Book Review: The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

the medallion cathy gohlke review

the medallion cathy gohlke blog tour


For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.

Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen–Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war–if any of them survive–is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.

Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.

  • Publication Date: June 4, 2019

  • Tyndale House Publishers

  • Hardcover, Paperback, eBook; 432 Pages

  • Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Christian

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.70

Heidi’s Rating:

5 Stars

Suggested Drink Parings:


Honey and Lavender Tea


Mocha Latte

I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.
— Anne Frank

Why I Chose This Book

When I first heard about this book I knew I had to sign up for the blog tour. I always enjoy reading WWII stories- despite some of them being very hard to read!

First Initial Thoughts

Rosa and Itzhak are newly married when WWII begins and the German’s start occupying Poland. They are both Jewish and head to Warsaw to take care of Rosa’s mother. They were only going to be there for a short time but as well know from history, Jews were soon prevented from traveling anywhere without proper papers/permission from the Germans. Rosa is a headstrong and determined lady. She kept everything together for her mother and Husband despite the difficulties they were facing.

Rosa then becomes pregnant and shortly after the baby is born - she has to make a decision that will forever alter their lives.

Sophia is a young English woman who is living in Poland and is also recently married to a man named Janek. Janek is a Polish man and is away fighting the war. She soon makes friends with a woman named Terri and one day gets swept away into the world of the underground; where individuals save Jews and Jewish children from the Ghetto and eventually the concentration camps.


Cathy brought Poland to life and the hardship the country went through during the German occupation. She had such a talent in describing the details of the Ghetto, city, and surrounding areas that it felt like you were there along with the story. I think this helps make the reader feel more emotional when reading it.

Yet a part of you still believes you can fight and survive no matter what your mind knows. It’s not so strange. Where there’s still life, there’s still hope. What happens is up to God
— Louis Zamperini

Final Thoughts

Basically my whole feeling reading the book:

This was one epic read. I won’t give anything away but it was a one big tragic story. We all know WWII in Europe was devastating, however, this story really connected you with the characters and it was hard to read some of the circumstances they had to go through.

I found that Sophia and Rosa were very similar in character. They both experienced infertility issues and loss of loved ones. I won’t say how their paths crossed but I would do what Sophia chose to do in a heartbeat.

What I found interesting is that this book is based on true events (well duh..) but what I didn’t know is that the Germans forced the Jews into Ghetto’s in the middle of the city - blocking them off from the rest of the city. They would only give them little food to live on, barely any medical care, and families would be forced to live together in the same apartment. Often 2-3 families (10-20 or so) would be living in the same small apartment. They also didn’t have running water, electricity, and no heat. This led to Typhus and other diseases.

This was BEFORE they took them to the concentration camps. It was also a time when many families outside the wall or Ghetto that would take Jewish children into their care and pretend that they were their own. Many families would risk their lives to save children (and adults) during this time. One of the characters in the book - Irena was a real person. So I thought that it was interesting for Cathy to include that.

I couldn’t imagine what these people went through. It is one period of our history that many try to forget. I also think that without these stories, we don’t have messages of hope. Hope that one day things will get better. I often hear stories of Jews in concentration camps that held onto that thread of hope - hope of freedom - those were the one’s that survived. The one’s who lost all faith, died sooner (at least the one’s that made it that far).

Would I Recommend?

Yes! However, if you are sensitive to this type of material, you may want to second think about reading this book. It is very hard to read, emotional wise.

About The Author

Cathy Gohlke

Cathy Gohlke is the three-time Christy Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels The Medallion, Until We Find Home, Secrets She Kept (winner of the 2016 Carol and INSPY Awards), Saving Amelie (winner of the 2015 INSPY Award), Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), William Henry Is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008), which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award.

Cathy writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons from history. Her stories reveal how people break the chains that bind them and triumph over adversity through faith.
When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren.

Visit her website at and on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.

Giveaway Time!!

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away 5 paperback copies of The Medallion! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Purchase links:


the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I am participating in the HFVBT blog tour for this book. I was sent an ARC copy of this book to review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Sweet On You by Becky Wade

Sweet on you becky wade book review


Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who’s spent the past eighteen months traveling the world. He’s achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him–Britt’s heart.

