BOMG Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris) @BonnierZaffre

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I feel like the last several “book outside my genre” book reviews have had me reading various historical fiction, specifically Holocaust fiction.  Today’s review is just that!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris, is a novel that I have been struggling to write a review for. How can a true, harrowing story be rated?   The novel follows Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, as he lives his daily life Auschwitz and struggles to protect the love of his life, Gita, whom he meets in the camp.   I really did appreciate it was inspired by the true events of a couple; both humbling and heartbreaking, I was captivated by their love story.

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BOMG Book Review: The Trick (Emanuel Bergmann)

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After binge reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, I had my sights set on reading something similar. I wanted a historical fiction novel set in the time of World War II. Browsing my bookshelves, I decided to dive into The Trick, (a novel recently translated into English) written by Emanuel Bergmann.

The story was very original and used a twist on the classic then vs. now type of narrative approach. Partially taking place in 1934, following a young Jewish man who falls in love and joins the circus as a magician and, decades later, with a young boy who seeks out the now elderly (and cynical) magician to try and bring his crumbling family back together.

I felt like this novel lacked the emotion that holocaust fiction is known for. I didn’t feel any particular connection to any of the characters. This disappointed me. Usually, I feel over-attached to characters within similar types of prose and find myself weeping by the end. The characters in this novel seemed a bit detached from the story, especially the characters within the “now” section of the narrative. I think, for me, this story would have been more successful if it had been through the eyes of the one narrative in the past. I was intrigued by the idea of the circus and the happenings during that time. Every time the switch was made into the present; I found that the author lost me.

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BOMG Book Review: The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah)

The Nightingale.pngYou know that book that you purchase as soon as it comes out because you are dying to read it? You go to the bookstore, snatch it off the shelves and buckle it into your passenger seat on the way home. You head inside, you get distracted and then the book ends up on your shelf for three years? The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, was that book for me.

I had been told I would love it. I figured that I would. However, it just never was the right time and, as I began reviewing books and accepting review copies, most of my poor bookshelf babies remained unattended.

When Chelsea, from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me, and I started brainstorming for books for our online book club, this book immediately came into discussion.   We wanted something that had been widely read, so a majority of people would be able to chime into our book talk, and we wanted something that would give us a break from our regularly scheduled genres.

I knew generally speaking what to expect when I began this novel, but I couldn’t get over how diverse Hannah is as a writer. When I think of Kristin Hannah, my first thought is usually “chick lit”. This novel is so much more.

The novel opens with the introduction to sisters, Vivanne and Isabelle. Both very different, yet close, the girls are thrust together at the start of the German occupation in France during the Second World War. As the war progresses, the sisters are tested and their lives change in unbelievable and horrific ways as they find themselves in the middle of the war, the center of resistance and doing their best to survive.

From the first pages, I was absolutely captivated with the story of these two sisters. Told in alternating perspectives, the reader is given two completely different views and two completely different situations.   I was completely carried away by the story and become lost in the French countryside during the WWII.

It is hard to say anything about this book that hasn’t already been said since I am truly coming late to the game but I know for sure that this book will sit with me for a long time; it was absolutely brilliant. I would highly recommend it.

5/5 stars.

Did you read this book?  Did you feel like chatting about it?  It is never too late to join in the discussion on Goodreads!

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/245555-suspenseful-clues-and-thrilling-reviews

Book Review: If the Creek Don’t Rise (Leah Weiss) @sbkslandmark

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.21.58 AM.pngI am such a sucker for a character-driven novel. As much as I love a story with a fast-paced plot and plethora of twists, every so often I enjoy the decadence of curling up with a story that is full of strong characters and pushed by their emotions and actions. I love to get lost in their lives.   If the Creek Don’t Rise, the debut novel by Leah Weiss, did exactly that.

The novel opens with the introduction of Sadie Blue, a pregnant and newly married teenager whose husband turns abusive the minute they are married. Bruised and broken, Sadie retreats back home to her grandmother. Through alternating POVs from various members of their small Appalachian town, Sadie’s story unfolds.

As a novel categorized as a historical fiction, I was little bit worried when I started my reading but I was pleased that this one didn’t feel too out of touch. I often find some historical fiction hard to digest, but, as I read this one, I didn’t feel that way at all. Weiss does a brilliant job at creating a piece that is historically accurate as well as inviting. I loved the touches of the dialect and I loved the narrative style. From the first pages, I was drawn into and loved the female-centric narrative; for a majority of the story, a key woman in the plot narrates each chapter. I thought this was so interesting and original, especially given context of the story and the time period it is written in.   Women, pretty obviously within this plot, did not have a real voice and Weiss chooses to give their voices a chance to be heard entirely.

