Jess Loves to Read!

SPOILER ALERT!

Waited forever to read this book....and it definitely didn't disappoint!

— feeling amazing
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

I've been wanting to read this book for some time now. 

 

I've been reading a lot about WWII and the Holocaust lately, specifically witness accounts of those who experienced some of the atrocities that occurred during that time. I was completely unaware that this book incorporated events of that time period in it, albeit fictional. I thought it a happy coincidence that I finish a couple of witness memoirs and accidentally stumble upon a fictional account of the next generations of survivors!

 

However this story goes far beyond WWII. 

 

I have only recently found myself interested in books about magic and special powers and such... and I must say: this is a good one! Daughters of Smoke and Bone opened my eyes to this genre and to date is still my favorite. This book is a whole different monster (no pun intended) and might end up being on par with DoS&B. I immediately started the second book in the series after finishing this one last night.

 

This book sucked me in and I can't wait to see what happens in the next book!

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Coco Schumann, Der Ghetto-Swinger: Eine Jazzlegende erzählt

Coco Schumann, Der Ghetto-Swinger: Eine Jazzlegende erzählt - Coco Schumann, Michaela Haas I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read a copy of the book that had been translated to English.

I have been reading a lot about the Holocaust lately, specifically the accounts of witness who experiences the atrocities that took place in concentration camps.

This book is not just about the Holocaust, this book is about the life and career of Coco Shumann. I have to say, it was a refreshing take on a horrific time in history.

Coco Shumann truly is a musician who just happened to be in a concentration camp, not a victim of the Holocaust that happens to play music....he sums it up much better in the book, though!

Coco did not let the horrible things that happened to him during WWII define him. Throughout it all, it was always about the music.

I think people overlook the many other things that happened during WWII, such as the swing and jazz club scene in Berlin, and its subsequent ban. I, for one, was completely unaware of its popularity and the dangers that were involved in being a musician during that time.

The edition of the book that I read was translated to English. I believe it was translated rather well. Although it was not the best written book I've ever read, it certainly was not the worst. However, I feel reading it in its original language might add some meaning in some instances.

This book gave me a completely different perspective of life during WWII. I would (and already have) recommended it to others.

Thirteen Ways of Looking

Thirteen Ways of Looking - Colum McCann I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I could not get through this book! And I am not one to put a book down. In fact, I'm quite the opposite... I usually have to force myself to put down a book.! I just could not get into it, and not for lack of trying. I tried three different times to pick it up and get through it. I found it too boring, though. After the third attempt, I told myself that I had too many other books waiting for me to review, and I did not need to waste any more time trying to trudge through it.

Disclaimer: I only made it through the first few chapters. Congrats if you make it to the end!

Shattered Blue

Shattered Blue - Lauren Bird Horowitz I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book! I'm sad that I have to wait to read the next installment, though!

The story was creative and well-written. The ending was a total surprise! Often, I am able to guess at least somewhat how the book will end. However, this one totally got me!

I can't wait to read the next book in this series! I hope it is as good as this one!

The Last of the Firedrakes (The Avalonia Chronicles, #1)

The Last of the Firedrakes (The Avalonia Chronicles, #1) - Farah Oomerbhoy I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book! I'm usually not into stories with magical beings, and there are very few I can remember liking. This is definitely one of them!

The story is well-written. However, at times the vocabulary is a little repetitive. That kind of irked me, but not enough to deduct a star.

I am always disappointed when I read a book and find out that the next in its series has probably not been written yet. I am sad that I will have to wait a while to read the next one.

I definitely recommend reading it, though!

New Reality 2: Justice

New Reality 2: Justice - Michael    Robertson I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I liked this book much more than the first. It really clarified the first book, though. However, you do not have to read the first book to understand this one.

I feel like this one was written better and easier to understand.

New Reality: Truth

New Reality: Truth - Michael    Robertson I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I liked this book, but it was a little confusing. I encourage anyone who reads this book to read the sequel. The second book will explain a lot.