When Zander’s uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But while Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle’s tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light?

  • Genre: Christian Romance/Suspense

  • Publisher: Bethany House

  • Published: 4/2019

  • Pages: 386

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.52 Stars

What People Are Saying About Sweet On You

“Wade will delight readers with mouthwatering descriptions of chocolate and cozy scenes of friendship. Series fans will find this a fitting conclusion.” – Publishers Weekly

“It’s a rare thing that Becky has pulled off – when the stellar first novel is improved on by the second, and then the second by the third! The Bradford Sisters Romances are some of the very best contemporary romances I have read and will be ones I will reread many times over.” – Relz Reviewz

Heidi’s Rating:

5 Stars

Suggested Drink Parings:


Dark Chocolate Tea


Caffe Moca

The more I search the world, the more certain I am that the person I love the most is right where I began.
— Britt

Why I Choose This Book

I am part of the launch team for Becky’s new release, Sweet On You. I absolutely adore her charming and sweet romance books. I love that her books have a mystery tied in with the romance and the covers don’t exactly give that way.

First Initial Thoughts

Britt is a young entrepreneur that has her own chocolate shop. She absolutely loves cooking and especially has a thing for chocolate. Her life or love life I should say is lacking success. In the beginning we learn that she often only goes out with one man for a period of 1-3 months and then drops them because she gets “bored”. However, there is a reason for this and we learn that later on in the story. I also think she secretly like Zander more than a friend but she kept denying it to herself.

Zander is Britt’s best friend and has been for the last 13 years. He just came back from a tour around Europe. The real reason he went away for a year was because he has a huge crush on Britt and couldn’t stand watching her date other men, his heart was just too broken. I kind of didn’t really like Zander at first because of this. I understand if you are a teenager with a huge crush and are too afraid to share your feelings - but as an adult it should be expressed to the other individual. Not hanging onto it for years.

Zander’s uncle Frank raised him when he was a child and one day he dies mysteriously of a heart attack. Zander has his suspicions while everyone thinks he just died of a heart attack. However, Frank was in good health and it just seemed odd. Soon Britt and Zander find out things about Frank that they may have not really wanted to know about…


This book does take place in Washington. The small town Britt lives in reminds me of the town I went to College at in Oregon. Small, quaint, and lively. I definitely loved the description of her chocolate store. I would definitely probably want to visit there a few times. Chocolate is one of my weaknesses!

How could an all-powerful God love her enough to meet her here? She didn’t know how. She only knew that, incomprehensibly, He did love her that much. Because He was here.
— Britt

Final Thoughts

Be forewarned that this book mentions a lot of chocolate and goodies - so if you are hungry, eat something sweet before reading this book. Or you may be tempted to eat something sweet!

I really enjoyed the mystery part of the story. I won’t spoil anything but I found it very plausible and I liked that it had a very believable ending. It almost seemed a little too easy in the way they found out the truth - but thinking about it, it seemed very realistic. So I appreciated that aspect.

I think Britt most of all grew in this book. I won’t say much about Zander because my feelings about him stayed the same. I won’t spoil why. Britt realized why she was so drafty with men. I think the main thing she learned here was to trust in God for who was right for her. She was kind of doing her own thing instead of leaning in on God. Letting him help her chose the man that was right for her. I think we all have experienced this once in our life!

As I was reading this book, I thought to myself that this would make the perfect Hallmark mystery movie. I would definitely want to see this book played out on the screen.

Would I Recommend?

Yes! If you love a mystery romance with lots of yummy sweets you will definitely love this one.

You can purchase the book —-> HERE

Are you also a chocoholic? What’s your favorite kind of chocolate or sweet?

Please Note: I am part of Becky’s launch team for this book. Therefore, I was sent a copy of the book from the publisher to review. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Flight Of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

flight of the raven morgan l busse book review

Banner - Flight of the Raven


Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family's destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new life as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill. 

While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself.

With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: embrace the Dark Lady's offer, or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other offers freedom. But time is running out, and soon her choice will be made for her.

