Cavendon Hall

Book 34 in 2018.

“Cavendon Hall”  by Barbara Taylor Bradford.


I had a friend suggest this to me.  It is book one in the “Cavendon Hall Series”.  I believe there are four books thus far.  I already requested book two from the library.  This book takes place during 1913-1917 (maybe 1919?  I cant remember – ha) , at the English Estate Cavedon Hall.  There are the Ingrams who are the aristocrats, and the Swanns who have been working for the Ingrams for generations.  Both families lives have been intertwined through the years.

Now, I absolutely loved “Downton Abbey”, and this is along the same lines.  Upstairs folk and downstairs folk, living together, yet separate.  Drama everywhere you go.  Good stuff.  I did thoroughly enjoy the characters.  However, I felt like it covered so many years, that some things were rushed, or skipped over to move on.  The story has a whole was still good.  Overall afterthought, yay for a new series!




Hitler’s Forgotten Children

Book 33 in 2018.

“Hitler’s Forgotten Children” by, Ingrid Von Oelhafen and Tim Tate


The depths to which the destruction and complete devastation Hitler and his regime bestowed upon the world never ceases to blow my mind completely off my head.  As in, no longer there.  As in, there is no way this really happened and people actually went along with it.  But it did.  The inhuman cruelty and atrocities of the Holocaust are so despicable, grotesque and evil in every sense of the word.  The “Lebensborn Program”, is another diabolical sick plan, to rid the world of “impurities” and fill it with a new, stronger Aryan nation.  Beginning in 1935 the Nazi’s encouraged their top elite  Schutzstaffel (known as the SS) members to have as many children as possible, with approved Aryan German women, to create the perfect master race.

When the Nazi’s plan was failing to replace all of the men who were dying during WWII, they came up with a plan to continue their “Lebensborn Program”.   After occupying new countries, they would round up the people of some of the villages and have their children (infant to age 18) examined physically and mentally, to assess their racial purity qualifications.  If they did not, they were sent back to their parents.  If they did… they were sent to a Lebensborn home, and begin the “Germanization” process, to become a part of the new thousand year Reich reign.  The stolen children, would then be sent to a good Nazi home to be fostered and indoctrinated to be perfect, loyal, German Nazi’s.

Ingrid Von Oelhafen, discovered in her sixties, that she was in fact one of the Lebensborn children who had been kidnapped when she was nine months old. She had found out in her teen years that she was a foster child, but her foster parents, never told her any details of who she was.  It took her fifteen years, to put the pieces together, and discover her true identity.

This book.  Ingrid’s story.  Whew.  It took me to places in my brain, that  this blessed American mother  could not fathom.  The horror of war and occupation is just beyond comprehension.    I know that WWII era is not for everyone.  I have said before, that for whatever reason I am drawn to it.   Overall afterthought, extraordinary.

Simple Genius

Book 32 in 2018.

“Simple Genius”, by David Baldacci.

My boy. David Baldacci. Always a good read. This is number three in the “King and Maxwell” Series. Poor Michelle is struggling a bit with some of the trauma from their last case. She finds herself in a mental health facility, with Sean footing the bill, always the faithful partner.

In search of funds, Sean takes on a case solving a murder on the property of a top secret laboratory with mathematical geniuses working around the clock to solve and create codes, to keep the world as we know it safe. Across the river is the notorious Camp Peary, home to the CIA. Are the two places working against each other? Are they both keeping the best interests of the American people priority? Sean will discover some scary truths.

Oh Sean and Michelle. I know there are only maybe two or so books left in this series, but I cannot wait to read them. Overall afterthought, #kingandmaxwell.

Girls in White Dresses

Book 31 in 2018.

“Girls in White Dresses”, by Jennifer Close

I have been driving a lot lately, between track meets and baseball games and practices. I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I know this season is going to end one day, and I will miss the hustle. In the meantime I just wanted to listen to something while driving the country back roads on my own.

This book follows several friends through the end of college into their thirties. It follows so many friends, I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. There were some characters I wanted to hear more of their journey, but never heard about them again. Then some, I didn’t want to know about at all. It was not my favorite story. Overall afterthought, eh.

The Essence of Malice

Book 30 in 2018.

“The Essence of Malice”, by Ashley Weaver.

