Within These Lines - Stephanie Morrill

Saturday, May 25, 2019

My Rating
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

About the Book

Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family living in San Francisco in 1941 is quiet and ordinary until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move to an internment camp.

Degrading treatment makes life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world is treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out against injustice, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal at school and at home. Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he will ever leave the camp alive.

With tensions running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold true to their ideals and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds.

Within These Lines is a story about the gritty, exhausting side of love. The kind of love that seems to only invite heartbreak, but is tenacious and unrelenting all the same. It’s available in stores now! (From author website)

My Thoughts

Ansel Adams - WikiCommons
I have REALLY got to stop reading WWII books back-to-back...My heart can't handle it anymore lol. That is one reason why this review has had to just marinate in my heart and brain.

Evalina and Taichi's story pulled at my heartstrings so very much. Living in such a dark time in history, the perseverance, the tenacity, the strength, and the power of love, is overwhelmingly beautiful. Morrill brought the injustice and sorrow that we, as a nation, like to gloss over. I am so glad that authors are tackling this topic that has been long looked over.

Ansel Adams - WikiCommons
Morrill's descriptions were so tangible that I could hear the sounds, see the street market, and feel the wind and dust from Manzanar. I learned so much about history and culture while reading this book. Different details and conversations sparked my interest and of course, I had to go look things up. As you can see from these pictures it's easy to see why society thought that everything was cupcakes and rainbows at these camps. The media's agenda to shed the camps in a positive light was far from the truth as we now know.

But this is a review, not a history lesson lol! I do highly encourage you to read Within These Lines let your heart and eyes be opened to a new side of WWII history through this story of love, hope, and faith.
Ansel Adams - WikiCommons

Replica of a historic watch tower at the Manzanar National Historic Site, built in 2005.
Eight watchtowers, equipped with searchlights and armed with machine guns that were pointed
inward at the prisoners, were positioned around the perimeter of the 
World War II
American concentration camp

I received a complimentary copy of Within These Lines from the publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

About the Author

Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. Since 2010, Stephanie has been encouraging the next generation of writers at her website, She lives in the Kansas City area, where she loves plotting big and small adventures to enjoy with her husband and three children.

More Books by Stephanie Morrill on Bookworm Mama

Recommended Reading

The Last Year of the War - Susan Meissner

Friday, May 24, 2019

My Rating
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

About the Book

An American girl’s life changes forever when her German immigrant parents are interned in a WW2 Texas internment camp.

Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old but then her German immigrant 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 her very identity. At the camp she meets fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teenager from Los Angeles, and their unlikely friendship, even after they are both repatriated, challenges Elise to hold on to the belief the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Here is a little-known WW2 story with great resonance for our own times which speaks to the notion of who we are when who we’ve always been is called into question. (From the author's website)

My Thoughts

I adore Susan Meissner! Ever since I read The Secrets of a Charmed Life, I knew her stories would be ones that would linger in my heart and soul. The beauty, the pain, the LIFE that flows from her words melt into your very being.

I can't imagine life being turned so topsy-turvy as what these families lived through. The strength that these people had is admirable, to say the least. I am honored to have been able to have my heart touched by these families, as represented in Meissner's story.

Throughout my life, I have had friends come and go, and that will continue, I know. But it is always so interesting to see the people God has brought into my life for specific seasons. He knew that I would need those specific friends for that specific time. This story speaks to so many aspects of life, friendship, and character. Do we know who we are? Who we want to be? Who is it that we want people to see in us?

Anyone who reads WWII stories really should read this book. A different perspective than the "norm". And your heart will never be the same.

I received a complimentary copy of The Last Year of the War from the publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

About the Author

Susan Meissner is the critically-acclaimed author of 20 novels. Her engaging stories feature memorable characters facing unique and complex circumstances, often against a backdrop of historical significance. A multi-award winning author, her books have earned starred reviews in both Publishers Weekly and BookList. She was born and raised in San Diego, California, but spent some of her adult life living in Minnesota as well as in England and Germany, before returning home to southern California in 2007. Susan attended Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Prior to her writing career, she was a managing editor of a weekly newspaper in southwestern Minnesota. She enjoys teaching workshops on writing, spending time with her family, reading great books and traveling. Susan makes her home in the San Diego area with her husband Bob, a pastor and chaplain in the Air Force Reserves. They are the parents of four adult children.

More Books by Susan Meissner on Bookworm Mama

Recommended Reading

First Line Fridays - The Number of Love

Happy (almost the last week of school) Friday!

