Books to Read (TBR list) – February 2021

Hello All,

In this post, I have made a tentative list of books that I plan to read in February. This is just an initial list, I am not sure how many more I might end up reading!

Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts, feedback or recommendations!


  • The Sigil by Shakail Kanish

The Sigil: A Novel - Part I

 

Genre: LGBTQ+ Dark Urban Fantasy

Release date: 4th March 2021

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I was intrigued by the concept of the book and am looking forward to reading it!

 

 

  • Pawns Gambit by Rob J. Hayes

Pawn's Gambit (A Mortal Techniques novel)

 

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Release date: 26th Jan 2021

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

  • Chaturanga (Baahubali before the beginning #2) by Anand Neelakantan

Chaturanga (Baahubali: Before the Beginning Book 2)

 

 

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction

Being a huge fan of the Baahubali movie franchise and having read book 1 in this series, I have finally got around to buying Book 2. I am looking forward to it!

 

 

 

  • Beautiful Façade by Kathryn S Rose

Beautiful Facade

 

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • An Ordinary Life by Amanda Prowse

An Ordinary Life

 

 

Genre: Historical Fiction

I requested for and received a copy of the book via NetGalley. I have read a few books by the author and have enjoyed them so far! This book sounds interesting and I would love to see what I think.

 

 

 

  • The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron

The Paris Dressmaker

 

 

Genre: Historical Fiction

I have been reading a lot of books in this genre and am enjoying the reads and discovering new authors! I am excited to read this book!

WWW WEDNESDAY – 03/02/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

Oath Taker (Kingdom of Runes, #1) Chaturanga (Baahubali: Before the Beginning Book 2)

What did you recently finish reading?

The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

A Vow So Bold And Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Once again I have a lot of books on my TBR list that look very interesting. I am going to try to catch up on a few books that I missed in January and then focus on those which will be releasing soon in February and onwards!

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Wrap-Up: Books Read in January 2021

Hey guys! 

Here’s my first wrap-up post of 2021!

I would like to talk about the books that I read in January and focus on the books that released in the month.

I managed to read 17 books in the month ( I have no idea how I managed this feat and I am not sure that the streak will continue, but let’s see :P), some of which made it to my 5 star reads category!

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Here are the books read so far (images from Goodreads):
The Henna Artist by Alka JoshiA Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid KemmererThe Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee DivakaruniThe Awakening by Andreas SuchanekMeet Me in Bombay by Jenny AshcroftBlood Casino by Nina WalkerThe Newlyweds by Arianne RichmondeThe Wrath of the Hellfires by Shatrujeet NathCrooked Kingdom by Leigh BardugoThe Conspiracy at Meru by Shatrujeet NathThe Vengeance of Indra by Shatrujeet NathSix of Crows by Leigh BardugoChristmas in Evergreen by Nancy NaigleAn American in Paris by Siobhan CurhamShelly's Stocking Goes Missing by Anitha RathodForget Russia by L. Bordetsky-WilliamsMy Name is Anton by Catherine Ryan Hyde
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Among these books, a huge shoutout to the following which were released in Jan 2021!
These books were beyond amazing and were straightaway promoted to favourite books of the year!

A Vow So Bold And Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

This is the final book in the Cursebreakers series and is a wonderfully crafted conclusion that ties up all lose ends and answers all questions! I loved it and am now craving for more content on some of our favourtie characters.

The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

The author is a favourite and her books are an absolute must read! This book based on Rani Jindan Kaur, a lesser known, almost forgotten Queen of the Sikh Empire is very well-written. The story based on historical fact, brings out a myriad of emotions that will pull the reader in and keep them hooked until the very end!

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Once again, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts or book recommendations! You can also just stop by to chat, I’m almost always around! 🙂

Book Review: The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Hello Everyone! 

I would like to share some happy news before diving into my review of this wonderful book!

This is my 500th Post on the blog and a milestone for my blogging journey of 7.5 years!

