Book Review: Port of No Return by Michelle Saftich

port of no return michelle saftich book review
Port of No Return Blog Tour michelle saftich

The synopsis on the back of the book:

Contessa and Ettore Saforo awake to a normal day in war-stricken, occupied Italy. By the end of the day, their house is in ruins and they must seek shelter and protection wherever they can. But the turbulent politics of 1944 refuses to let them be.

As Tito and his Yugoslav Army threaten their German-held town of Fiume, Ettore finds himself running for his life, knowing that neither side is forgiving of those who have assisted the enemy. His wife and children must also flee the meagre life their town can offer, searching for a better life as displaced persons.

Ettore and Contessa’s battle to find each other, and the struggle of their family and friends to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a devastating war, provide a rich and varied account of Italian migration to Australia after World War II.

What can you do when you have nowhere left to call home? Port of No Return considers this question and more in a novel that is full of action, pain and laughter — a journey you will want to see through to the very end.

Port of No Return is the first novel in a series of two.

  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Published: 7/2015
  • Pages: 238
  • Goodreads Rating: 4.2 Stars
Port of no return michelle saftich review
Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
— Joshua 1:9

Why I choose this book

I am part of the Historical Fiction book tours hosted by Amy Bruno. I felt like it was a good book to remind me of how thankful I am for the lifestyle I have right now. 

First Initial Thoughts

The story started with Ettore and Contessa in a war-stricken Fiume, Italy. Before the war, they had a good life and a good business. The war, however, caused people to lose a lot as we all remember from historical accounts. They have four children and live in a tiny apartment above their closed business. Ettore works for the Germans to help support his family. Their life was turned upside down when the Germans attached Fiume and destroyed their home. 

Many women during this time did everything they could to support and feed their children. And Contessa was this woman. She was formidable. Even though she had a tough exterior, she had this soft emotional side. A side that dearly loved her children and husband and felt a tremendous loss. 

Ettore was equally charming. He loved his family and provided for them. At the beginning of the book, he wasn't the main part of the story, but he gained an important role later on. 


Michelle did an amazing job bringing a war-stricken Italy to life. You could imagine the hardships these people had to go through - from losing their home to losing loved ones. I couldn't imagine going through such a hard war and then just as you thought it was going to be ok,  the country was taken over by the communists. 

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
— Psalm 9:9-10

Final Thoughts

I haven't read too many WWII books set in Italy. I have seen Life is Beautiful. I was a little worried that it was going to be similar - but luckily the story wasn't that depressing. 

Fiume which is now called Rijeka and in the country, Croatia. Right after WWII ended, the Yugoslavians (communists) took over the city of Fiume and much of this part of Europe. Many Italians during this time fled from Fiume to Trieste where the Americans held refugee camps. 

When the Yugoslavians took over they captured any man who worked for the Germans and executed them. Just plain citizens who knew nothing better! Some were even captured and sent to war camps where many died from being tortured and starved. Ettore having to work for the Germans was taken captive by the Yugoslavians after fleeing from their house. 

Contessa and the children fled to a refugee camp, thus being separated from Ettore. The descriptions of the refugee camps were depressing. Having to sleep on lice-infested mattresses and thin blankets. Whoever endured that earns a triple gold star in my book. 

Ettore and Contessa's love story was absolutely inspiring. They never gave up on each other and constantly was looking for one another. It was so sweet and enduring. To have that kind of love for someone is absolutely heartening. Speaking of Ettore's story about trying to get back to Contessa. Those were the most emotional parts of the story. Some of it was really hard to read. i couldn't believe that those things actually happened. :( 

Would I Recommend? 

Yes! While this isn't labeled as a Christian book, it is quite clean. It does have some mild violence but nothing too intense. This book is a perfect reminder that faith and hope is everything. Have faith that things will turn out better in the end. 

About the Author

Michelle Saftich author

Michelle Saftich is a first-time author who resides in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and two children. She holds a Bachelor of Business/Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). For the past twenty years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing, communications management and media relations. In 1999, she was named National Winner for Best News Story in the ASNA (Australian Suburban Newspaper Awards). Born and raised in Brisbane, she spent ten years living in Sydney; and two years in Osaka, Japan, where she taught English.

For more information please visit Michelle Saftich’s website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.


giveaway port of no return amazon giveaway

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

* Please note that Amy Bruno, the host of this tour will contact you if you are the winner. 


Thank you for stopping by and good luck on the giveaway!! 

the caffeinated bibliophile

NOTE: I was provided this book by HF Virtual Book Tours & Book Junkie Promotions to review. All opinions are my own. 

5 Christian Dystopian Series to Read

5 christian dystopian series to read

We have been imagining the end of times for 1000s of years. One of the classic end of times story is Noah's Ark. In revelations, we read about judgement day. That Jesus will come back to earth, and that we will be rewarded with everlasting peace. 

