Mischling by Affinity Konar makes you feel what the characters feel. It’s beautifully written.

0316182885.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgStasha must care for: the funny, the future, the bad. It’s 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood. As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele’s Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain. That winter, at a concert orchestrated by Mengele, Pearl disappears. Stasha grieves for her twin, but clings to the possibility that Pearl remains alive. When the camp is liberated by the Red Army, she and her companion Feliks–a boy bent on vengeance for his own lost twin–travel through Poland’s devastation. Undeterred by injury, starvation, or the chaos around them, motivated by equal parts danger and hope, they encounter hostile villagers, Jewish resistance fighters, and fellow refugees, their quest enabled by the notion that Mengele may be captured and brought to justice within the ruins of the Warsaw Zoo. As the young survivors discover what has become of the world, they must try to imagine a future within it. (From Goodreads)

I don’t know what to say except it was a beautifully written novel given the subject matter. It’s never easy to write about this particular period in history and never will be. However at least what an author can do is make it readable and make it a good story worthwhile to read.

You really do feel for Stasha and Pearl once they’re herded into the camp and are used as experimental fodder to play with. You see both of them mature rapidly and have their childhoods robbed from them near the start of the novel. They were already close to begin with yet because of the circumstances they’re closer with them trying to hold and support each other. It’s almost heartbreaking to read because without one, the other just simply feels they don’t exist.

As to when Pearl disappears, you feel the separation anxiety as you progress through the novel. You feel Stasha’s pain and emptiness. Her other half is gone and she has no idea if she’s alive or not. You can feel the void within Stasha and as you continue reading, you’re still feeling the pain and you’re wondering throughout the novel if she will ever see Pearl again. This is great writing on the authors part as you can distinctly feel what the characters are feeling throughout the novel.

There’s a small cast of characters in this book. Some stand out more than others. Bruna stood out for me a lot. I loved every aspect of her and her strength. Then you have Peter, Feliks and the nursing staff at the camp. You don’t get attached to them as much as Pearl and Stasha are the main ones to be focused on. However, for me, I really loved Bruna.

The only criticism I would have for this book is I found it sometimes a little too wordy and poetic at times. It made it for some areas of the book hard to follow – it would be best to avoid this type of writing. Yes it sets the mood and makes it melancholy but the subject matter itself is already sad and tragic to begin with. I believe that’s enough as it is.

Definitely recommended for those that are interested in this particular historical period.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

 

#urbanfantasy at its’ finest #bookreview of Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore

0316182885.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgNecromancer is such an ugly word, but it’s a title Eric Carter is stuck with. He sees ghosts, talks to the dead. He’s turned it into a lucrative career putting troublesome spirits to rest, sometimes taking on even more dangerous things. For a fee, of course. When he left L.A. fifteen years ago he thought he’d never go back. Too many bad memories. Too many people trying to kill him. But now his sister’s been brutally murdered and Carter wants to find out why. Was it the gangster looking to settle a score? The ghost of a mage he killed the night he left town? Maybe it’s the patron saint of violent death herself, Santa Muerte, who’s taken an unusually keen interest in him. Carter’s going to find out who did it and he’s going to make them pay. As long as they don’t kill him first. (From Goodreads)

This is a perfect book for you to get out of your reading rut and to get back into your reading groove! It’s got everything you needed. Lots of action, a protagonist that tries to have a heart but doesn’t because he still ends up looking like the jackalope of the year. Wow. Where do I start with this one.

Eric is the lone wolf type of character who although he tries to reach out and have some friends- sometimes it’s just not a great idea. Seems like everything around him likes  to crash and burn. Don’t mistake that for him being a tragic hero. He’s a jerk all right. Yet he’s a jerk because of what he’s gone through and what he’s put his loved ones through. That’s what makes his character readable and what makes the book a good one. Here, you don’t have the typical hero who’s out to save the day and you don’t have the sad sap that’s out to prove himself. He did some bad things, left town, and came back and is most likely going to do more bad things. It’s about time we read an anti hero like Eric.