I am very happy to have reached this milestone and to have all of you wonderful people (authors, publishers and bloggers alike) come along with me on this journey!

A huge thank you to everyone for the encouragement and support! 

Now, here goes…. My Thoughts on The Last Queen by one of my all time favourite authors Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

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About the Book:

‘I am Rani Jindan, Mother of the Khalsa. That is my identity. That is my fate.’

Daughter of the royal kennel keeper, the beautiful Jindan Kaur went on to become Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s youngest and last queen; his favourite. She became regent when her son Dalip, barely six years old, unexpectedly inherited the throne. Sharp-eyed, stubborn, passionate, and dedicated to protecting her son’s heritage, Jindan distrusted the British and fought hard to keep them from annexing Punjab. Defying tradition, she stepped out of the zenana, cast aside the veil and conducted state business in public. Addressing her Khalsa troops herself, she inspired her men in two wars against the ‘firangs’. Her power and influence were so formidable that the British, fearing an uprising, robbed the rebel queen of everything she had, including her son. She was imprisoned and exiled. But that did not crush her indomitable will.

An exquisite love story of a king and a commoner, a cautionary tale about loyalty and betrayal, and a powerful parable of the indestructible bond between mother and child, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s unforgettable novel brings alive one of the most fearless women of the nineteenth century, an inspiration for our times.

My Thoughts:

The Last Queen follows the life of Rani Jindan, the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh as she goes from being a common to a Queen. Her story is exquisitely written in this book by author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni with a keen attention to detail and historical fact. This is a poignant tale of love, loss, loyalty, bravery, betrayal, changing alliances and much more.

Jindan Kaur comes off a strong woman whose thirst for knowledge sets her apart. She seeks to learn and when she catches the Maharaja’s eye, she also partakes in many conversations about the kingdom and the many intricacies of ruling. Learning to navigate her way through the Zenana, Jindan becomes careful and shrewd, bowing down where necessary and standing up otherwise.

I truly enjoyed reading about her in this book which brings the Last Queen of the Sikh Empire to life. It is not a simple fantasy of a love story and a happy ending. There are so many layers to the characters and their lives that the reader is in for an emotional ride! The most important part of the story that resonates even after reading it, is the bond between mother and child. The way Jindan fights for the kingdom for her son and later fights just to see him is the strongest, most pure form of love!

As the last wife of the Maharaja, Jindan’s son doesn’t have any claim to the throne. However, circumstances change making him the king at a young age and Jindan the regent. As she navigates her way through the durbar and meetings, we see a side of her that is intriguing. Stepping above the norms of the community which dictates that women do not show their face or even take part in matters of the state, Jindan takes her role as regent seriously and thus makes quite a few enemies. With the British knocking at the door, there’s no clear way to determine whom to trust and whom not to.

This book is well-researched and very well-written. The author brings to us a story that is long forgotten, but one that should be known. It shows us what a woman can do and how much she is capable of dealing with, both physically and emotionally. The historical aspects of the story are handled well and thus we learn quite a lot from it, right from how the kings handled things, to the War of Independence and even get a glimpse into Sikhism and it’s many aspects. I choose not to talk much about the story as it is clear from the synopsis. I am more taken by the delivery and the final effect of this book!

Having been a fan of the author for some time now, this book was indeed a must read and it is totally worth it! This book will inspire you to read more, know more, learn more!

Book Review: Forget Russia by L. Bordetsky-Williams

This is my first book review post for 2021! Happy New Year everyone!

I was provided with a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am a little late in finishing up this book due to all the parallel work and books I was reading, but I have finished it now. so read on to know my thoughts.

