Friday, May 27, 2022

BLOG TOUR - Last Words series by Shari J. Ryan

In this compelling series by Shari J. Ryan readers are given the same story from three different points of view, that of Amelia, Annie and Charlie.

Title:   The Girl With the Diary
Author:  Shari J. Ryan
Series:  Last Words #1
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Historical Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   329
Date of Publication:   May 24, 2022
My Rating:    5 Stars


The worn leather-bound diary, tied with a red ribbon, has hidden the truth for seventy years. The spine crackles as she opens it,reading the long-forgotten words of her grandmother. “What if you never come back? What if you die trying?”

Nazi-occupied Prague,1942: Amelia is hiding in her closet when flashlights blind her and she’s captured by the SS. Out on the cobblestone street, her heart shatters as her mother is shot before her eyes. She is shoved onto a freight train with hundreds of others—hours pass as they travel in darkness.

Arriving in a concentration camp, Amelia fears for her life when she is led to a block by a soldier. He is her enemy, yet he secretly passes her a piece of bread; an act that saves her.

They are meant to despise one another, but Amelia and Charlie are powerfully drawn to each other. Amelia sees how Charlie risks everything to save prisoners from deportation—and she sees the kindness in his eyes.

Amongst so much tragedy, falling in love is a miracle. Yet, one day, Charlie utters those miraculous words. “I’m in love with you. To everyone else, we’re wrong, but what does that matter when nothing in this world is right?”

But under the all-seeing gaze of the guards and endless watchtowers, there is only so long they can keep their secret—and the very act of loving each other endangers their lives. Will they remain loyal to each other in the face of death? And when they finally say goodbye, will it be by choice or by force?

Fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Choice, and Orphan Train will be totally swept away by this World War Two heartbreaker which shows that, even in hell, love can bloom.

This book was previously published as Last Words.


In this first book in the Lost Words trilogy, Emma is tasked to find her grandmother's diary. Her grandmother Amelia has suffered a stroke and almost immediately begins asking for "Charlie". Emma is with her at the hospital and that is when Emma honors her request by looking for the journal.

We have two stories in this book - that of Amelia's loss of her family as her once-happy life quickly turned into living in a concentration camp. We also have Emma's story and as to what happened with Amelia's cardiologist Dr. Jackson Beck. I loved watching both stories develop. For one thing, I knew going in that this trilogy would have three different perspectives, so seeing Amelia's point of view, but through the eyes of Emma as she read the diary from cover-to-cover was just so heartbreaking, especially as we see Emma struggling after having a stroke.

Back in 1942, Amelia is in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, and a soldier does more than offer her a piece of bread. In fact, he ultimately saves her life, and makes an impact on her that proves a miracle, especially since she was a Jew and he was an SS Soldier. In present day, Amelia's diary recounts her experiences and reveals secrets she has held onto for decades.

This book takes a tragic story, tragic experiences and heartbreaking memories and turns it all into a story of hope. All while readers are led to see what ultimately happened to Amelia and the soldier, they also see Emma's life take a delightful turn. This was a wonderful first book in a great series that I had the privilege of reading back-to-back. Although saddened more than once while reading, I was able to find hope and inspiration and I love that this book gave me that.


Title:   The Prison Child
Author:  Shari J. Ryan
Series:  Last Words #2
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Historical Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   292
Date of Publication:   May 24, 2022
My Rating:  5 Stars

How will we get by the guards? It seems impossible. Yet we will be dead by the end of the week if we don’tmy precious girl and I have nothing to lose by trying.

Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, 1943: In Theresienstadt concentration camp, a brown-eyed baby girl is born in darkness, surrounded by barbed wire. The innocent new-born has no hope of surviving—unless, by some kind of miracle, she is able to escape…

In New York, over a decade later, Annie listens to her mother and father’s urgent whispers on her twelfth birthday. “They’re going to find out that she doesn’t belong to us. She’ll be taken away.”

The little girl’s world crumbles. That day, her search for answers begins…

Everything in Annie’s life is a lie. As she grows older, she pieces together the fragments of her past. With a broken heart, she uncovers a story of bravery in the face of evil, hope amongst darkness, and forbidden love—the kind of love that takes immense courage.

Will the secret of who she really is come to light? And can she ever be reunited with her birth family—if they’re even alive?

Fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Choice, and Orphan Train will be utterly glued to this unforgettable tale. It may break your heart, but it will piece it back together…

This book was previously published as The Other Blue Sky.


As this book is a re-release and is available with books one and three, The Girl with the Diary and The Soldier's Letters, readers should be familiar with Annie. Another familiarity readers might remember is that a child was born in the Theresienstadt concentration camp and she was named Lucie. It is made clear early on in this book that Annie, Emma's aunt and Amelia's sister from the first book is the same little girl that was born under horrendous conditions during World War II.