This is Book number four in the Amory Ames Mystery Series. Well shucks, Amory and Milo are growing on me. They are a wealthy aristocratic British married couple, from the 1930’s, who travel throughout Europe solving murders and mysteries. They have had in the past a turbulent marriage and are continually learning to trust each other.

In this book they find themselves helping Milo’s nanny who feels her new employer has recently died, was actually a victim of murder. The Ames immerse themselves in the lives of the Belanger family perfume empire.

I guess if you read any of my blog, you know I love a good series. So I am somewhat biased in saying this is my book jam. Overall afterthought, give me more!

The Girl Who Smiled Beads

Book 29 in 2018.

“The Girl Who Smiled Beads”, by Clementine Wamariya

I almost have no words to express how I feel after reading this. It has taken me on quite the emotional journey. Clementine was 6 years old in 1994 when the genocide in Rwanda began. Her and her 14 year old sister Claire, were separated from their family. They begin an incredible, heart wrenching journey through refugee camps across 7 different countries through 7 years , finally ending with a refugee status in America. Clementine takes you back and forth from their journey in Africa, and their journey learning how to live “safe” in America.

On page 240, I think she sums up what you should walk away with after reading about her life.

Here’s my story, use it now or later. When you need it, it’ll be there for you. Maybe someday you’ll be facing a challenge, and you’ll think of my story. You’ll think of Claire. You’ll remember to put your ego in a bag and throw that bag away. You’ll remember to be kind and generous and a better human. Maybe you’ll realize that you need to learn to tell your own. You’ll start thinking :How did I come to have my possessions? How did I come to believe in my God?

I think as a human you need to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. And remember you could be them. We are all people, no one is better than anyone, we are just born into different circumstances. Overall afterthought, challenging, yet worth it.

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra

Book 28 in 2018.

“The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra” by, Vaseem Kahn.

Looking for a different book on the shelf at the library I ran across this colorful book. Loving a good mystery I thought I would give it a try. It takes place in India, which so far I have only read one other book that took place there. Traveling in my pj’s, yes please.

Ashwin Chopra has been an Inspector in Mumbai for over twenty years. When health conditions force him into an early retirement, he is not quite ready to settle down. There is a murder to solve and he doesn’t want to rest until he cracks the case. In the meantime he receives an inheritance from a favorite uncle , a baby elephant. They become the most unlikely partners!

I throughly enjoyed this story! I loved Chopra and his crankiness. I enjoyed his wife’s spunk. This is first book of Vaseem Kahn. I believe there are a couple more, and I will for sure check them out! Overall afterthought, witty.

The Book of Summer

Book 27 of 2018.

“The Book of Summer” by, Michelle Gable

Bess Codman comes home to Sconset, Nantucket to try and convince her feisty mother to move from their family’s summer house. It is located on the side of a cliff that has been rapidly deteriorating into the sea. It has been in the family for three generations, and is about to celebrate its 100 year anniversary. Her mother Cis, is fighting hard to save it, but it may be too late. The only thing Bess wants to save is the “Book of Summer”, that has had guests writing about their time at the house. It has many entries from her grandmother, through many summers of love, life, good times and bad. So much history in one book!

The story goes back and forth, from the present to the past. Sharing the experiences of the generations of women who have lived in the Summer House. I was more interested in the present. Ha. I couldn’t get into the “past” stories. Bess and her current predicaments kept me more interested. So for the book as a whole, I liked half of it. I would not be against trying another book of Michelle Gable’s though. Overall afterthought, it was ok.

Hissy Fit

Book 26 in 2018.

“Hissy Fit” by Mary Kay Andrews.

I was super excited when I saw this! I thought that I had read all of Mary Kay Andrews’ books. When you read her stories you know exactly what your getting (see spoiler alert). I love them all. They are happy endings, with a little drama, mystery and romance. What more do you need in a great beach read?

***Spoiler Alert***

The 6 Main Epic Things You are Getting

1. Main character: southern woman in her mid thirties.

2. Woman dumps man (husband, boyfriend,fiancé )when she finds out he is a cheat

3. Woman has a whirlwind run through her life and she must pull herself back together

4. New man enters, the best of the best, woman must resist said charms (she just got out of a bad relationship for Pete’s sake!!)

5. A mystery/problem of some sort arises and must be solved

6. Woman solves mystery/problem. Woman falls in love with new man. They live happily ever after.

Different people, different southern places, different similar (yet not the same)situations, all wrapped up in great stories. Overall afterthought, love it.