In literature, the first dystopian novel as we call it was written by H.G. Wells, The Time Machine. Since then there have been a few well known dystopian novels such as The Giver, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451. When The Hunger Games came out, the dystopian genre kicked off and many authors started to write similar novels. I remember going to Barnes & Noble at one point and seeing a ton of these type of books in the YA section. 

Recently, however, I have found that the end of the world is a popular thing more so in T.V. and movies now. Popular shows like the Walking Dead, The Strain, and The 100. 

For those looking for something more light or less violent, I have just the topic for you today! 

Today I am recommending 5 Christian Dystopian series to read. No zombies or blood-sucking vampire creatures here. I have to give you a warning however, some of these are darker and would rate a PG-13. I also find them to be very eerie- as many of the plot lines could actually happen. 

Without further ado, here are 5 series to check out! 

The Remanent Series by Vanetta Chapman

Life in Abney, Texas, is predictable and safe—until the night a massive solar flare wipes out all modern technology. 

Shelby Sparks, novelist and single mom, had one goal: to provide for her diabetic son. In the wake of this global disaster, her mission hasn't changed. Only now, medication is a priceless commodity and the future resembles an apocalyptic nightmare.

Max Berkman and Shelby were once sweethearts, but he lost his chance at claiming her love years ago. When the abrupt loss of power ushers him into a leadership role, he rises to the occasion. But his highest priority—to keep Shelby and her son safe—could prove to be the biggest challenge of all.

As the brilliant northern lights give way to deep shadows, Max and Shelby's faith will be tested like never before. Only one rule remains: Find a way to survive.

The Political Thriller Series by Joel C Rosenberg 

Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy are two of the shrewdest strategists on Wall Street and close friends of the president of the United States. Their secret project: a billion-dollar oil deal off the coast of Tel Aviv and Gaza that could form the basis of a historic peace treaty and bring enormous wealth to every Israeli and Palestinian. But nothing has prepared Jon or Erin for the terror that lies ahead. 

Out of Time Series by Nadine Brandes

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. 

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.

The Uncloaked Trilogy Series by J Rodes 

Sixteen-year-old Braxton Luther is determined to keep a grip on the dreams he has for his life. Success. Happiness. Love. When he’s challenged to stand in defiance of a Party that will demand his total allegiance, he’s not sure resistance will pay off. Actually, he’s pretty sure defiance will cost him everything. 

Eliza Knight, however, doesn’t bow. Not if it means trading her soul for comfort. Which is a problem, because she’s the girl he can’t live without, and protecting her is everything to him. 
When the threat to Eliza becomes darker than Braxton had ever imagined, reality sinks in.

Haven Seekers Series by Amanda Stevens 

Six years ago, the government took control of the church. Only re-translated Bibles are legal, and a specialized agency called the Constabulary enforces this and other regulations. Marcus Brenner, a new Christian, will do anything to protect his church family from imprisonment--including risk his own freedom to gain the trust of a government agent.

Aubrey Weston recanted her faith when the Constabulary threatened her baby. Now released, she just wants to provide for her son and avoid government notice. But she's targeted again, and this time, her baby is taken into custody. If only she'd never denied Him, maybe God would hear her pleas for help.

When Aubrey and Marcus's lives collide, they are forced to confront the lies they believe about themselves. And God is about to grab hold of Marcus's life in a way he'd never expect, turning a loner into a leader.


Are you a dystopian genre fan? If so, what are your favorite books in this genre? Share in the comments! 

Thank you for stopping by! :) 

the caffeinated bibliophile

Review and Overview: Archaeology Study Bible

archaeology study bible review

I am so excited to be reviewing this Bible today! Besides reading books, Archaeology is a big hobby of mine. I love learning about history and I actually have a degree in Archaeology! Yep, I was an Archaeology student for 2 years. And no, I am sorry to say it's not like Indiana Jones. But I did have my fair share of adventures by participating in Archaeological digs throughout the western part of the U.S. And yes, I did encounter snakes - but luckily not like in the movies. ;) 

This review is going to be slightly different than my traditional reviews. As it would be an extremely long review - just reviewing the Bible as a whole. Below I have captured pictures of what to expect throughout the Archaeology Study Bible. 

archaeology study bible review

Each chapter of the Bible starts with a section on the background and Archaeological discoveries pertaining to that chapter. For example, here in Ephesians it goes over the existence of Paul and his background. I really like this because it gives the reader a historical background before they read God's Word. By having a grasp of what life was like during this time, you can feel closer to the story. Thus, you will feel closer to God. 

archaeology study bible review
archaeology study bible

Throughout the Bible they are a 3D images of what certain places in the Bible looked like. For example, the first image above is the town of Jerusalem in the time of King Solomon. The image above is Herod's temple at the time of Jesus. It's really interesting to look at these images because you can get a sense of what the areas of the Bible looked like, how the people lived in those areas, etc. 

archaeology study bible

At the back of the Bible, there are a few maps. For example, the one above shows how Israel looked and was divided when King Solomon was ruling. I just love looking at maps, don't you? It's so interesting to see what the land looked like 1000s of years ago. And then compare it to today, to see how much it has changed. 

archaeology study bible

Throughout the Bible, there are pages filled with Biblical history. For example, above you can see a snippet of what daily life was like in the old testament. You learn what people grew, during which times of the year in the graphic below. It's just amazing how these people lived and what they endured during those times. 

archaeology study bible review

What I love about this Bible, is that throughout it shows little images like this one. Here it shows what a Jewish tomb would look like. So you can imagine what the tomb that Jesus would have laid in, would have looked like. I am a very visual person, so seeing images like this helps me deepen my faith. 


