Historical · Non-fiction

DOUBLE REVIEW: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

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Title: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Author: Heather Morris

Page Count: 262

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: September 4th 2018 by Harper (first published January 27th 2018)

Format: Paperback

Review: I loved this book. It’s heartbreaking and awe-inspiring and wonderfully written. It’s a quick read, which is good because you don’t want to get stuck in that mindset for too long, since it’s about Auschwitz.

Lale’s story is one of immense hardship and Heather Morris tells it very well. It also makes you wonder what you would do if put in his position. He was a remarkable man, and I really enjoyed reading about him.

Lale, as the title suggests, was a tattooist at the concentration camp. His job was to etch numbers on the arms of the new prisoners, and what first grabbed me about him was how he tried to be gentle with Gita’s when she came into his line. He did not know her but he felt the need to make this process as easy as possible, to the point where he almost got in serious trouble for going so slowly. Sometimes it’s the small things that endear someone to you so much.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

 

Review: This is an incredibly moving book, and it is no wonder that it is a best seller (it had over 80 holds in my library system at one point!).  This book is a very quick read, so I recommend reading it in one sitting if you can.

As you can imagine, the content of this book is incredibly sad.  My stomach was churning literally the whole time I was reading it.  It is through a series of miracles, both large and small, that the main characters, Lale and Gita, survive.  Honestly I don’t know if I could have made it through the book without knowing that in advance.

This is one of the rare cases that instant love between two people in a story does not make me roll my eyes.  It is literally love at first sight for these two, and though they know very little about each other, it is a love so pure it makes your heart ache.

There is one particular scene in this book that stands out to me and I think it really encapsulates the heart of this story.  Lale comes across a single flower while walking to his barracks one day, and the mere sight of it gives him pause.  It is such a rare sight to see something so delicate and beautiful that he can’t help but stop and marvel at it.  In my mind, this flower is symbolic of the love between Lale and Gita.  It is the one beautiful thing blossoming in a landscape of unimaginable horrors.

After reading this book it is hard not to believe in the concept of soul mates.  It is unlikely that these two would have met under any other circumstances, and it is even more unlikely that they would have both been able to survive the atrocities committed against them.  Yet they did meet, they did fall in love, and they did survive.   This was a story that needed to be told, and I am so glad it has reached such a wide audience.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

It’s Not Summer Without You

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Title: It’s Not Summer Without You

Author: Jenny Han

Performer: Jessica Almasy

Length: 6 hr, 45 min

Series: Summer, Book 2

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2011 by Recorded Books

Format: eAudiobook

Review: I was not quite as enamored with this book as I was with the first one, but it was still a great read.  Han captures the feelings of grief, angst, heartbreak, regret, and guilt so so well.  As with many trilogies, the second book hits the peak of conflict, so there really is no resolution at the end.  I imagine the feelings of resolution will come in the third and final book, and I am really hoping that Belly chooses the brother that I feel is better suited for her.

I certainly experienced some feelings of frustration while reading this book.  The characters are so young and impulsive that sometimes I just wanted to shake the selfishness right out of them.  I think though that Han’s depiction of how the characters react to tragedy is realistic.  It is hard to know exactly how you will cope with something until it happens to you, and sometimes in our hurt we push away the people that matter most and make rash decisions.

That said, I am really looking forward to the final book!

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fiction · Science Fiction

The Lightest Object in the Universe

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Title: The Lightest Object in the Universe

Author: Kimi Eisele

Page Count: 336

Series: Unknown

Publishing Date/Publisher: July 9, 2019 by Algonquin Books

Format: eBook

Review: For people who enjoy realistic dystopian fiction, this would be a great book recommendation.  There is nothing unique about this book that sets it apart from other books I have read in this genre, but I did find the setting and backstory to be very plausible.  I also thought it was very romantic to have one character trekking across the United States to be reunited with his faraway love.

There was nothing particularly surprising about this story (no plot twists); however, it kept a steady pace and was a pretty quick read.  I had a little bit of trouble at times following the plot because the formatting was off in my ARC copy (it would switch POV without warning), but I assume this will be fixed when the book goes through its final edits.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

The Summer I Turned Pretty

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Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty

Author: Jenny Han

Performer: Jessica Almasy

Length: 7 hr

Series: Summer, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2011 by Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books

Format: eAudiobook

Review: There is a lot of hype right now surrounding Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series due to the delightful Netflix movie adaptation that was released last year (if you haven’t seen it already, go watch it immediately!).  I will probably get to that book series eventually, but her Summer trilogy has been on my “To Read” list for years, so I finally decided to check it out.