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Book Review: The Address (Fiona Davis) @FionaJDavis @DuttonBooks

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The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis was a book that I had seen over and over again in the past year, so, when I found out that Davis had her sophomore novel, The Address, publishing this month, I added it to my top of my TBR pile and hopped on the Fiona Davis bandwagon.

I do not read a ton of historical fiction so I wasn’t sure what to expect; however, when I started reading, I quickly discovered that Fiona Davis is a masterful storyteller with the capability to completely entrance her reader.

I was transported back to 1884, where, after a chance run in with a wealthy American family, Sara decides to back up her life and move to America to be the head of house at The Dakota. Flash-forward about a hundred years, in the autumn of 1985, Bailey is out of rehab, fired from her job and without anywhere she goes. In a panic, she turns to her cousin and finds herself in The Dakota.  The novel goes back and forth between these perspectives where Davis weaves a tale of love, the quest for success and betrayal within one of New York’s most famous residences.

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Blog Tour: The Orphan of India (Sharon Maas) @bookouture @sharon_maas

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Welcome to my stop on The Orphan of India blog tour by Sharon Maas!

When I told Kim at Bookouture that I wanted something completely different from my regular reading to cleanse my palette, she recommended The Orphan of India by Sharon Maas, so, into this book I dove!

Surprising even myself, I was completely sucked into this story of love and loss within the first few sentences. Part coming of age drama and part historical fiction, Maas brilliantly captures the life of a little girl and the people who surround her.

Following British couple, Monika and Jack Kingsley, who are desperate for a family of their own. On a charity trip to India, they come across Jyothi, a small girl living in poverty and who seeks comfort from the music she hears around her; the couple falls in love with her immediately. Fighting through red tape and culture they are unfamiliar with, Jyothi finally comes to England and deals with the struggle to fit into her new surroundings. Following her lifetime, Jyothi realizes the importance of embracing your future and confronting your past.

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Short Story Sunday: Mini Review- The Wrath (Matt Gordon Perry)

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In the mid-1800’s, a family finds them in the isolated Canadian wilderness having lost their way. Taking refuge in an abandoned cabin and snowed in by a storm, a deep fever takes hold of them…one by one.

The Wrath, a short story by Matt Gordon Perry, was an incredibly quick read not only because of its short nature but also because it was completely consuming. This short story packs a serious punch.

The tone is dark and ominous and it reminded me a little bit of the Evil Dead meets Little House on the Prairie.

Didn’t think you would ever hear a comparison like that huh?

Mind you, there are no demons or zombies in this book, but the general tone was kind of the same.   Something is lurking, something is taking hold and a book is calling the shots and warning of danger.

I really enjoyed this one!

4/5 stars.

Thanks to the author who provided me with a copy of this book; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

Book Review: The Body in the Ice (A.J MacKenzie) @BONNIERZAFFRE @AJMACKNOVELS

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 4.58.45 PMOn Christmas Day in 1796, a frozen corpse is found frozen into the ice of the horse pond at New Hall. With no murder weapon, no motive and the victim’s identity unknown, Reverand Hardcastle, his trusted friend (Amelia Chaytor) and a new captain (Edward Austen) are summoned to the scene to investigate.   It is only then that they realize, the secrets of New Hall are more dangerous than they initially appeared.

I don’t often dabble into historical fiction, but every so often, I make an exception! The Body in the Ice by A.J Mackenzie (a pseudonym for a husband and wife Anglo-Canadian writing team) had all the components of a novel I would read to escape my everyday life. Unique characters, a mysterious plot and cheeky humour, made this one a slow and easy read.

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Book Outside My Genre: Mischling (Affinity Konar) @affinity_konar @leeboudreauxbks @RandomHouseCA

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 11.20.59 AM.pngI have always been fascinated by historical fiction set in the Holocaust; I think it has something to do with the stories of human survival. I find myself completely enveloped in these types of novels. The characters are what make them. I relish in their tenacity and cheer for them as they defy odds.   I cry for their loss. I will them to live. Needless to say, this novel gave me all the feels.

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