Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Written by Heather Morris

36582334So I find that once I get out of the habit of reading it can be difficult to start again. I had finished the guild hunter series at the very start of July, and found my self a month later not having picked up a book since then.

I picked this up from my school library, and decided I would do what I tell my kids – and just read for ten minutes before I went to sleep each night. Easy to say this would have definitely been easier to read more of, and in the end I finished it a week later.

This is a historical novel based on a true story. I loved reading the comments by the author, who wrote it as a novel rather than a biography because she wanted to be able to add in Gita’s thoughts as well, and because Gita had already died when the author was told the story by Lale she did not have access to that information, as such it had to be fiction rather than a biography.

This is an amazingly heartwarming story. It is bleak, obviously, it is about one of our bleakest times in history, and is the story of survival. However more than that it is the story and hope of humanity which wins out. Of kindness beyond measure and even at one’s own expense.

This book is unsettling, to say the least, I have read a lot of fiction around the holocaust, but this is definitely feels like one of the more real accounts. It is horrifying to think about some of the things these people were put through, and as if the situation was not awful enough, have to then exist at the whim of others and their mood of the day.

I would really love to teach this book. While one thing I struggle with as an English teacher is the way students relate anything bad to Hitler and the holocaust I think that it is so important that books like this are read and studied.  In our current world far to many people are being put away in camps and being locked away without rights, reading accounts of this is the closest we can get to understanding. And literature most definitely offers a window into times we hope that we do not see again.

The character of Lale shows extraordinary strength, and is an admirable character throughout the text. It is him that is able to show us that hope is in fact the strongest aspect of them all.38359036

I would use this with older kids in the classroom, maybe year 10 – but more likely years 11 and 12.

Mrs K
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction

Review: The Guild Hunter Series

guild-huntersThe Guild Hunter Series. Written by Nalini Singh (all 11 books to date)

Including: Angel’s Blood, Archangel’s Kiss, Archangel’s consort, Archangel’s storm, Archangel’s Blade, Archangel’s Legion, Archangel’s Shadows, Archangel’s Enigma, Archangel’s Heart, Archangel’s Viper, Archangel’s Prophecy.

Angels rule over humans and vampires, but the most powerful of them all are the archangels. Beautiful. Deadly. Sometimes cruel. Always unpredictable. There are several different groups represented – the archangels, the angels, the vampires, and the Guild Hunters.

Alrighty. So these books I read over the holidays as well in Europe. This is 100% my guilty pleasure series. I read like I have not read since I was a teenager. I had the first book downloaded and read for Europe, then I had issues with my kindle connecting to the cruise ship wifi so had to shift to my phone Kindle app. I read in every possible place that I could, and literally would finish one book and buy the next instantly. (It is he only time every my husband and I have fought about my spending on books!)

I read for nearly the whole 17 hour flight from Dubai! If I was not reading I was sleeping – I had zero interest in my entertainment device in front of me!  Once I got home, I would wake up in the night to check the time, and end up reading for four hours, before sleeping a tiny bit again and then getting up to do the daily things that I had to do! I literally could not put these books down. My biggest disappointment was when I realised that the next book was not yet published.  But now that is actually an excitement as I get to go to the launch with the author!

Once I had finished all that had been published I literally wanted to turn around and start reading them again – I probably would have if it was not for that pesky thing called work!!

These books like I have said are 100% guilty pleasure. While I think everyone who loves fantasy should read them, they are not books that I would recommend my classes, nor do I see anyway to bring them into my classes.

So what did I enjoy? I enjoyed the merging of all the different aspects, the guild hunters, angels, archangels and vampires and mortals all living in the same world, and the hierarchy that develops. I loved the sleeping ancients and the way the world politics were worked out. I loved the relationships. I loved the setting, both New York, which was familiar, but also the Angel Keep, which sounded wondrously romantic. I loved that all books continued the same story but were told from different points of view.  I also love that she is a kiwi author.

It is hard to be critical of these books, and I honestly can see that I am totally biased, in terms of I am not being critical. But I am OK with that. I am OK with the concept of falling in love with a series and desperately wanting to live in that world.  I feel like the last time I felt like this I was year 10 and was with the Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden.