Jenny Han’s writing has a way of transporting me back in time.  I literally felt 15 years old again as I was listening.  The angst and anguish of first love and the end of childhood innocence was conveyed so incredibly well.  It made me wish desperately that I had had a summer home in my youth.  Seriously who doesn’t long for carefree days filled with waves and sun and ice cream!  As someone who had many unrequited crushes in my youth, I could also completely sympathize with Belly’s longing to be noticed by the object of her affection.

Although this book is part of a trilogy, I almost wish it was a standalone.  The ending of the book was very sweet, but I could sense that there was going to be a lot of heartache in the next book (which I of course checked out immediately upon finishing this one).  Just like Belly, I did not want the summer to end!

They selected a great reader for this series.  Her voice sounds age appropriate, and she infuses the story with a lot of emotion with the inflection and tone of her voice.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Mystery · Science Fiction · Thriller

DOUBLE REVIEW: The Psychology of Time Travel

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Title: The Psychology of Time Travel

Author: Kate Mascarenhas

Page Count: 372

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 12 February 2019 by Crooked Lane Books (originally published August 9th 2018 by Head of Zeus)

Format: eBook

Reader: Kymberly

Review:

I don’t think I can accurately describe just how much I love this book, but I will try.

It had me hooked from the start, grabbing me instantly with the strong, smart, vulnerable women, and kept me hooked through the entire story. The relative lack of men was an added, welcome, and refreshing change of pace from most books I’ve read. I’ve also noticed that most books and movies/television shows involving time travel make the reader/viewer do some mental gymnastics in order to wrap their head around the whole concept, however Mascarenhas does all that for you, leaving your brain free to try to dissect the murder mystery.

I also loved how the story is woven together and how organized it is, despite it being about a very disorganized subject. This made it easy to read and impossible to put down.

I have already started telling all my friends about this book and will continue to bother them until each and everyone of them reads it. I was utterly blown away and loved every minute of it.

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

All_Star_Gold

Review: This book thoroughly boggled my brain.  The concept of time travel makes absolutely zero sense to me.  This book is technically a murder mystery, but oddly it didn’t feel to me like a murder mystery at all.  The mystery itself became more of a subplot as I struggled to wrap my head around the various concepts detailed in the book pertaining to time chronology, “genies”, and other time travel concepts.   I liked the book, but I was honestly too confused by it to love it.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fiction · Thriller

Nine Perfect Strangers

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Title: Nine Perfect Strangers

Author: Liane Moriarty

Performer: Caroline Lee

Length: 16 hr, 18 min

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by MacMillan Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: I wouldn’t say this was my favorite of Moriarty’s book, but in true Moriarty fashion, she didn’t disappoint.  There is a lot of depth to each of the characters and even though the story takes place over the course of a few days, SO much happens.  To be honest I myself felt a bit transformed by the end of the “week”.

I feel the ending of this book was particularly satisfying and it was illuminating on so many levels.  I can’t say much more than that about this book without giving away any spoilers, but I assure you it is worth the read.

I waited months for this eAudiobook to become available at the library, and it was so worth the wait.  Caroline Lee is a master of her craft, and she adds so much pizazz to the story with her excellent character voices.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

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Title: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Author: Abbi Waxman

Page Count: 352

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: July 9, 2019 by Berkley

Format: eBook

Review: This was a smooth, enjoyable read.  The author’s personality comes through very strongly, though I am not sure if this is intentional or unintentional.  I found her wit to be charming for the most part, though I wish that the reader had received more insight into Nina’s thoughts.  It was fun to see a lot of my own character traits in Nina: bookish, anxious, and obsessed with planners.

The plot felt very formulaic, and at one point a character made an off-handed joke about something that later actually happened.  I wonder if this was meant to be a humorous jab at the formula.

In terms of the long lost family storyline, I was not too sold, but I was definitely sold on the characters, which is why this rating hovers between 3 and four stars for me.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star