May Contain Spies (Meet Abby Banks Book 1)

May Contain Spies (Meet Abby Banks Book 1) - J.A. Cipriano I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. It was well written, the characters were well developed and the plot flowed smoothly.

I can't wait to see what happens in the next book!

Dogtology: Live. Bark. Believe.

Dogtology: Live. Bark. Believe. - Jeff Lazarus I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Before I read this book, I didn't really identify with any religion. Now I know that I am a Dogtologist...but I also love my kitties. This book was really funny, because everything the author brought up about how people treat their dogs in today's society is true.

The only qualm I had with the book was its length. It was a little long for the subject matter. About half way through I was wondering how much more there could really be to say on the topic. I kept going to the end to find out, though.

Loved the book!Not as much as I love my dog, though!
SPOILER ALERT!

Darken the Stars

Darken the Stars - Amy A. Bartol I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book, but I am sad that the story is over. One thing that I was so happy about was that these books did not follow the love triangle that so many YA series contain. In the end, Kricket chose herself and her freedom. She did not make the choice between the two handsome love interests. Although I was somewhat surprised how her relationship with Kyon played out, I was glad that she chose her and her friends freedom in the end. I think Kricket was the strongest heroine of any YA book I've read.

Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz

Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz - Eva Mozes Kor, Lisa Rojany Buccieri I received a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I first heard of Eva Mozes Kor when I saw her answers on Quora, discussing her experience in the concentration camps and her advice about forgiveness. When I saw that this book was available through NetGalley, I was excited to read it.

I knew a little bit of Eva's story from reading her answers on Quora, but this book went much more in depth in describing her life before and after the war, as well as her experience with Dr. Mengele.

I loved this book! Eva is a remarkable woman who had a horrible thing happen to her and used that experience to try to teach others the power of forgiveness. She founded a group that reconnected the twins that survived Dr. Mengele's experiments, and she now runs a holocaust museum.

I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone!

The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs: A Novel

The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs: A Novel - Matthew Dicks I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was not a book that I would have normally picked out to read. However, I saw that it was available to review through NetGalley and read a bunch of excellent reviews and was intrigued.

It took me a little while to get into this book, but once I got into it, I really liked it.

I've been reading so may dystopian and YA novels lately, and this was a nice change.

At first, I did not relate at all to Caroline, but as the book goes on, I think that everyone can relate to some part of the story. I would recommend this story to any woman looking for an easy read with a good message and a sweet ending.

Dogtology: Live. Bark. Believe.

Dogtology: Live. Bark. Believe. - Jeff Lazarus I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Before I read this book, I didn't really identify with any religion. Now I know that I am a Dogtologist...but I also love my kitties. This book was really funny, because everything the author brought up about how people treat their dogs in today's society is true.

The only qualm I had with the book was its length. It was a little long for the subject matter. About half way through I was wondering how much more there could really be to say on the topic. I kept going to the end to find out, though.

Loved the book! Not as much as I love my dog, though!

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr This is one the first non-dystopian/fantasy books that I’ve read in quite some time, and I am glad that Net Galley recommended it!

It took me a minute to get into this book. It switched POVs and goes back and forth in time. The way the book is separated by dates and goes back and forth is a little confusing at first. At times, I had to go back and look at the dates to try to figure out “was this before or after this?”

However, once I got better acquainted with the characters and a feel for the timelines, I got really interested in the story.

I love the way the recording is incorporated throughout the book! It is one good thing that ties Werner and Jutta to Etienne and Marie-Laure. Although I would have like a couple of other things to be revealed at the end, I love that Marie-Laure tells Jutta that she will mail the remaining recording of her grandfather’s, so that she can play it for Max. Just as Marie-Laure read the books from her childhood that she loved so much to her daughter, and her daughter to her grandson; Jutta will be able to share a fond memory of her childhood with her son.

I wanted Marie-Laure to tell Jutta that Werner saved her life, though! Upon first meeting Marie-Laure, Jutta asks if Werner took the model house from her and says, “It was not very easy to be good then.” I wanted so badly for Marie-Laure to explain how Werner saved her life several times! Instead, she says simply says “no,” that he did not take the model house from her and implies that they were friendly with each other by saying that they spent part of a day together and his hands were smaller than hers.