About the Book:

“Your problem is you have a Russian soul,” Anna’s mother tells her. In 1980, Anna is a naïve UConn senior studying abroad in Moscow at the height of the Cold War—and a second-generation Russian Jew raised on a calamitous family history of abandonment, Czarist-era pogroms, and Soviet-style terror. As Anna dodges date rapists, KGB agents, and smooth-talking black marketeers while navigating an alien culture for the first time, she must come to terms with the aspects of the past that haunt her own life. With its intricate insight into the everyday rhythms of an almost forgotten way of life in Brezhnev’s Soviet Union, Forget Russia is a disquieting multi-generational epic about coming of age, forgotten history, and the loss of innocence in all of its forms.

My Thoughts:

Forget Russia follows Anna as she spends some time studying abroad in Moscow, trying to piece together her roots and experience the Russia of her grandmother’s time. Even though her mother discourages her, this is something that she feels she has to do.

The story jumps back and forth between Anna’s experiences and her grandmother Sarah’s story, thus giving us a glimpse into the past and how they came to be in the US. The author also elaborates on the situation in Russia, the Cold War and the lives of the people. Even though I do not know much about Russian history, it was great to read this book and learn a little something about it. However, I cannot attest to the correctness of the events and so I will not comment upon them.

The author does a good job of narrating the characters experiences and thus taking the reader into a world thus far slightly unexplored! As a result, I enjoyed reading this book and getting to know the various people in it. They were well thought out and I am sure reflect some of what people really experienced.

I would recommend this book for those who would like to read about experiences and a book set in Russia.

Round-up of the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2020!

At the beginning of the year I had planned to read around 50 books (keeping in mind my work schedules and timelines). However, as a result of the pandemic and work from home situation, I was able to increase this number up to 74!

As per the Goodreads stats, the longest book I read was Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer (671 pages), Edwards take on the events that occur in Twilight.

The shortest book read, with just 24 pages was a delightful children’s book titled Dinosaur Adventure: A Field Trip to Remember (Let’s Learn While Playing #2) by Kelly Santana-Banks

It also turns out that my average rating is 3.5 stars!

I love how Goodreads has summarized the books and my year. Check out my list here.

MY 2020 BOOKS
The Tower Lord by Anthony RyanA Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid KemmererShadow Trials by Isla FrostFirstborn Academy by Isla FrostFirstborn Academy by Isla Frost
The Selection by Kiera CassThe One by Kiera CassThe Elite by Kiera CassHouse of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. MaasTwo Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Inebriated by Katey TaylorLegendary by Stephanie GarberDragon Connection by Ava RichardsonFinale by Stephanie GarberSunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten WhiteQueen of Corvids by J.C. McKenzieRescuing Lord Inglewood by Sally BrittonPrejudice Meets Pride by Rachael AndersonA History of Hexing by Evie Wilde
Keep Forever by Alexa KingaardThe School for Good and Evil by Soman ChainaniThe Girl in the Corner by Amanda ProwseA Torch Against the Night by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa TahirAsh Princess by Laura SebastianLady Smoke by Laura SebastianEmber Queen by Laura SebastianWrong Place, Right Time by E.B. Roshan
Summer at Hope Haven by Kristin HarperLucy's Last Chance by Elle SweetMidnight Sun by Stephenie MeyerWho Threw Draco Down the Chimney? by Smita BhattacharyaThe Damned by Renée Ahdieh
The Beautiful by Renée AhdiehThe Guilty Die Twice by Don HartshornThorne Bay by Jeanine CroftProject Hackathon by Arushi AggarwalTwo Murders Too Many by Bluette Matthey
Return to Virgin River by Robyn CarrThe Pigeon Whisperer by Motaz H MatarHinterland by L.M. BrownThe Tech by Mark RavineDinosaur Adventure by Kelly Santana-Banks
Aunt Ivy's Cottage by Kristin HarperPrism by Nina WalkerThe Pageant by Leigh WalkerThe Gala by Leigh WalkerFracture by Nina Walker
The Finale by Leigh Walker337 by M. Jonathan LeeTen Days with a Duke by Erica RidleyThe Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet NathRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt HandlerBeyond Belief by Ronald CrouchThe Eye of Ra by Ben GartnerSol Invictus by Ben GartnerThe Case of the Smuggler’s Curse by F.S. Dawson
Murder at the Lakeside Library by Holly DanversThe Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie MidwoodNever Say No by Elizabeth NeepA ​Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir58 Farm End by Natasha Murray
Across the Lake by Nancy LiPetriWedding Bells on Victory Street by Pam HowesForever Your Duke by Erica RidleyChronicles of a Spell Caster by J.J. SingletonSummer of L.U.C.K. by Laura Segal Stegman
Midnight Train to Prague by Carol WindleyThe Lost Village by Daniela SacerdotiAlessia in Atlantis: The Forbidden VialMurder in the Snow (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #4)