  • Genre: Christian Fantasy

  • Publisher: Bethany House

  • Published: 4/30/2019

  • Pages: 352

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.52 Stars

Heidi’s Rating:

5 Stars

Suggested Drink Pairings:


Cinnamon Tea


Cinnamon Latte

Why I Chose This Book:

When I first heard about this tour I knew I had to join. I absolutely loved the first book in the series and definitely wanted to read the next one in the series.

First Initial Thoughts:

This book picks right off from the previous book in the series, Mark of the Raven. Therefore, if you haven’t read the first one, I would definitely read that one first.

Selene is now banished from her home and is on the run with Damien. In the first part of the series she was growing cold due to her dreamwalking gift. I think not for Damien her heart would have grown just as dark as her mother’s. She was able to escape her home and use her powers for the purpose it was intended for. I won’t say what her powers were used for previously - no spoilers!

We were just introduced to Damien half way through the previous book and I liked that we got to learn more about him and his home in this one. I really liked Damien. He is very loyal to those that he knows yet he was still coming into his own and becoming more confident as a leader.


The setting where Damien’s castle is at really reminded me of Dragonstone in Game of Thrones. It was right on the cliff and overlooked the ocean. It also had carvings - just like Dragonstone in Game of Thrones. I found it kind of interesting that there were 7 kingdoms in the Ravenwood Saga much like Game of Thrones. I could definitely see the influence from the show in this story. Maybe it’s just me - but I could see it.

Final Thoughts:

I felt that this book was a little slower than the first one. It didn’t have as much action (except for some parts). I always feel that the second book in a series (if there is more than 2) that it’s a builder book. It’s leading up to what will happen in the rest of the series. And i could definitely feel that with this book.

I also really liked how Selene and Damien’s relationship grew from the first book. They were rushed in a marriage they probably both didn’t want. But there love for each other grew in this book, and it was sweet and adorable.

Also, I did want to mention that since this was fantasy there was magic in this series. Such as powers that each of the houses are given. So some may be wary of that but it didn’t really bother me- as that was the main aspect of this series. Christian themes were subtly put in and I liked how Morgan included them. It wasn’t obvious and I liked that.

I have to say that this was probably my first Christian Fantasy series that I really liked besides Chronicles of Narnia. It flowed really well and it progressed quickly. Overall, I really enjoyed the second book in the series. I am excited for the next one in the series to find out what happens next for Selene and Damien.

Would I Recommend?

Yes! if you love fantasy then you need to check out this series!

About The Author

Morgan Busse

Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series and the steampunk series The Soul Chronicles. She is a Christy and INSPY Award finalist and won the Carol Award in 2018 for best in Christian speculative fiction. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel.

Follow Morgan L. Busse:

Giveaway Time!

Giveaway - Flight of the Raven

- 1 winner will receive print copies of Mark of the RavenFlight of the Raven, and a $20 Amazon gift card

- 2 winner winners will receive print copies of Mark of the Raven and Flight of the Raven

- US only

- Ends June 7, 2019

Purchase Links:

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Do you enjoy reading fantasy books/series? If so which one’s are your favorites? Share in the comments!

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I am part of the Prism Book Tour for this book. I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher to review. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: The Heart of a King by Jill Eileen Smith

the heart of a king jill eileen smith


Get swept away by a story of love, loss, and longing

King Solomon could--and did--have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all of his wealth and wisdom, did he or the women he loved ever find what they were searching for?

In this engrossing novel, find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you'll meet four remarkable women: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and theirs, you'll grapple with whether this king's storied wisdom ultimately benefited him and those he loved . . . or betrayed them.

  • Genre: Biblical Fiction

  • Published: 4/30/2019

  • Publisher: Revell

  • Pages: 432

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.47 Stars

Praise for the Daughters of the Promised Land Series

"Smith infuses this well-known story with emotional depth and a modern sensibility not typically seen in historical novels."--Publishers Weekly on A Passionate Hope

"[A] richly descriptive and dramatic novel."--Booklist on Redeeming Grace

"Impeccable research and vivid prose."--Library Journal on The Crimson Cord

Heidi’s Rating:

5 Stars

Suggested Drink Pairings:


Moroccan Mint Tea


Arabic Coffee

And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind.
— 2 Chronicles 9:23

Why I Chose This Book

When I first heard about this book I was so ecstatic to read it. Biblical fiction is one of my favorite sub genres of Christian Fiction. I also really like Jill’s writing so I was excited to read her new book.

