ARC August – update week 4

So in the midst of the worst week ever, I was actually able to finish a book! Woohoo! It’s pretty crazy because I’ve basically spent all summer not reading much so it’s nice to know this is starting to pay off–signing up for the reading challenge and whatnot👍

I liked this one, You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan–two gay high school classmates find themselves at a gay bar for Pride Week in San Francisco and develop a friendship overnight. I could’ve used more closure for Mark’s storyline rather than just “hey I’ll figure things out” but I enjoyed Kate and Mark’s guide to self-discovery in becoming who they’re meant to be and shedding what they wish could be. Sometimes friendships just click and I liked what these two characters established within the short time the audience gets to spend with them.

I’ve already started on my next read, And I Darken by Kiersten White…it’s my book club pick for August and I’m seriously cutting it close. I’m also trying to decide what to read for September since I’ve had a decent month reading for August! I’m not sure if the challenge somehow helped or not, but I’ll be writing down some titles that I’ve been looking forward to reading as well as finishing a few I’ve started ☺️ [yes Mindy and Game of Thrones, I’m looking at you both–we should so be done by now haha!]

Advertisements

Prisoner of Night and Fog + Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke | Dual Review

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke | Available for Purchase: Amazon « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Anne Blankman
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Pages: 398, Kindle Edition
Received Copy: Advanced Reader’s Copy, ALAMW

Over the past few weeks I consumed a new duo logy (well new to me) by Anne Blankman, Prisoner of Night and Fog and her follow up which releases on April 21, 2015, Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke. I really enjoyed this series because I’m a huge fan of World War II. Being such a tragic war that kinda makes me sound slightly odd, but I really love history and I find this war really fascinating, it grabs my attention. I’m going to do the layout for this review a bit differently, rather than separate the two novels, I’m just going to combine my thoughts as a whole.

Synopsis: Prisoner of Night and Fog (via Goodreads)

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

Synopsis: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (via Goodreads)

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?

As I listed above I find the Second World War fascinating as well as seriously heartbreaking and disturbing. Hitler was a deeply depraved man and he along with other heads of state around the world wrecked havoc on innocent lives. Gretchen’s story is a slightly gruesome tale that combines fiction as well as just as much fact, as Blankman makes sure to note in her Acknowledgement sections at the end of each of her novels. The pace throughout the novels are well kept and watching Gretchen grow is something you wish everyone could do during this period in history. The blending of real Nazis and German figures as well as fictional characters was really balanced in both books.


Gretchen’s Growth…
Gretchen grows up being seriously naïve in what the National Socialists represent as well as family friend, Uncle Dolf aka Adolf Hitler. Within time uncovering bits and pieces she does learn the truth of certain incidents in her past and begins to see through the veil that’s been hanging over her head her whole life. By book two Gretchen has come into her own and has something truly worth fighting for and she’s able to give up so much in order to stand up for what she believes in.

Star-Crossed Lovers…
Daniel Cohen is a swoony, journalist who just happens to be Jewish which happens to be everything Gretchen has been taught to think as a vile disease for the German Aryans. Gretchen of course cannot resist and while a few moments things were rocky and I was so freaking nervous, the love they have for each other definitely is a triumph in the book! They make a really great team and I was very happy they didn’t give up on one another or what they developed and had.

History Lesson…
Like I keep mentioning I think Blankman picked a really good time to focus on her story. While I’m sure there was a bit of happiness that was able to come out of this time period, it’s extremely difficult for one to find nothing but despair. Homes were destroyed, families were torn apart, faith was lost, people were no longer treated as humans and a story later on just could’ve been a little too much for an audience to digest. Not to say it can’t be done, but I think to see a different side of Hitler and to show the beginnings of the Reich forming was a great setting for the story to take place during.

A Bit of the Future…
YAY! We see a little time hop in Gretchen’s life on what new possibilities she has and how she survived to get there. An epilogue of sorts is always a win for me in novels because I can never be completely satisfied as a reader. Why I totally got obsessed with fan fiction because I didn’t ever want things to end! You could always know a little more about where the characters are now and a decent wrap-up of what’s going on.


????