Do share your thoughts on the books I’ve read and don’t hesitate to leave recommendations for books to read in 2021!

Book Review: The Lost Village by Daniela Sacerdoti

About the Book:

The Lost Village

1945: Two sisters give birth to two little girls on the same night, huddled under blankets, deep in the black woods that surround their village. They hold their babies close as footsteps approach. If they make even the slightest sound, the German soldiers will find them…

2006: Luce Nardini clutches a plane ticket to Italy in her trembling hands. Since her only child left home, and with her estranged husband more distant than ever, she’s been overwhelmed with loneliness. She never knew her father, or the reason why her mother cut all contact with her family in the little village of Bosconero. Lost and unravelling fast, uncovering her roots feels like Luce’s last and only hope.

As Luce searches the maze of cobbled streets, a house with a faded blue door draped in perfect white roses stops her in her tracks. Inside is the grandmother she never knew, who – with a longing look at an ornate wooden box on her nightstand – begins to tell the heart-wrenching story of a little village ravaged by war, and why Luce’s mother fled home and swore never to return.

Surrounded by new friends and faded frescoes of saints, Luce is just starting to feel like she belongs when the unthinkable happens: an earth-shattering disaster that shakes the little village of Bosconero to its core. Could it be that the secrets of Luce’s past have been buried forever?

Frightened, hopeless and feeling more alone than ever before, will the surprise arrival of the husband she thought she’d lost help sew Luce’s family back together, or tear it apart for good? One thing is certain: she must find the little wooden box amongst the rubble of the village and return it to her grandmother. But nothing will have prepared Luce for the devastating betrayal she finds inside…

An unputdownable historical romance about the secrets we keep to protect the ones we love by the author of million-copy Amazon No 1. bestseller, Watch Over Me. Perfect for anyone who loves Fiona Valpy, Lily Graham or The Letter by Kathryn Hughes.

My Thoughts:

I received a copy of the book via NetGalley and am truly happy that I found it!

The Lost Village by Daniela Sacerdoti is a brilliant tale of love, loss, betrayal and the effect of secrets. Set in today’s world, we meet Luce Nardini who travels to Italy to find out more about her mother’s side of the family. Her mother refused to talk about her family and hints at secrets buried deep.

The author weaves a classic tale that is unputdownlable and gripping until the very end. Modern day is interspersed with the narration of times past. Luce’s grandmother talks of her life during WWII and the impact it had on their lives, on Italy and the people. She talks of finding love, marriage, children, her love and hate for her sister Nora and more. As secrets once buried come to the surface, Luce has the choice to stop or hear it all as she tries to find her place and bring her family together.

Dealing with her own problems, Luce seeks to immerse herself in finding out the truth behind her family and as the story unravels, the reader feels all the emotions along with the various characters. I loved reading about Luce’s cousin and her fiancé, Luce’s relationship with her son and the bonds she forms with the people she meets in Italy.

This story is mind-blowing and so well-written that all incidents that happen seem to be happening to the reader as well. There is not one moment when you will feel like stopping as the story flows seamlessly merging past with present and so on.

I truly loved this book and recommend this to all fans of historical fiction. This story is not just about the war, it is about the people who experienced it and the things they did to survive. But, secrets have a way of coming out in the end and the impacts are tremendous as can be seen from this book.

