Apr 15, 2015

The Kommandant's Girl

You read one book written by Pam Jenoff and you find yourself getting so caught up in the story that she has crafted in such a trying time of history. You find yourself wanting to know about the history, the people that had to really go through what occurred. Most of all though you simply fall in love with the way she crafts such an authentic and raw story.


 Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma's husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city's decrepit, moldering Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Taken to Krakow to live with Jacob's Catholic cousin, Krysia, Emma takes on a new identity as Anna Lipowski, a gentile.
Emma's already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant. Urged by the resistance to use her position to access details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety and her marriage vows and in order to help Jacob's cause. As the atrocities of war intensify, so does Emma's relationship with the Kommandant, building to a climax that will risk not only her double life, but also the lives of those she loves.


The Kommandant's Girl didn't catch me right away like the other book I read by Pam Jenoff. It took me a second to grasp that we had gone backward from that first chapter. It was confusing at first until I realized that the author had gone backward to convey the events leading to the now. After that I was hooked and I found myself getting invested in Emma's life, the challenge's she faced.

I enjoyed Emma's narration. I found I could understand a lot behind her thinking, how torn she could be about the things she had to do for the resistance. I loved how strong she was mentally. She goes through so much and yet she is able to keep her cool despite being put under some serious nerve wracking tasks. Most of all though what I loved about the way she was written was how despite everything she always saw the little good that was in a person. 

I have never wanted to dislike a character so much but find that I really couldn't. The Kommandant was a character that has done some terrible things, yet you feel so drawn to him, you feel bad for him, you fall for him. Very much like Emma, you hate him but your affection towards him is there whether you really want to feel it or not. 

Having this book focus on the resistance and those who are trying to make a difference was fascinating to me. These people risk their lives everyday doing what they do to attempt to stop the Germans from killing all these Jewish people. That takes a certain amount of courage that you wonder if you would be able to do yourself. Whether it be you doing what Emma did or being the front man it all takes courage. 

This book doesn't necessarily feature a love triangle not in the traditional sense anyway. I loved the fact that Pam Jenoff didn't not acknowledge the fact that though Emma loved her husband dearly, she loved the Kommandant as well. The way she portrayed that confused affection was done really well and realistically.

The Kommandant's Girl is full of amazing characters, a raw story and authentic history setting. This book is getting 5 out of 5 birds from me! I will definitely continue to read books by Pam Jenoff. I have never enjoyed books written in history setting like I have with her books. Definitely recommend them to anyone who enjoys a great history read or those who are willing to give a book with history setting a shot. Worth the read!




Apr 7, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Should Be Reading were you grab a book, open it up, find something that isn't going to spoil the book and share it. Which is what I plan to do today! I will be sharing two teasers from The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff!




"His eyes would light up at the sight of an ice cream cart and I, unable to resist, would take a few pennies from our food money to buy him a vanilla cone." (pg 70)


"Still, I worry that some flash across my face or look in my eye, some gesture or intangible thing will scream out that I am a Jew." (pg 76)
 








I read a book by Pam Jenoff last year and it was really good. I knew I wanted to read more by her and I'm really enjoying The Kommandant's Girl at the moment. There's something about her books that makes you so curious about this time of history and why it had to go down the way that it did. Hope you enjoyed the teasers I picked out! Happy reading!

Apr 4, 2015

Paper Towns

I was late on the John Green bandwagon. It's taken me a long time to pick up his books but now that I have read three now I realize why he's such a beloved author by so many. His stories are real and they make you think about life. They also have these amazing moments that make you bust out laughing. Paper Towns had many of those laugh out loud moments among the seriousness.


 Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.


Ever since Margo Roth Spiegelman moved in next door to Quentin she's been the center of his attention. She has a way of disappearing, leaving clues to find her and after spending an adventurous night together Margo leaves leaving behind a trail for Quentin to unravel and follow. 

This book caught me like a fish right away. It was so easy to fall into John's writing that by the fourth chapter I thought "This is going to be my favorite John Green book." And now after reading the whole book I still have that feeling, only this time I know for sure it's my favorite that I have read of his. Granted, I still have books of his to check off my to-be-read list but with Paper Towns there are so many moments I want to pluck off the page and store in my brain.

Quentin is a really great character. He's quirky, determined, hilarious, typical video gaming guy. A little to caught up in Margo Roth Spiegelman? Yes, but it was easy to understand why he got so caught up in her. For so long he has watched her, studied her thinking he knew who this girl was only to realize he had no idea. I really enjoyed Quentin and his discovery of Margo and the person she is. I loved his inability to think of her as just Margo, to him she was always Margo Roth Speigelman.

There was something about Margo and Quentin's adventure that made me wish I could take part in it. I would like to think I would be witty and spontaneous like Margo but I know I'd be Quentin in that type of situation. I got so caught up in that one night that I almost wish it hadn't ended, that the adventure was endless between those two. There was something about it that captivated me. It was such a fun thing.

John Green created not only fantastic main characters but the friends to Quentin--Ben and Radar--were amazing. Ben is completely full of himself, a little bit obnoxious but boy is he funny. He's the type of person you can't help but want to know, yet at the same time am like "Thank god I don't have a friend like him". When I was laughing out loud nine out of ten times it had to do with Ben. "It's gonna blow!" nearly made me die of laughter. The banter between the three boys was great and flew as naturally as it should between a group of tight friends.

