Most Anticipated Reads of August 2019

Morning, bloggers!

As we all say hello to August, I’m trying to wrap my mind around the fact that we’re in the eighth month of the year. I can’t believe we’re in the middle of summer.

Before I started this post, I didn’t know if it’d be larger than what it is now. Typically, my upcoming TBR list is always long, whether or not my bank account has a say in the matter. But with August though, I hesitated with many forthcoming titles. But I am loving the variety.

I hope you love the post! What is your most anticipated book?

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Review | The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Published by: HarperCollins

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

Page Count: 288

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchase

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In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.


“To save one is to save the world.”

When the Tattooist of Auschwitz first hit the blogosphere, I knew I had no chance of passing up this historical fiction. I set the bar high for it. And while I loved the imagery of hope, resilience, and survival, my expectations fizzled out by the end. I wish I loved it. But I can’t.

It is a horrifying tale of hope. With that said, I’m not entirely convinced that many facts in this novel are accurate. In fact, the Auschwitz Memorial has put doubt of the events that took place. I am not criticizing a novel about Auschwitz or the Holocaust. I am critiquing the storytelling, the authenticity of what has been told, and claims the author put into her work.

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Monthly Wrap-Up | April 2019

Morning, everyone!

Who else struggled with April? I honestly wanted to read more books and to buy them too. But I didn’t care if I did either. And since I had to dodge Avengers spoilers, I took some time away from my blog and my social media accounts. You don’t know how good it felt for not dealing with a self-imposed deadline.

Let me tell you that I cried, and I still feel hollowed out after watching that movie. But I’ve never been so proud to be a part of this franchise and family. #ILoveYou3000

Not let’s get back to blogging. This post is short (somewhat) and sweet (I hope). I hope you love it!

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Out of My Comfort Zone Book Tag

Do you know how long I’ve been dreading this tag? I love tags. You all know I do. But I’ve been wondering how long I’d push this one off. The lovely Kathy from Books and Munches tagged me. Or should I say torture me?

One Major Rule

You have to pick ONE GENRE that you frequently read about and then you can’t use ANY books from that genre while answering the questions!

WHY WOULD ANYONE MAKE THIS RULE?! Okay, okay. I’m fine. I always read YA fantasy, so I’m screwed for all of these questions. 😅 Let’s get to the post, yes?

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Spring 2017 Recent and Upcoming Releases

This little bookworm needs to stop being shy around other bloggers. Bloggers mean friends. And friends are good (not food [I had to throw that in 😂]) So let’s talk books! What are you looking forward to for this season? What’s on your pre-order list? What’s your instant buy? Let me know in the comments. Here’s my list for recent and upcoming releases I’ve been waiting for.

 

Missing (April 18)

Another Kelley book? Come on, it’s me. Kelley publishes a book, and I’ll buy it. This YA has an interesting twist. The kids in Reeve’s End always leave town, but when Winter Crane discovers a boy left for dead, she wonders if all the children who have left are missing. Sounds interesting? Yes, indeed. I can’t wait to jump into another one of her mystery/thriller books. She hasn’t written many YA mysteries, so I wonder where she’ll go with this one.

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin (May 2)

I’m slipping more into the YA genre. And I admit that I’m completely and entirely hooked. Just twelve more days. TWELVE DAYS. I haven’t anticipated a book this badly. And we get 720 glorious pages! Okay, calm yourself, Sib. Now A Court of Wings and Ruins may just kill me, but I want it more than any other book (fighting words, yes?).

I can’t get enough of this series. The fanfiction doesn’t satisfy me, the illustrations somewhat stave off my anticipation, but I need the book. And my little bat babies. Hello, wingspan. 😍 Cue the fangirl screaming now. Cauldron help me.

 

Flame in the Mist (May 16)

Look at this cover! I’m in love. For months, I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about the Flame in the Mist. Betrayal, murder, Feudal Japan, and a kickass woman who infiltrates a male-only gang? I’m in. I haven’t read any of Renée‘s other work, but her book certainly piques my interest.