Round-up 2020 – Historical Fiction!

Having read a whole lot of books this year, I have decided to do a sum up of the different genres and list my favorite books among those read in 2020!

These posts will help me with the final round-up of favorite books read in 2020 at the end of the year (in another 15 days! :D)

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In this post, I am summarizing the list of historical fiction that I read and enjoyed this year! They are not listed in any particular order and I truly enjoyed all of them. I have started to read more books in this genre and I am thoroughly enjoying them. I have a huge line-up of books to finish this year and to start off 2021 with a bang.

A huge thank you to NetGalley and the publishers listed for approving some of the books I have requested.

This post will be divided into two sections: one for the books read and reviewed already with excerpts from my review and a link to the full review (title is a hyperlink); and one for the books that I am yet to read and are now a part of my ever growing TBR list (book synopsis provided from Goodreads or NetGalley).

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Books read and reviewed in 2020 so far…..

The Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood

The Violinist of Auschwitz

The Violinist of Auschwitz is based on the real life story of Alma Rosé, an esteemed violinist before her world came crashing down as she was brought to the camp at Auschwitz. Alma was indeed a very strong woman, who made it her mission to save as many lives as she could while building an orchestra in the midst of all the sorrow.

Ellie Midwood is a brilliant story teller and she brings Alma’s story to life just like Alma brought music to life. This story is spell-binding, heart-wrenching, filled with so much hatred and even love, that it will remain with the reader even after finishing the book.

 

 

 

Wedding Bells on Victory Street (The Bryant Sisters #2) by Pam Howes

Wedding Bells on Victory Street (The Bryant Sisters #2)

The story follows the Bryant Sisters as they travel the country during WWII, providing entertainment for the troops. I directly read this book without having read the first one, but it did affect the story for me. I was able to easily connect with the main characters and follow their journey in this book.

This is a love story set in the time of WWII and it brings to us a feeling of hope for the characters and a feeling of joy in spite of all the sadness. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would recommend it to everyone!

 

 

 

Keep Forever by Alexa Kingaard

Keep Forever is a story that will take the rider on a roller coaster of emotions. It follows the lives of Paul and Sam as they navigate their way through being Marines and their short experience with War in Vietnam. We also follow Elizabeth, Sam’s sister as she tries to hold on to her emotions and childhood while dealing with the loss of her parents and the responsibility of her younger siblings.

A very well-written story, Keep Forever will pull the reader in and make up experience everything along with the main characters. The happiness, the turmoil, the heart-wrenching sadness and the flicker of hope.

This story is a must read for everyone, a way to try and understand the nightmares of war and how it affects us human beings!

 

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Books currently being read and on the TBR list….

Midnight Train to Prague by Carol Windley (Released in 2020)
Midnight Train to Prague
About the Book:

An unforgettable tale of what we owe to those we love, and those we have left behind

In 1927, as Natalia Faber travels from Berlin to Prague with her mother, their train is delayed in Saxon Switzerland. In the brief time the train is idle, Natalia learns the truth about her father and meets a remarkable woman named Dr. Magdalena Schaefferová, whose family will become a significant part of her future.

Shaken by these events, Natalia arrives at a spa on the shore of Lake Hevíz in Hungary. Here, she meets the journalist and writer Miklós Count Andorján. In time, they will marry, and Natalia will devote herself to life on a rural estate in Hungary.

When war breaks out in Europe, Natalia loses contact with Miklós. She believes they are to meet in Prague, a city under Nazi occupation. She sets up shop as a fortune teller with a pack of Tarot cards. In this guise, she meets Magdalena Schaefferová’s young daughter, Anna. Accused by the Nazis of spying, Natalia is sent to a concentration camp. In April 1945, Natalia and Anna are reunited, and with courage and determination, find the strength to begin again in a changed world.

