan, returns after nine years away, reigniting the town’s memory of a cold case he’d been suspiciously linked to before he left to pursue his orthopedic residency. For the sake of her investigation and her heart, Annie tries to stay away. But avoiding Jon becomes impossible once Annie realizes she is being targeted by someone desperate to keep secrets from the past hidden.

Kritters Thoughts:  The first in a series that was perfectly distracting during a busy time in my life!  

Already a Colleen Coble fan before starting this one, it lived up to the hype I have created for her myself!  Annie Pederson was nine years old when her sister was taken from her and she started the search to recover her.  Now as an adult when this story begins, Annie is an adult and a parent herself, a single parent as her spouse and parents were tragically taken from her all at the same time and she is still searching.  

There were many different mysteries going on in this one book and in my humble opinion maybe one too many!  I loved the underlying search that Annie was looking for her sister while the addition of the murdered young girls was intriguing, there were more and more added as the story went on and keeping track of all the twists and turns took some work.  

I am looking forward to book two arriving and continuing on with Annie Pederson.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Partner in Crime Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Copyright 2010 Kritters Ramblings.

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