Plot wise, it’s pretty straight forward. Lots of supernatural elements and magic. Lots of action and fighting. There’s not much guess work but it’s pretty much figured out who did what and why (although the revelation at the end paves the way for the next book). I rather like the Santa Muerte plot arc. I think there’s going to be more where that came from and can’t wait to read more. Setting wise, it’s generic but when it gets to the supernatural elements with the ghosts and how Eric can travel between both worlds makes it more interesting (the part where he goes to find Santa Muerte is even better it’s like alternative worlds with a supernatural twist to it)

Loved the book, and I’ll keep going with this series. If you’re into The Dresden Files, or Urban Fantasy with a jerk anti hero this is the book to read. It’s quick and fast paced if you’re fully immersed in the book as I was then this book will be finished in no time.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

(One mark off because I hated the romance in it. The dude was hurt and looked like a truck hit him and he still can have some booty? I think not. Ain’t got time for that when I want to heal up.)

 

 

#bookreview of Frost by Marianne Baer #YA #youngadult

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Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school starts with a cruel shock: Frost House, the cozy Victorian dorm where she and her best friends live, has been assigned an unexpected roommate—eccentric Celeste Lazar. As classes get under way, strange happenings begin to bedevil Frost House: frames falling off walls, doors locking themselves, furniture toppling over. Celeste blames the housemates, convinced they want to scare her into leaving. And although Leena strives to be the peacekeeper, soon the eerie happenings in the dorm, an intense romance between Leena and Celeste’s brother, David, and the reawakening of childhood fears all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. But does the threat lie with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind…or in Frost House itself? (from Goodreads)

Love the cover of this! Certainly has an appeal to it and is eye catching.

This book had all the potential to be a suspenseful creepy novel. It certainly had it’s moments because it kept you guessing, was this something supernatural? Or something else entirely? So it had that going for the novel, but it falls pretty short.

The plot itself just seemed long winded and long. A little too long to get the ball rolling. As a result, it got boring and anticlimactic. By the time you got to the ending you were barely interested in the book and just wanted it to end. Which is unfortunate considering the book had some potential.

The character themselves were alright but had nothing special going.  Celeste really bothered me as a character. She was pushy, erratic, and a complete drama queen. Overall annoying in the novel. Leena herself wasn’t so bad to read although she’s a people pleaser, yet at the same time alienates them and in the end, well, she sort of had it coming didn’t she? I wasn’t too happy with the way Abby and Viv treated Leena but you did have to understand where they were coming from. So in a way, their behavior towards Leena made sense.

I wish this book was much better. It had all the characteristics of a good novel but fell really short. I don’t regret giving it a try but it’s just not what I hoped for. Not really worth the read.

I give it a 5 out of 10.

Slow moving plot in different character views #bookreview #mystery

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A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return. With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present. Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath. (From Goodreads)

First thing: I haven’t read The Girl on the Train so I picked up this book and just went in because I felt like a good mystery.

So was it any good?

Yes and no. There were several story arcs going on in this novel which was alright and easy to follow. I’d rather enjoyed reading most of them. I didn’t enjoy reading about Julia though. It’s not because I don’t sympathize with what she went through, it must have been horrible. I just didn’t really like her much as a character. There were moments where she was completely weak and useless. However, I’m glad of her outcome and of her development. Of all the characters;  Lena and Julia developed the most.

In the beginning of the novel, I found it a little hard to follow at first. Each chapter is told in the point of view of another character and rotates all throughout the story. So you have to be aware of who’s who early in the story. There’s also flashbacks involved (those aren’t hard to follow though.)

I’d have to say, the character I enjoyed reading the most was Lena because of her fiery personality and her attitude (typical teenage angst but it was well done.) The rest of the characters were all right to read but don’t really produce enough of a presence to make such a huge impact on the book. Patrick, Mark, and Sean make your teeth grind though. The three of them being odious spineless bastages who need to get their due. Unfortunately…well…one of them gets their due. (Won’t spoil it any further.)

Plot wise, it’s a subtle slow moving mystery. The reader is kept guessing and although it may seem obvious as to who has done it, there’s more to just a whodunit. There’s a reasoning behind the deed that has taken place. There were few elements of some sort of supernatural characteristics in the plot but it’s nothing to be in awe about and it doesn’t really put any depth into the story or make the plot go further. It could be considered as just to fill in the blanks into the novel. Which I wasn’t too crazy about.

I ended up finishing it because it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t the best I’ve read either. Would I recommend it? Not really. Worth the read? It’s all right. Some people may like this type of story some might not. (It has a feeling of a TV movie to it, in my opinion.)

I give it a 5 out of 10.