The Lost VillageAbout the Book:

1945: Two sisters give birth to two little girls on the same night, huddled under blankets, deep in the black woods that surround their village. They hold their babies close as footsteps approach. If they make even the slightest sound, the German soldiers will find them…

2006: Luce Nardini clutches a plane ticket to Italy in her trembling hands. Since her only child left home, and with her estranged husband more distant than ever, she’s been overwhelmed with loneliness. She never knew her father, or the reason why her mother cut all contact with her family in the little village of Bosconero. Lost and unravelling fast, uncovering her roots feels like Luce’s last and only hope.

As Luce searches the maze of cobbled streets, a house with a faded blue door draped in perfect white roses stops her in her tracks. Inside is the grandmother she never knew, who – with a longing look at an ornate wooden box on her nightstand – begins to tell the heart-wrenching story of a little village ravaged by war, and why Luce’s mother fled home and swore never to return.

Surrounded by new friends and faded frescoes of saints, Luce is just starting to feel like she belongs when the unthinkable happens: an earth-shattering disaster that shakes the little village of Bosconero to its core. Could it be that the secrets of Luce’s past have been buried forever?

Frightened, hopeless and feeling more alone than ever before, will the surprise arrival of the husband she thought she’d lost help sew Luce’s family back together, or tear it apart for good? One thing is certain: she must find the little wooden box amongst the rubble of the village and return it to her grandmother. But nothing will have prepared Luce for the devastating betrayal she finds inside…

An unputdownable historical romance about the secrets we keep to protect the ones we love by the author of million-copy Amazon No 1. bestseller, Watch Over Me. Perfect for anyone who loves Fiona Valpy, Lily Graham or The Letter by Kathryn Hughes.

 

An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham (Publication Date: 4th Jan 2021)

An American in ParisAbout the Book:

Walking through Montmartre that morning was like the eerie calm right before a storm. The roads were deserted. We carried on, arm in arm, and then finally, we saw them. Columns and columns of soldiers, spreading through the streets like a toxic grey vapour. ‘You must write about this,’ he whispered to me. ‘You must write about the day freedom left Paris.’

1937: Florence has dreamed her whole life of coming to Paris. She arrives on a sweltering summer day and, lost on the steep streets of Montmartre, asks for directions from Otto, a young artist with paint-spattered clothes and the most beautiful smile she has ever seen.

Otto becomes her guide to Paris, taking her to visit paintings in the Louvre and bookshops by the Seine. And when Otto returns home to finish his studies, they vow to reunite on the same spot they met, one year to the day.

Still dreaming of their parting kiss, Florence starts writing for an American newspaper and throws herself into becoming truly Parisian. All too soon, heady days of parties and champagne are replaced by rumours of war. When Otto finally returns to her, it is as an exile, fleeing Nazi persecution.

Soon, not even Paris is safe. Florence’s articles now document life under occupation and hide coded messages from the Resistance. But with the man she loves in terrible danger, her words feel hollow and powerless. If Florence risks everything by accepting a dangerous mission, can she rescue their dreams from that sunny day before the war?

A sweeping wartime story that will capture your heart and never let it go. Fans of The Alice NetworkThe Lost Girls of Paris and My Name is Eva will be absolutely gripped from the very first page.

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There are many many more to this list and I hope to talk about the books soon! In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on the books in this post and share recommendations! I am open to suggestions!

Thank you in advance for stopping by!

Book Review: The Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood

About the Book:

The Violinist of Auschwitz

Auschwitz, 1943: In the depths of hell, can hope rise? And can love triumph over hatred?

Based on the unforgettable true story of Alma Rosé, The Violinist of Auschwitz brings to life one of history’s most fearless, inspiring and courageous heroines. Alma’s bravery saved countless lives, bringing hope to those who had forgotten its meaning…

In Auschwitz, every day is a fight for survival. Alma is inmate 50381, the number tattooed on her skin in pale blue ink. She is cooped up with thousands of others, torn from loved ones, trapped in a maze of barbed wire. Every day people disappear, never to be seen again.

