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Favorite WWII Books of 2016

Rena was on the first Jewish transport to Auschwitz and endured the death camp for over three years. She fulfilled the promise she made to her mother years before—to take care of her little sister. Beautiful and extremely heart wrenching. Five stars.

By Gerda Weissmann Klein

Gerda was just a teenager when the Germans invaded Poland and everyone and everything she loved was taken from her. She survived labor camps and a death march in the winter of 1945. She was liberated by American troops and married Kurt Klein, one of the American soldiers who liberated her. Five stars. 

 Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends
By William "Wild Bill" Guarnere and Edward "Babe" Heffron

I recently wrote a review for this book HERE. It's told back and forth between two paratroopers who fought with Company E, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne. I've seen other reviews that said, "It was like sitting in the living room and listening to your grandpa tell stories." I have to agree with them. I learned so much, laughed at the veterans banter, and was brought to tears by what they went through. Four stars.

By Isabella Leitner

This was a library book, but I kept it long after I finished just so I could re-read parts. The writing is both beautiful and tragic. "Potyo was just thirteen; she was my sister. She had the wisdom of a child of war. She was full of fear, yet tiptoed with tenderness, laughter, and love in a world of madmen. She was a weeping willow, a song of sorrow, a poem of infinite beauty. 'Why does Hitler hate me? Why does he love hate, Mama? I am only thirteen; I have songs yet to learn, games yet to play. Give me time to live, give me time to die. Mama, how can I do all the living in just an inch of time?'"  Four Stars. 

By Ruta Sepetys

This book introduced me to the little known history of Lithuanians under Stalin's rule. I'm super excited that it's being made into a movie! Four stars. 

What were your favorite reads of 2016?


"Sweet Remembrance" Book Trailer

I remember The Little Match Girl being such a tragic tale, but somehow sweet—bittersweet. That’s how this WWII retelling of the story was. I don’t like tragedies, but if you’re going to write one, write it like Emily Ann Putzke did with "Sweet Remembrance." It was captivating. The history of the Jews being brutally persecuted by Germans is hard—the kind of hard where the enormity of it steals the breath from your lungs for a moment. The lost dreams so bitter. But the remembering of a heartfelt romance so sweet. All in all, it’s a sad tale of a horrific time in history … but it ends with a curious kind of hope. A hope that I want to hold onto. Very well written. A bittersweet, heart-tugging story of an ordinary girl in a terrible time. Shantelle Mary Hannu

Sweet Remembrance is my contribution to Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales. The boxset is available on Kindle for $4.99. Grab a copy and let us know what you think by leaving a review on Amazon and Goodreads!


"ONCE" Is Now Available!

Break out the confetti! Today's the day! Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales is now available on Amazon! It's been quite an adventure to collaborate with Suzannah Rowntree, Elisabeth Grace Foley, Rachel Heffington, J.Grace Pennington, and Hayden Wand. I've learned a lot through working with these authors and I'm so excited for you all to read our boxset!

To give you a taste of the collection, we're each sharing an excerpt from our retellings today. So without further ado, a snippet Sweet Remembrance, my WWII retelling of The Little Match Girl.

I soaked in every detail—the polished floors, the feel of lush fur coats against my arm as ladies brushed past me, the smell of cigar smoke that hung in the air, and the hazy, warm, elegant atmosphere that made my skin tingle with excitement. I followed Romek to our seats, my eyes drawn to the lights glimmering above us. A din of voices flooded the room.
“I’m sorry our seats are so far in the back,” he said.
“I don’t mind.” I really didn’t. I was bewitched by the sights and sounds. Even the seats felt like heaven. My body relaxed as I sank into the velvet cushion. I glanced over at Romek. He was staring at me with an amused grin.
“What?” I asked, blushing. He must have thought me silly to be so enthralled by something so natural to the rest of society.
“You’re refreshing.”
Unsure of his meaning, I ignored the statement and made one of my own instead. “Stop staring at me.”
“I’m not staring at you!” He quickly looked down at the program he was bending into a mangled-up fan.
“Yes, you were. It makes me nervous.” The lights began to dim. I scooted to the edge of my seat, hands clasped tightly in front of me.
“I wasn’t staring!” He lowered his voice to a defensive whisper. He just had to get the last word in.
“Shh! The concert’s starting.”
He fell back into his chair with a defeated sigh.


Be sure to read excerpts from the other retellings in this collection!

Mountain of the Wolf by Elisabeth Grace Foley
She But Sleepth by Rachel Heffington
Rumpled by J. Grace Pennington
Death Be Not Proud by Suzannah Rowntree
With Blossoms Gold by Hayden Wand

Grab a copy of Once:Six Historically Inspired Fairytales for $4.99 on Kindle! Please spread the word about our boxset using the hashtag #OnceFairyTales and adding Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales to your Goodreads shelf.