I absolutely love this Bible and I am excited to dive into it more. This is such a unique Bible, and it really does help bring the stories to life through all the maps, graphics, and images. I have not seen anything like it out there! 

I definitely recommend that you check out this Bible. I think this would make a wonderful gift to anyone who loves history, especially Biblical history. 

You can purchase the Bible ---> HERE 

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you were inspired today! 

the caffeinated bibliophile

Book Review: A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot

a borrowed dream amanda cabot book review

The synopsis on the back of the book: 

Catherine Whitfield is sure that she will never again be able to trust anyone in the medical profession after the town doctor's excessive bleeding treatments killed her mother. Despite her loneliness and her broken heart, she carries bravely on as Cimarron Creek's dutiful schoolteacher, resigned to a life without love or family, a life where dreams rarely come true.

Austin Goddard is a newcomer to Cimarron Creek. Posing as a rancher, he fled to Texas to protect his daughter from a dangerous criminal. He's managed to keep his past as a surgeon a secret. But when Catherine Whitfield captures his heart, he wonders how long he will be able to keep up the charade.

  • Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
  • Published: 4/20/2018
  • Pages: 332
  • Goodreads Rating: 4.22 Stars
A Borrowed Dream Amanda Cabot book review
We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
— Romans 8:28

Why I Chose This Book

If you remember my previous book review on No One Ever Asked, it was definitely an emotional read. I needed something more light this time. I picked out this book that is on my TBR shelf. 

First Initial Thoughts

Catherine is a school teacher in the town of Cimarron Creek. She had dreams of going to Europe for the longest time. She was to go to Europe with her mother the previous year, but her mother passed away and she soon lost hope. She also broke up with Nate, a boy she thought she was going to marry. What I liked about Catherine, despite all that has happened, she was still always positive and looked out for the good in people. She always lent out a hand and helped those in need. I also felt that she was meant to do more than just teach children at the school. 

Catherine's best friend Lydia owned the candy store in Cimarron Creek. I always loved their interactions and looked forward to learning more about her candy store. 

Austin was such a gentleman right from the start. He was very devoted to his daughter, Hannah, and would do anything to keep her safe. They both moved to Cimarron Creek to flee criminals that are out for him back in Philadelphia. I teared up when he told the story of his deceased wife, Geraldine. It was so sad that no one tried to help her. However, during that time, severe depression was not well understood or treated properly. 


I absolutely loved Cimarron Creek! Amanda did a wonderful job in bringing the town to life. It's definitely a town I wouldn't mind living in. I definitely wouldn't mind going to the sweet shop owned by Lydia every so often. ;) 

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
— Lamentations 3:21-23

Final Thoughts

First off, this book was filled with food. It made me so hungry for sweets and home cooked meals. It made me miss my mom's homemade cooking! 

The two main children characters in the story were just adorable. Hannah she was so sweet and attached to Catherine right away. Seth, my heart felt for him. His father was so cruel to him and I am glad Catherine and Austin were there for him. He needed someone to save him. 

Although from the start, the storyline was kind of predictable, I really liked that the story had it's own twists and turns. What I liked about the story, is that it tackled real-life issues. For example, in the story, there were mental health issues, child abuse issues, and secrets among family members. 

Catherine and Austin's romance was very sweet. I liked that they were friends in the beginning but their feelings grew to more as the story went on. The way they thought about each other when they were separated was just so adorable! It reminded me of when I was first dating my husband, I remember being so excited to talk to him every day and always thought about him when we were apart. 

I also learned a lot about plastic surgery during that time. I had no idea it was that advanced at that time (the late 1800s). I knew that plastic surgery has been around 1000s of years but it was not given an official name till the 19th century. What I didn't know is that it was popularly practiced during that time. 

The only gripe I had about the story was the criminal in the story. I won't give anything away, but I felt like the reason he was trying to find Austin was kind of silly. But overall, the story itself made up for it! 

Would I Recommend? 

Yes, definitely. I think this would a good book when you need a pick me up. It's such a sweet romantic and fun story! 


You can purchase the book ---> HERE

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are off to a good start this week! Did you read anything good this weekend? Share in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by as always! 

the caffeinated bibliophile