This tragic reality couldn’t be further from Alma’s previous life. An esteemed violinist, her performances left her audiences spellbound. But when the Nazis descend on Europe, none of that can save her…

When the head of the women’s camp appoints Alma as the conductor of the orchestra, performing for prisoners trudging to work as well as the highest-ranking Nazis, Alma refuses: “they can kill me but they won’t make me play”. Yet she soon realizes the power this position offers: she can provide starving girls with extra rations and save many from the clutches of death.

This is how Alma meets Miklos, a talented pianist. Surrounded by despair, they find happiness in joint rehearsals, secret notes, and concerts they give side by side––all the while praying that this will one day end. But in Auschwitz, the very air is tainted with loss, and tragedy is the only certainty… In such a hopeless place, can their love survive?

This devastatingly heartbreaking yet beautifully hopeful tale proves that even in the darkest of days, love can prevail––and give you something to live for. Fans of The Choice, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Orphan Train will lose their hearts to this magnificent tale.

My Thoughts:

The Violinist of Auschwitz is based on the real life story of Alma Rosé, an esteemed violinist before her world came crashing down as she was brought to the camp at Auschwitz. Alma was indeed a very strong woman, who made it her mission to save as many lives as she could while building an orchestra in the midst of all the sorrow. Bringing even a small amount of joy or hope to the people around her made her happier. Learning to navigate the camp, Alma uses her talent to gain favour with the camp officials, cementing a place for her girls and ensuring their safety.

In addition to finding people around her, she finds love in Miklos, a talented pianist thus finding some happiness in the midst of it all. Alma’s music, described as spell-binding and known to make even the most rigid person emote, made her indispensable in the heart of the camp. Alma’s legacy continues on through her story, her music and love and all the girls she saved.

This story is a highly emotional read, the reality of the concentration camp and the people both in it and who ran it was difficult to read about. However, the author has done a wonderful job detailing the Auschwitz concentration camp and she doesn’t hesitate to tell it like it is, right from the experiments run on the people to the gas chambers themselves. Ellie Midwood is a brilliant story teller and she brings Alma’s story to life just like Alma brought music to life. This story is spell-binding, heart-wrenching, filled with so much hatred and even love, that it will remain with the reader even after finishing the book.

Book Review: The Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski

About the Book:

A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?

The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

About the Author:

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeoBorstinski

Website: http://www.leopoldborstinski.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B071ZZXZMR?_encoding=UTF8&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true&ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000&rfkd=1&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1572945986&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+bowery+slugger&qid=1572946119&sr=8-1

Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdid=book-7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_read&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_viewport

NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bowery-slugger-leopold-borstinski/1133282419

My Thoughts:

The Bowery Slugger follows the life of Alex as he steps off a boat and onto American soil. This is a well-written story set during the onset of World War I, bringing the reader to a small part of the world and it’s inhabitants. Alex, in his teenage years, is smart and ruthless, grabbing opportunities and finding his way forward. We are introduced to the Jewish New York mob and how it is run. We meet some very interesting people who add different views and dimensions to this story.

The story is fast paced and at some points is quite graphic and gruesome. However, the author handles the plot quite well and the reader is pulled in the midst of family drama, power struggles, trust and status. The characters are well crafted and fit into the historical setting of this first book. The period and setting is so well described that it is easy for us as the readers to imagine it all in our minds.

Though slow at the beginning, the story picks up speed and pushes forward to an interesting climax. There is indeed some romance brought into the mix, but it takes a back seat most of the time. This story arc shows the reader a contrast in character thinking and brings into focus the skills of the main protagonist. As Alex starts to consider a move from his profession for the sake of love, he starts to wonder at his skill set and whether he is cut out for a world away from crime and the mob.

The plot is elaborately crafted and the reader takes a journey through the hierarchy of people and how the system works. There is a weird sense of justice about the job Alex holds inspite of the violence. there is a sense of honor.

The Bowery Slugger, an apt title for Alex in my opinion, is well worth a read!