Mrs K
Genre: Fantasy, speculative fiction, urban fantasy, paranormal, romance

Review: Scales of Empire.

Scales of Empire. Written by Kylie Chan35000670._SY475_

This was the sixth book that I read in Europe, but three were part of a series, so I am going to review them all together.  Again, because it has been so long since I read it, my synopsis of the book is from goodreads, and to jog my own memory!

An exciting new adventure filled with diverse characters, strong heroes and heroines and wild creatures from the bestselling author of White Tiger.

Corporal Jian Choumaliis on the mission of a lifetime – security officer on one of Earth’s huge generation ships, fleeing Earth’s failing ecosystem to colonise a distant planet.

The ship encounters a technologically and culturally advanced alien empire, led by a royal family of dragons. The empire’s dragon emissary offers her aid to the people of Earth, bringing greater health, longer life, and faster-than-light travel to nearby stars.

But what price will the peopleof Earth have to pay for the generous alien assistance?

In this first book in a brand new series, Kylie Chan brings together pacey, compelling storytelling and an all-too-possible imagined future in a tale packed with action, adventure, drama and suspense.

So I chose this book because of the author. I loved Kylie Chan’s earlier series, the Dark Heavens series, and was very much looking forward to a similar series. It is safe to say that Scales of Empire was not a similar series. In fact talking to my husband as I read the book he was constantly confused between the AI and the dragons, confused as to why there was both.

However despite initially being disappointed with this book because it was so far from what I was expecting, I did have to admire that it was in fact so far from what I was expecting. Certainly we seem to see authors who tend to find a bit of a niche and then park there and stay there. SO it was cool to see Kylie Chan going to a totally new place. I also really liked that this book was unlike anything else that I have ever read, and was still full of twists and turns.

Overall – again; as with the last couple of reviews it has been too long since I read the book for a more detailed review, but my overall feeling is that I would recommend this book – although maybe not quite as readily as some of the others that I have read!

Mrs K
Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Dragons, Fantasy, Young Adult, teenage reads


Review: The Wicked King

The Wicked King written by Holly Black.

26032887._SY475_This was the second book I read on my Europe holiday. A sequel that I had been looking forward to.

Again more for my own memory the goodreads synopsis reads:

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

So I really really loved the first book in this series. Like really loved it and recommended it to everyone who would listen. However this second book was not quite as pleasing.  It picks up pretty much where the first book left off, which would have been fine if I was reading them back to back, but having had to write for the next book to be published this was not quite so good.

Many books I can pick up after an extended period of not reading the series and slot straight back into the series with no problems. This was not the case for this one, and it sadly took me about a third of the book to be able to remember what was happening and what in the book was important. This was frustrating as it meant that I had to push through in order to want to keep reading.

Eventually I caught up and the book was good, as I often find with Holly Black she is able to make the story twist and turn in ways that other authors often don’t. And she certainly did that in this story.

It has been too long since I read it for a more detailed response, but they were my general lasting feelings. Will I read the third one? ABSOLUTELY!!!

Mrs K
Genre: Speculative Fiction, Adolescent Fiction, Teenage Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult,

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Written by Laini Taylor  8490112

So it has been nearly three months since I have written a review. I promise that in that time I have been reading, but as was over in Europe was not writing reviews as I went. It is increasingly hard to write reviews in retrospect! However I will give it a go!

So – pretty much more to remind myself what this book was about more than anyone else… this is the goodreads synopsis

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

So the interesting thing is that while I remember enjoying this book, and vaguely remember the story, I do not remember the ending quite as much.

I feel like with a lot of hindsight and reflection this book offered your typical Romeo & Juliet kind of story line. One where two people from opposite factions or worlds meet and feel the attraction.  I remember the attraction these two characters had, and remember it being compelling, however the actual details of their story continue to be vague in my memory.

I did like the world creation, this year I have realized just how important that is for me in reading books, I need to see something different and it needs to be well thought out. This world, with the wishes and magical doors was certainly well thought out.

A quick google search just now has me realising the three books in the series are actually already published – which is interesting from the point of view I did not immediately search this up. However I was also not in a place where I could have just purchased the next one.

Overall I would recommend it, but it did not leave the lasting impression I would have liked!

Mrs K
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Angels, Speculative Fiction, Young Adult, Teenage Fiction