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.