I loved that Werner met and saved Marie-Laure, but I hated that he died shortly after. Oh, how I was rooting for him to survive, find her, fall in love and live happily ever after!

Also, I am still very curious of the whereabouts of the Sea of Flames. However, I think that was the author’s intentions.


The character development in this book was amazing! I loved Etienne and Marie-Laure’s father, and Madam Manec! And Werner, and Jutta, and Frederick, and even Volkheimer!

I cannot say enough good things about this book. For this, I am thankful to NetGalley for getting me out of my strictly dystopian/fantasy phase. I think that being used to those stories wrapping up everything nice and neat in the end is why I was a little disappointed at first with the ending of this book.

For a book about WWII to be wrapped up nice and neat would make it completely unrealistic. However, I liked that the end of the book went past the end of the war and told of some of the characters later in life. Because, in reality, people die during wars, but for the people that live, life must go on. The book captured that well. Although the characters that survived the war had horrific memories, they all knew that they could not let those memories rule their lives. They knew that they must continue living and make new memories in a country rebuilding after an atrocity.

This book has encouraged me to find other books based on WWII told from unique POVs. I only hope that I can find some that are as well-written and gripping as this one!

Under Different Stars

Under Different Stars  - Amy A. Bartol I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

*Disclaimer: Spoiler-ish of first chapter only*

At the very beginning of the book, the main character, Kricket, reveals that she was in foster care and is taking precautions to avoid DCS until her 18th birthday, in order to avoid the horrors she experienced in foster care. Enrique, who I assumed was her best friend at the beginning of the first chapter, made me want to punch him in the face. Truthfully, if I had to read more of Enrique trivializing and even mocking the trauma Kricket obviously experienced in foster care, I don’t think I could have finished the book.

“Oh, (foster care) couldn’t have been that bad…” and Kricket has to tell him, “No, it was worse.” Then, he says “Of course it was bad” (looking guilty) “You didn’t know me then. Now you have my family….” Then he explains that his mother invited her for Christmas dinner before mocking the fact that she has never had a family:

Enrique: “’Either you are really naïve or you’ve really never had a family.”

Kricket: “Families are supposed to love you no matter what.”

Enrique: “You’ve really never had a family have you?’ he asks rhetorically.”

Kricket: “No, not one that ever lasted.”

Enrique: “You’re lucky, trust me. What are you doing this weekend?

So far, not liking Enrique….her “best friend” is either a complete idiot or an insensitive bastard.

Really, who tells their best friend that they’re luck that they’ve never had a family?!?! Especially because you’re afraid your family will judge you because you’re gay? So, in this guy’s mind, it is better to grow up being passed around from foster home to foster home, each one worse than the last, than to have to take your boyfriend to Christmas dinner and tell your family, who has been loving and supportive for your entire live, that you are gay.


However, after getting over my anger at Enrique’s remarks, I sped through the rest of the book. Truthfully, Enrique’s douchebaggery was the only part of the book I didn’t like. I loved Kricket. At first, I didn’t like the fact that all the crazy stuff that was happening didn’t seem to surprise her much, and she just kind of rolled with it. However, I realized that this is probably how she has had to live growing up in foster homes and running from DCS, so of course she just rolls with the craziness and tries to survive.

I love that Kricket is not one of the lead females so prevalent in YA today, constantly preoccupied with her self-pity. Although she does kind of fall in “instalove” with the obvious character, this is not as disappointing as it is in many books.

I loved the humor in this book. Not only is Kricket not about moping around pitying herself, but she makes the most of her situation and tries to find humor in it.

I did not want to put this book down, and for the most part, I didn’t. I finished it in a day and wanted to pick up the second book in the series, but convinced myself to go to sleep or I would be up all night trying to finish it if it was anywhere near as good as this one. The only thing that disappointed me is how long I will have to wait to read the third book in the series!

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