Waiting on Wednesday: Flame in the Mist

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Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, is a weekly meme that showcases upcoming book releases readers are eagerly awaiting.

23308087.jpegFlame in the Mist

Renée Ahdieh

Publication Date: May 16, 2017

Extent: 368 pages

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

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Why Am I Waiting?

Flame in the Mist is a retelling of Mulan. MULAN, I REPEAT, MULAN. What more can I say? I’m slowly getting into retellings. But this one, set in Feudal Japan, is just the book I’m looking for. Since childhood, I’ve adored her story. This year, I hope to find more stories focusing on POC protagonists. I’ve heard a lot of Renée’s previous series. So I look forward to see how Renée incorporates the Japanese culture into her book.

And  I can’t get over that cover.

Book Haul: November 2016

My poor and already full bookshelf. But I need more books. Scratch that thought. I need a bookshelf, not books. Uh, nope, that thought didn’t last three seconds. I’ll eventually get a new one. I think the suspense of reading these gorgeous books might kill me. Might?! Will. Definitely will.

22299763Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I’M NOT READY. I don’t want this series to end so quickly. Why? Why?! I need more people who feel the same way I do for this series so, at least, I can gush, cry over the characters, and not feel like such a possessive and crazily obsessed fan, or hopefully I can find more who think like me (thankfully I have Dana). The first book is just perfection mixed in six masterful POVs.

I can only hope for more stories of my perfect heist gang.

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20053031.jpgThe Witches of New York by Ami McKay

I will buy any book Ami publishes. I’m still waiting for the sequel of The Birth House. But seeing Moth again is such a great surprise! Moth, now named Adelaide Thom, has grown up.

When I found out Ami was publishing a new book, I wasn’t expecting to see Moth again. Now this book has a touch of supernatural, and  I’m always glad to get into that genre. Ami has a way to write an endearing, powerful female characters.

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rex-epub-cov2_origRex by Cody B. Stewart, Adam Rocke, and Mark Rogers

Oh look at it. I’m in love. It’s in my hands. FINALLY. I’ve seen some of the book’s birth through my friend Ellie, who is the publisher of Common Deer Press. And I’m so happy to see this book in the flesh.

You get a taste of E.T., Jurassic Park, and 90s scientific flare. I love how Rex gave me a little piece of my childhood back. You can find my review here.

Please, and I mean please, buy from small, indie publishers. The money made through direct sales will go to the publisher and authors, not a third-party seller!

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7ea7ea_e3a172eb0b7a42618cde0fc328529d09~mv2_d_1800_2475_s_2The Oddity by Kat Hawthorne

It’s so much prettier in person. So much. The Internet and the ARC don’t do it justice.

Kat takes you on a cleverly twisted journey told through eloquent prose. She injects the consequences of right or wrong, fate, and genetic engineering. And just to keep you guessing, she then intertwines tarot card and its lure into the mix.

Check out my review!

Again, buy from indie publishers!

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25143847.jpgThe Boatman by Kat Hawthorne

I’ve been wanting to read this book since the first I heard of it in my Book Design course. So when Common Deer Press sent it with my Rex copy, along with The Oddity (which I wasn’t expecting either), I freaked.

Isabel is a girl after my own heart. This odd child not only sees dead things  but also has a cast of interesting friends: a talking ventriloquist’s dummy and a gentleman in the form of a spider named Monty, who wears a top hat. You had me at dead things, but you sealed the deal with a top hat-wearing spider. But to make things even more creepy, she creates The Boatman, who lures children to a sleeping illness.

I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this book! Thank you, Ellie! ❤️

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Witches of New York

WoW4_edited-3

Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, is a weekly meme that showcases upcoming book releases that readers are eagerly awaiting.

20053031The Witches of New York

Ami McKay

Publication Date: October 27, 2016

Extent: 320 pages

The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom (‘Moth’ from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it’s finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and “gardien de sorts” (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan’s high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions–and in guarding the secrets of their clients.

All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor’s apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind?

Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches’ tug-of-war over what’s best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force.

