Wow! This was a banner month! I read 8 books this month! This is honestly not a normal month of reading for me. I typically read 4-5 books a month and some months I may only ready 2. But as the country was on a stay at home order there was plenty of time to read in April. My reading this month focused on 2 distinct genres, historical fiction and personal development, with one exception.

Wine Folly: Magnum Edition The Master Guide

This book was my one exception this month. Although, I guess if you wanted to stretch the meaning of personal development it could fit under that genre. 😂🍷 Cheers!

Why did I read this book? Well, I was introduced to the movie, Uncorked, which can be found on Netflix. The movie portrays a young man who is determined to become a master sommelier even though his father would prefer he join the family bbq restaurant business. I really loved the movie! I felt it did a good job of showing how a person may struggle to find their own path when the people they love the most are trying to push them onto another road. So…that that movie led me to research becoming a sommelier, which led me to this book. This book is considered by most the first step in educating yourself on the complexities of wine. Who doesn’t love a great glass of wine? If you’re raising your hand right now, you simply haven’t had a great glass of wine yet in your life. I encourage to explore wine and start taste testing asap. This book is the perfect companion to your journey. I’m looking forward to hosting a wine tasting when the COVID-19 stay at home order is lifted. Follow my social media accounts for all the fun!

Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire by Jen Hatmaker & #Maxout Your Life by Ed Mylett

Fierce is the fourth book I’ve read by Jen Hatmaker and I have loved them all. This book really focuses on a personal journey of finding your true self. Most importantly it focuses on not only finding your true self but being fierce, free, and full of fire to live that true self out loud. The book has twelve chapters with each chapter focusing on a personal characteristic. Those characteristics fall under 5 categories…Who I Am, What I Need, What I Want, What I Believe, How I Connect. At the end of the book Jen encourages you to write down your twelve statements, each statement focusing on a characteristic. Your true self is a gift to all those around you! Search for her and embrace her! We need her! **side note: There is a big part of this story that focuses on Christianity and her beliefs in God. I realize this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. BUT…I still encourage you to read the book. It’s fantastic!

#Maxout Your Life is a short, 100 pages to be exact, book that is jammed pack with great advice. I love a good personal development book that gets right to the point. I enjoy a good personal story but I actually don’t want the author to spend too much time telling that story. Get to the advice! Ed Mylett does not disappoint in this respect. I highlighted several phrases and entire paragraphs throughout this book. I have also referenced back to it several times already in the last 30 days. Is there a better recommendation for a book than that? I think not! My favorite quote from the book is, “Butterflies are memory makers.” You’ll have to read the book to find out what that means. 😉

The remaining five books I read in April were historical fiction. More specifically, they were World War II historical fiction. I read this genre more than any other genre. I especially love a historical fiction novel that is based on a true story. Hannah’s War by Jan Eliasberg and Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon are both based on true stories. It’s important to note that although these books are inspired by historical figures, the stories and the portraits of the characters are fiction.

Hannah’s War by Jan Eliasberg was inspired by Dr. Lise Meitner. Dr. Meitner was the woman who discovered nuclear fission. That discovery led to the development of the atomic bomb. Dr. Meitner was also Jewish. This book was well written and as all well written historical fiction books do, it led me to research. A great book will do that! It will lead you to the next discovery. I especially loved the attention to the passion about science. My oldest son is studying nuclear engineering and any book that helps me understand that passion is a win.

Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon was by far the best book I read in April. Truly, the BEST! This book was inspired by Nancy Wake who was a heroine of World War II. Nancy Wake was a Secret Agent for the British in the SOE. Nancy was air dropped into France during the occupation and was crucial in organizing the resistance to prepare them to fight along side the Allies after they stormed the beaches of Normandy. I don’t know that I have ever read about a braver woman. This book had my full attention from the very first sentence to the last. It also brought me to tears at one point. Go! Buy this book NOW!! You won’t regret it! Oh, I also discovered my new favorite cocktail in this book. I’ll be posting the recipe soon and making it on Instagram.

All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White was spectacular. This is the third book these authors have written together. This book connects three women from three different time periods…1914, 1942, and 1964. All of these women spend time at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris. For the record, I will be traveling to Paris to visit this hotel. It’s on the bucket list now! This book had a wonderful and unexpected twist at the very end that I absolutely loved.

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer was inspired by her own family history. The story jumps between Alina in 1942 Poland and Alice in present day Florida. I actually figured out the twist in this book before the ending but I still loved every written word. There was also a wonderful secondary story in this book about a mother finding her voice again and a father finding a relationship with his son. Give me all the stories about women finding their own strength!

undefinedDaughter of the Reich by Louise Fern was an ARC I received from NetGalley. This book takes place in Germany in the years leading up to World War II. Hetty is a young German girl, the daughter of a high ranking Nazi officer. As a young girl she is eager to do her part for the Reich. But when she meets a Jewish boy from her past, all of her beliefs are called into question. There are very few World War II historical fiction books that I have encountered that are written from the perspective of a Nazi. Every single one I have read, this one included, has been amazing. The author that can endear you towards a Nazi is a special writer indeed. She brought so much depth to Hetty’s character and to watch Hetty grow throughout the story was wonderfully unexpected in so many ways. This book releases on May 12, 2020.

I hope that you will give some, or better yet, all of these books a try. I enjoyed each and every one! I love that moment when you read the last word of a book. That moment when you close the back cover and simply sit in contemplation about the story. For some books, that moment is short lived and I’m ready to move onto the next book quickly. But, the best books…those books involve deep reflection. May your next read end in a great moment of reflection.

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