I admit it, folks, I am STRESSING OUT! The end of the school year has me all like 😱😵😫😬😣😓...Between trying to finish up our curriculum on time, all the performances and special events, and working...The last couple of weeks have been crazy! Only a few more to go and we'll be DONE!!! This weekend is my son's ballet recital and he is the cutest little sailor ever! Taking a little break from the chaos, here is the first line of one of my NEW favorite books!

Happy Reading!

Today’s first line is from...

The Number of Love
Roseanna M. White

Old Admiralty Building
London, England
25 September 1917
The numbers marched across the page in a glory all their own.

PREORDER NOW! Releases June 4!

What is your favorite WWI book?

Head over to Hoarding Books to link up with your own FLF post! (Please keep it family 
friendly...Or note otherwise in the link up)

Top Ten Tuesday - Books That I Refuse to Let My Kids Touch

Monday, May 20, 2019

This week's topic on That Artsy Reader Girl is Books That I Refuse to Let Anyone Touch (submitted by Savannah Grace @ Scattered Scribblings). I'm taking a little spin on it by talking about specific books that I do NOT let my children touch. While they know they aren't supposed to mess with my books, here are a few that I purposefully keep out of their reach.

Please understand...This is NOT A CHILDREN'S BOOK! The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle may look innocent...But it is NOT! It is "clean"...there is just a bit of violence. The brother of one of my dearest friends did the illustrations in this. And sometimes, I don't know if that makes me proud....or disturbed....

My parents know me so well. They got me Doctor Who: The Complete Visual Collection a couple Christmases ago. When I went to put it away...It found its way to my Nonfiction shelf...Don't you tell me The Doctor doesn't exist!

My love of history has been life-long. My sister got this World War II Day by Day book for me in 2007. It is interesting to see how events and all that line up across the course of the war. 

Ok...I'm also slightly obsessed with The Beatles. The Beatles - The BBC Archives is a fun collection of copies of letters, lyrics, notes, and so.much.history. This stays well away from the children, for sure!
I recently ordered this book from Usborne. Where's Jane? is a search/hidden object/eye spy type of book. All placed in the settings that you could find in Regency England. 

I have several OLD books, ok, more than several. It's another obsession, I admit it. But I have some really cool titles. One of my favorites is a copy of Treasure Island. Published in 1906. Needless to say, the kids are not allowed anywhere near these old ones. 
There are quite a few copies of Peter Pan on my bookshelf. And the kids are not allowed to touch ANY of them. They do have a copy of their own. And I do read them the story...
This particular edition of Pride & Prejudice is SO beautiful. Filled with recipes and artwork and color! I'm terrified to make any of the recipes, for fear of getting it dirty. Maybe what I'll do is make a photocopy of the recipe first. LOL!
Several years ago I discovered Martha Finley's Millie Keith, A Life of Faith series, at our local library. I was a young girl and didn't realize that the original books had been published years before. In a box of old books my Granny sent, there was a copy of Mildred's Boys and Girls...And it took me walking by it on my shelf for months before I made the connection! I laughed so hard when I realized that it was an ORIGINAL copy of this series that I loved so much!
There is such a thrill that runs through me when I hold William Shakespeare's works in my hands. So many brilliant words all in one place. I admit I haven't read all of them. I have read a few though! And did you know we owe so many of our common phrases to Shakespeare? Like, "In a pickle". Oh yes...Thank you Will!

Romanov - Nadine Brandes

Saturday, May 18, 2019

My Rating
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

About the Book

The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are either to release the spell and deal with the consequences, or to enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.
(From Thomas Nelson)

My Thoughts

History and fantasy collide in this entrancing tale of the Romanovs. This is a part of history that has long brought sorrow and heartache to many, myself included. Brandes uses her gift of story-weaving to bring Anastasia “Nastya's" story to life in a new way.

Historically, Romanov is very accurate, which readers may find difficult to read. The events surrounding the Romanovs final months are devastating and heartbreaking. Even though I was preparing myself for the tragedy, it was still very hard to read. Through it all, Brandes honors the Romanovs in her storytelling.

The fantasy side of the story is unique and beautiful. Brandes gives a fresh exploration of the land of magic and myth. Words and writing, family and friendship, loyalties and betrayals, are waiting for you just behind the cover of Romanov. This is a story readers will love and cherish for many years and through many rereadings.

I received a complimentary copy of Fawkes from the publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

About the Author

Nadine Brandes once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the author of the award-winning Out of Time Series and her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she's not busy writing novels about bold living, she's adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. She and her Auror husband live in a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.

More Books by Nadine on Bookworm Mama

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