We had Amelia's story. We will have Charlie's story, but what is Annie's story? Well, her life started under devastating conditions that was truly miraculous. Her story began again as Annie recounts her childhood with specific experiences that helped her to truly form her identity. When she was a teen, she heard something she was not supposed to by her parents. This led Annie to many questions, questions she kept to herself but spent a lifetime searching for answers.

While Annie's life has been filled with hope, with joy and with fulfillment, it was also filled with devastation, even lies. Why lies? Well, these lies were surrounded by love, and that is what makes this second book in the Lost Words series such an inspiration. I loved Annie's search for answers and how it ultimately led her to find much more than she ever would have imagined.

Title:   The Soldier’s Letters
Author:  Shari J. Ryan
Series:  Last Words #3
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Historical Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  291   
Date of Publication:   May 24, 2022
My Rating:    5 Stars


“Survive for as long as you can, fight until you can’t fight any longer, and if this war ever ends, I want you to run as far from here as you can and never look back…”

Nazi-occupied Prague, 1941: On a foggy winter’s day, a solider called Charlie is ordered to murder an elderly Jewish woman. He refuses, but that doesn’t stop another Nazi shooting her. As the woman’s daughter cries out, “Mama, no, please don’t leave me!” Charlie knows that he is not a killer. He vows to save as many lives as he can.

In Theresienstadt concentration camp, he sees the same sapphire-eyed girl with beautiful auburn hair. Her name is Amelia. He escorts her to Block B and memorizes her prison number. They are meant to be enemies yet, in that instant, he falls in love.

Yet in such hell, love isn’t meant to exist and they are destined to be torn apart. Despite this, Charlie never stops looking for Amelia, writing letters to her and keeping them safe. But what are the chances of her surviving the war? Will the soldier’s letters remain unread forever?

Fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Choice, and Orphan Train will be absolutely gripped by this heart-wrenching World War Two page-turner––a story of forbidden love, and its power to survive the impossible.

This book was previously published as Unspoken Words.


Most Jewish people, and many, many people in general might not want to read a story about a "good" SS Officer. In fact, my grandfather was Jewish, so I share many of the sensitivities of Shari J. Ryan when she makes this comment in the Preface - "As a Jewish woman, I grew up in the fear of hatred, antisemitism, and the simple case of being a minority with religion." In fact Ms. Ryan refers to this book as a taboo story. A good Nazi? Well, when you read Charlie Crane's story, that is what you will get, with full hope and confidence that there were good men amongst those ranks.

Charlie's story basically starts when his mother tells him he will be changing schools. He fits the mold desired by Hitler to fill his army - fair, blond hair and with blue eyes. He is still of tender years, but his training on conditioning and hatred has begun. However, when he is ordered to murder a Jewish woman, he balks, but the woman is killed by another soldier anyway. When he spots the woman's daughter at the Theresienstadt concentration camp he finds himself utterly compelled. Ultimately he draws closer and closer to her and the two fall in love, despite the fact that they are born enemies due to the ideology pressed into him.

Charlie saves her life. She is Amelia, who readers met in the first book in this Lost Words series, The Girl With the Diary. The pair end up seperated for decades, but the condition of their hearts has kept them together. When a chance to reunite with Amelia presents itself to Charlie, he does not hesitate. What a tremendous demonstration of the power of love this book The Soldier's Letters brings to its readers. 

This might be the most important book of the series. Hitler's youth were the way they were for specific reasons. However, in this case one heart was not swayed by hatred. In fact, Charlie's heart proves different from many, if not most, of those soldier's. The story as it is in the present is utterly heartwarming. I highly recommend reading this series in its entirety, starting with the first book. While the series will break your heart at times, it will also fill it with a deep sense of warmth.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for these ARCs for review. These are my honest opinions.


The Girl with the Diary (1):

The Prison Child (2):

The Soldier’s Letters (3):

Please also enjoy my YouTube video review - 


Shari J. Ryan is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Women’s Fiction, WWII Fiction, and 20th Century Historical Fiction with a focus on the Holocaust and Pearl Harbor.

Shortly after graduation from Johnson & Wales with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Shari began her career as a graphic artist and freelance writer. She then found her passion for writing books in 2012 after her second son was born. Shari has been slaying words ever since.

With two Rone Awards and over 125k books sold, Shari has hit the USA Today Bestseller List, the Amazon's Top 100, Barnes & Noble's Top Ten, and iBooks at number one. Some of Shari’s bestselling books include Last Words, The Other Blue Sky, Unspoken Words and A Heart of Time.

Shari, a lifelong Boston girl, is happily married to her personal hero and US Marine and they have two wonderful little boys. For more details about her books, visit:

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