As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they’re confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?

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Why Am I Waiting?

Come on, it’s Ami McKay. Of course I’m waiting for her new book! She’s the creator of Dora Rare from The Birth House and Moth from The Virgin Cure. To date, she may have published only two books, but she has become a great Canadian author. And her books are always beautifully designed. They are a rare treat for any reader.

With The Witches of New York, I would love to see how Moth has adapted from a child prostitute to a woman who now calls herself a witch. How has she adjusted from her previous life?

Both of Ami’s books are rich in history and showcases strong women. Ami brings these quiet, yet profound, characters to the forefront, and she becomes a beacon for the unheard voice of women. I’m eager to read Moth’s new life in a world and a society where women have little say.

Wrap-Up: July 2016

roundup

In July, I found some memorable reads and some fantastic ones. I’m only eight books away from my Goodreads Reading Challenge! Woo!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

A thought-provoking WWII story that explores the heart-breaking journey of two sisters who survive in occupied France. I haven’t cried so hard when I finished this book.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

A heart-pounding and character-driven fantasy that is sure to captivate any reader. Sabaa has a rare and upcoming talent that I hope will enchant me even more. I simply adore her debut novel. Her characters are one the best I’ve seen in years. I can live in her book for weeks!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

I can’t ask more from Kelley. She sure knows how to write a suspenseful and action-packed thriller. I love how Kelley brings out the psychologist in her. Her ability to address mental illness is superb.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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The Unquiet Past by Kelley Armstrong

A great Canadian read from my favourite author. This novel has a sprinkle of mystery, suspense, and supernatural. I love the banter between the two main characters.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong

A heart-wrenching fantasy that will not let you go! Kelley excels in her fantasy worlds. She is a master in her craft. I’m in love with this Cainsville series. I was not expecting this ending. Wow, I’m blown away. I can’t wait until Rituals is out!

Kelley’s fourth book in the Cainsville series will be out on August 9. You can also find the first five chapters here.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (4.5 actually)

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Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

1000H-9780312577223The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Published by: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: February 3, 2015

Genre: Historical fiction, WWII

Extent: 440 pages

Rating: 4/5


 In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.


“Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.”

I’ve been wanting to find another historical fiction set in WWII, and Kristin Hannah delivers just that book. I was hesitant with Nightingale because I was worried of how she might portray this war. You see, this book doesn’t centre around men and soldiers; it depicts the heartbreaking and secretive war women and children endure while men are at the front. Kristin’s writing lets you smell the gunpowder, hear the planes overhead, and listen to the cries of Parisians. What sets this book apart from other works is how Kristin shows you the aftermath of the war. Some books simply conclude at the end of the war. But she emphasizes the sense of loss, the shock, and the heartache.

I have not felt so empowered and so torn than I have when I read this book. There were times when I forced myself to put it down. Not many books have made me do so. At the beginning, I didn’t see Isabelle as an inspirational character, but later on, she grew on me. I asked myself what I would do in her situation, what I would undergo so I can live, how I would survive, and what I would give up in order to be the person I need to be. Her history and storyline completely gutted me.

Now, at first, I resented Vianne. I wanted her to hold on to Isabelle, rebuild her bond she once had with her younger sister, and show her sister what a family is meant to be. But then she gives up her house, her body, her sanity, and her safety for others, and I can’t help but be proud of who she becomes. Both Vianne and Isabelle are polar opposites, but their character development is astonishing. I was also disheartened when I witnessed the war moulding Sophie, Vianne’s daughter, into a hardened young adult. I wanted to keep telling Sophie to hold on to her childhood memories. What I love in Nightingale is how the Nazi Germans instill the fear into every Parisian, how that fear breeds division and segregation, and how the war shapes a generation of silence. Kristin illustrates this gradual fear, not an instantaneous one.

Kristin has beautifully crafted a powerful story that will make you question what you would do in a time where the future has no certainty. Nightingale turns out to be more than just a war story; it shows the forgotten and often hidden strength women have inside themselves.

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