First Initial Thoughts

The book starts out with Solomon as a prince and King David is still ruling over the land with Queen Bathsheba. Solomon really wants to become Co-Regent so that one day he can become King.

In this story there are 4 main women that he eventually marries and has children with. However, Biblical accounts state that King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. I couldn’t imagine! Keeping tabs on all the wives and children…

Naamah is the first wife Solomon takes during his reign. He marries her before King David passes away. I kind of found her to be clingy and determined to be the only wife of King Solomon. However, Solomon does not feel the same way about her. I think she knew all along that his love was unrequited but she was determined to show him that her love was all he needed.

When King David is about to die, Abishag is hired to become his wife. There she takes care of King David in his last days. Abishag is a daughter of a shepherdess. Definitely not fit to be a wife of a King but Solomon finds her attractive and slowly falls in love with her. Abishag was probably my favorite wife of his. She was obedient, devoted, and truly did love Solomon.

Just as we are introduced to Abishag we meet Siti. Siti is the daughter of a Pharaoh in Egypt. King Solomon must go to Egypt because they took over Gezer. And King Solomon wants it back. To get back Gezer he has to marry Siti. He is not happy about this because Siti does not believe in God and wants to practice her ways back in Jerusalem. I was kind of indifferent with Siti. She kind of did have an influence on Solomon however, and seemed to get whatever she asked for. She was definitely spoiled…

Towards the end we meet Queen Sheba. She rules over Sheba or what we now know as Ethopia. King Solomon wants to trade with her to obtain her exotic spices and animals. I liked Queen Sheba. She was smart, witty and knew how to rule a land. And she wasn’t afraid to. However, I didn’t like what she did to King Solomon towards the end.


The book is primarily set in Israel but we are taken to far away places such as Ethopia and Egypt. It was so interesting to learn about the land during that time and what people called the various places compared to what they call them now. Jill really did an amazing job immersing the reader into ancient Israel, its culture, and history. It definitely seemed like a magical place.

He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.
— 1 Kings 11:3

Final Thoughts

King Solomon… he was definitely what we could call a… player. I found that he would marry just about anyone to gain allegiance and lands. Whether or not he loved them. I did find him to be honorable though and he did try to keep peace over the land. I think that is why he took on so many wives because he wanted to avoid conflict. He would marry the daughters of their opponent’s land just to save bloodshed.

However, as the story went on it seemed like he further and further went away from laws of God. One particular law as we all know - is to not have in abundance. And King Solomon was the epitome of abundance. As stated above he took on so many wives and also built many palaces, owned thousands of horses, and owned many chariots. I didn’t have a feeling that he was greedy. I think he just didn’t know how to rule in terms of conflict.

What I found interesting is that I didn’t know is that Jill already wrote eBooks’s on all of the wives mentioned in this book. So I found that some were surprised that this book was kind of repetitive and re told the stories from those eBook’s. I have never read them so these stories were new to me. But I could see this being an issue with fans of Jill’s books.

What also surprised me is that I didn’t end up hating any of his wives in this story. Mostly I just found one of their traits or personality annoying but I didn’t find that I didn’t like them.

Would I Recommend?

Yes! If you have read Jill’s previous eBook’s the stories may seem familiar but I like that she put them all together and re wrote them. It’s great for those that want to save time and just want to read one book.

About The Author

jill eileen smith

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the biblical fiction series The Wives of King David, Wives of the Patriarchs, and Daughters of the Promised Land, as well as the nonfiction book When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Connect With Jill:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Purchase Links:

Amazon | B & N | Audible | Apple Books

Have you read about King Solomon in the Bible? If so, what do you think of him?

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Note: I am part of the launch team for this book. Therefore, I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher to review and promote. I was not compensated to do this however.