Though I really enjoyed this story there we're moments where I was a little frustrated. For one thing Quentin only thought about Margo and once she leaves it goes full throttle and his mission is to find her. I understood that was what this story was about, finding Margo, figuring out who this girl is and along the way figuring out who Quentin is. But, like Ben and Radar I would get frustrated with just how caught up in it he was. And yet I could understand why he was so consumed by her. It was mixture of feelings about it really.

Paper Towns is getting 4.5 out of 5 birds from me! I loved this book, the middle got a little slow at times but overall it was easy to fall into this story. It's one that sticks with you and makes you wonder where the characters are after the end. If you are a fan of John Green and haven't read this one yet I would recommend you get on it. This would be the book I would recommend to those who have yet to read anything by John Green.



Mar 19, 2015

Homecoming

Homecoming is the final book in The 100 series. I was really excited to read this one but I found that I wasn't as invested in the story as I was with the two previous books.


 Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space.

These new arrivals are the lucky ones - back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone - but after making it safely to Earth, GLASS's luck seems to be running out. CLARKE leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can't stop thinking about her parents who may still be alive. Meanwhile, WELLS struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and BELLAMY must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he'd left behind.

It's time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they've found on Earth, or risk losing everything - and everyone - they love.


The dynamic that has been settled in The 100's camp is shifting, quickly. Everyone faces challenges that boils down to living or dying at the hand of an enemy.

There was a lot about this book that caught me off guard. Some of it was expected as far as the progression of the plot. But when it came to Well's and Sasha...that took me off guard. A part of me thinks it was unnecessary yet I completely understand why Kass Morgan took that direction with these two characters. It was important for the character development but it still makes me wish things cold have gone different. I loved Wells by the end of this series and to be honest he became one of my favorites. His development as a character was one of the best in this series.

I lost my connection to Glass and Luke in the second book. It didn't come back in Homecoming. I was really hoping it would because I enjoyed their story in the beginning. It wasn't even that I stopped enjoying it, but I lost that spark of wanting to go back to Glass's point of view to know what was happening. I also feel like Luke just didn't get enough dialogue in this book.

Bellamy and Clarke are the power couple of this series. Their personalities mesh so well together, they make each other better. It really shines in this book as you see Bellamy make tough decisions. I don't think he would have been so kind had Clarke not been in his life. She makes him a little more level headed while he makes Clarke a little more easy going in certain aspects. I love these two characters as their own and together.

Part of my problem with this final book I think had to do with the fact I watch the show. Season Two had just come to a close and it was so intense that when this book came to a close I felt it fell a little flat. It wasn't that it was dull, but the show kept filling my mind and I couldn't get past that. Because of this I feel like I should have held off reading this final book until I had some time to not have the show still so fresh in my mind.

Though I had mixed feelings about this finale book I did enjoy it. I wish things hadn't been so rushed at the end, but overall I enjoyed the story. I am giving Homecoming 3.5 out of 5 birds! I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good story told in the future. I would also recommend people watch the show because both hold something that is really interesting and you get invested in both stories. Because though the show is based on the books it is very different.



Mar 2, 2015

Day 21

Immediately after reading The 100 by Kass Morgan I wanted the next book. Thankfully I started this series at the right time. The second book is out and the third one just came out a week or so ago. After reading this one I had that same feeling of wanting to read the next right away.


 No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.
It's been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They're the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries...or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other Colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.
In this pulse-pounding sequel to Kass Morgan's The 100, secrets are revealed, beliefs are challenged, and relationships are tested. And the hundred will struggle to survive the only way they can -- together.


Day 21 picks up two days where The 100 leaves us. Even though I went a few weeks before being to able to get a copy of this book it didn't take me long to get back into the story. If anything it sucked me in even further. The characters have grown, the story has progressed and things are getting twisty and turny.

There is quiet a bit of character growth in this one especially with Wells. He frustrated and often annoyed me in the first book. I never wanted to read his chapters, always waiting for it to switch back to Bellamy or Clarke. With Day 21 I found myself actually enjoying his chapters. When he isn't obsessive over Clarke he's actually a really awesome character. I'm really curious how things will go for him in the next book. Especially since it seems he will be one very involved with the Earthborns.

Bellamy and Clarke's relationship takes the next step in this book and I loved every bit of it! I was not expecting for there to be a connection between them and their pasts. Yet, it was perfect. It brought them together on a deeper level and it made Clarke come to terms with what has been haunting her.

Surprisingly I wasn't as invested in Glass's story as I was in the first book. I love Luke. I think he is a fantastic character but there a moments where I find I get a little bored with Glass and her love story with Luke.  I can't pinpoint what it was this time around but I couldn't fall in to their story like before.

There we're quiet a few surprises in the book that I didn't see coming, but a part of me felt I should have caught on. I personally really enjoy reading these books. They are quickly paced, the storyline its self is very intriguing and to top it off you've got fantastic characters. Some could use a little bit more fleshing out but most are written really well.

Day 21 is getting 4 out of 5 birds from me! I'm starting the third book in this series right away. I'm really curious to see what will happen next after the way it was ended. I'd recommend this series to anyone who loves a book set in a future with well written characters and an interesting premise. It's easy to get caught up in the story.