I really didn’t have anything I didn’t like about these books besides giving me anxiety with all of the twists and turns, which was really fantastic! Several times I just got sucked into reading I had to put it down and remember the war has been written down in history books and like 99% of these men aren’t alive spewing this hatred anymore. It’s just a book, Linz, remember that 😉 hahaha! Definitely can’t wait to read more from Anne Blankman and if you haven’t checked out Prisoner of Night and Fog yet you still have some time to read it before Conspiracy’s release! The story picks up quickly so no doubt you can fly through it like I did!

Until next time…The Kid xx

 

*Also make sure you hop on over to What Sarah Read’s blog! I had a guest spot discussing music festivals in a Fangirl Friday edition! Show some love and read up on my festival love! THE SEASON IS UPON US!!

Something Real by Heather Demetrios – Review


Something Real
 | Available for Purchase: Amazon « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Pages: 406, Hardback Edition
Received Copy: Personal library

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

Yep! I haven’t featured this (A Book Club Pick) in a while, but I really enjoyed this book so much I wanted to make sure I gave it a review! What’s peculiar about this novel is that I’m pretty anti-“reality” tv, but Something Real held my interest right from the very beginning. I got on Chloe/Bonnie™’s level right away as soon as I started her story. And to preface, like I do with like 90% of the books I read, most of the time I just know either a brief overview or I see others recommendations. I barely read any back of/jacket covers, not entirely sure, but I haven’t experienced many “DNF” books so I’m somewhat successful at this. So again, I knew it had something to do with tv or movies, that’s about it. But the struggle Bonnie™ has to find herself just when she’s starting to come into her own was emotional to read. I don’t remember being that vulnerable, and DUH I was never on tv, but I feel like I’m where Bonnie™ is now at my 28 years of age. I’m sorta lost in adulthood so I could definitely see Bonnie™’s fragile viewpoints of feeling so much pressure.


Best Friends…
The relationship between Benny and Bonnie™ was probably my favorite! (don’t worry I was all swoony for Patrick, we’ll get there) I only have one brother-in-law and we’re not very affectionate but we do have each other’s backs. And I have one sister who’s five years older than me so I don’t have someone who’s super close in age and can understand most of my feelings, but Benny could. I loved how serious yet carefree he could be. He’s a strong character and has confidence which I seriously lack in my real life, so a great treat to read! But their bond is special and it was nice to see them stick together.

Swoon 101…
Oh hai Patrick. Yes you were delightful to read. Patrick literally did pretty much everything a girl hopes for to find in a relationship when she’s moody and growing up. He was also my perfect mix of understand, non-judgy, smart, funny, romantic…okay you get the point. HE GIVES YOU THE SWOONS! Although I will admit, I was waiting much of the book for the other shoe to drop! I was waiting to find out about his stalker issues or games he played to screw Bonnie™ over but that ended up being avoidable.

Behind-the-scenes…
I liked that this was about a normal, yet diverse and loving family. Today there’s all the fake, too tanned & too plastic look to the “glamorous” people who get roped into reality tv. Then you have the people who are…I don’t know, they’re–they’ve got social issues: mega religious, mega trashy, just out of touch with some sanity. I’m doing a terrible job of explaining it, but I did see a lot of Bonnie™’s mom as Kris Jenner, someone who preys on their children’s success. Kris Jenner (in my opinion, as an example) doesn’t do it as much now but she paved the way after sex tapes and celebrity were established. Bonnie™’s mother got me so heated in the fact that she never put her children first. The major reason for many of the pivotal points in the story.

Expanding plot…
These examples aren’t really things I didn’t like, but I would’ve liked to have seen a little more to her and Lexie rebuilding their relationship as sisters. I would’ve liked to know about what MetaReal (i.e. E! network/TLC) put Bonnie™ and Benton™ legally. Lastly, I really wanted to know more of what happened with her mom. That character infuriated me and I know all-too-well what a volatile relationship with a mother can be and that was an easy connection to make while reading. And in the end I would’ve liked to hear a little more in maybe an epilogue where things went.

*

*
I’ve heard TONS about Heather’s I’ll Meet Your There which isn’t down too far on my TBR list so hopefully I can get that soon and read. Seriously I can’t tell you how many people are all over this. Heather released this book LAST year right around this time, sooooo I might have to wait a little longer to get my hands on IMYT to read and review 😉

Until next time, The Kid xx