ARC Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

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Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, Book #1)

Author: Anne Blankman

My Rating:blog 3 leaf rating

Buy from Amazon – Buy from Waterstones – Buy from The Book Depository

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In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she’s ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

 

– summary from Prisoner of Night and Fog’s Goodreads page
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I did enjoy Prisoner of Night and Fog, but at the same time it was a very mixed book. I had quite high expectations since this was my first physical ARC, and since I was studying the time period whilst reading it. However, Prisoner of Night and Fog has proved to be a hard book for me to review. Whilst I did enjoy it, it wasn’t the all enrapturing, unputdownable enjoyment that I had been expecting.

I thought that the beginning of the novel set the scene of what life in Nazi Germany was like, and soon I found myself uncovering more about the developing plot. One of the major strengths of this book is that it prides itself with being filled with historical knowledge and context. However, this could also be read as a bad point since a few times it felt like I was reading one of my History textbooks. At the time, I didn’t mind since I had my exam coming up and I could use it as a cheat to say I was revising, but I could see why it would annoy other people.
Another reason that I really enjoyed this book is that it was so atmospherical. There was a huge sense of foreboding throughout, and at some points I could feel myself literally cringing at the thought of Gretchen’s secrets being found out the the repercussions of her actions coming down on her.
This made reading the novel slightly unsettling, but the fact that hit me the hardest was that it took so long for Gretchen to realise Hitler’s plans and how wrong his actions were. I often wanted to scream at Gretchen in the beginning because of how easily she accepted Hitler and how much she loved him – however, this only made the novel more hard-hitting and uncomfortable to read. It also made it a lot more realistic, because even though the beginning shows Gretchen helping a Jew, and going against Nazi ideals at the time, she was not a stereotypical hero that was amazing and totally good right from the start. However, by the end of the novel I found myself wishing that Gretchen’s character development hadn’t been so obvious, and so quick.
One thing that did stand out to me was that I read this right after Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go, and all I will say is this… What is it with books and killing off animals? And the deaths being horribly heartbreaking.

I would recommend Prisoner of Night and Fog, but mostly because of the high amounts of research that had clearly gone into the novel, and for if the person is looking for a historical but fictional novel with a lot of mystery, and the right amount of romance.

TBR Pile #3 – July

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HELLO! And welcome back. I took a hiatus over June to settle into my new home with mum (It’s wonderful by the way – a little cottage surrounded by fields, nature, and a two minute walk from the beach!), but now I’m back, and I’m very excited to be here.

I feel like I’ve learned so much about blogging, and since I’ve actually passed my first blogoversary (I’ve not actually checked…) I’m pretty surprised that my blogging juice hasn’t run out! If anything, it’s doubled. I’m now regularly requesting (and reading) ARCs from NetGalley, I’ve had my first few physical ARCs from BookBridgr and I’m a beta-reader for an author! It’s all pretty amazing.

Since I was on hiatus and didn’t get to post a picture of the books I got for my birthday, here they are:

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I’m super excited about Graceling, and A Great and Terrible Beauty. In fact, I’m excited about all of them! I’m a big fan of Anne Rice, so reading her take on werewolves will be great. The other three I’ve heard so many wonderful things about, and it’s hard not to be excited about them.

I also received Hollow City, which I’ve read already and I loved it. Ransom Riggs is incredibly talented.

Now, onto my TBR Pile! I’ve got a new method – I now have a box with tiny slips of paper, and at the beginning of each month I will pick out four. This is just for the books I own though, and ARCs I’ll just be reading as and when I need to.

Anyway, after making my little TBR box, I picked out two slips. I’m buddy reading The Falconer, and I’m still reading A Discovery of Witches, so it makes more sense to just pick two. That way I definitely know I can read those during July. Here are the books that I picked out:

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Even though I picked out Midnight Alley, I’ll be reading The Dead Girls Dance since I’ve only read the first Morganville Vampires book. I have the first three books in Rachel Vincent’s series, since they were in the ‘3 for £5’ offer in The Works (my favourite bookshop). All in all, I’m pretty happy with the books that I chose. I can tell The Dead Girls Dance and My Soul to Save will be quick reads, which makes up for the huge A Discovery of Witches.

I’ll also be reading an ARC of ‘The Rain’ by Virginia Bergin.

Until next month, happy reading!

-BLOG HIATUS-

This is a post I tried my best not to write, but unfortunately it has to be done.

This blog is going to be on hiatus all throughout the rest of May and June. I will be back on 1st of July, however.

I really didn’t want to have to do this. But, due to exams and other life stresses such as my parent’s seperation, me and my mum moving etc it’s going to be very difficult to keep up with the blog, so I’d rather take a break. I won’t forget about the blog completely though, I’ll still be reading and planning lots of posts to go up during July and August (Maybe even September if I do enough reading!). I’m still going to be present over at my Twitter (@bfaot_blog) if you want to chat books or just about anything really, and I’ll be updating everyone on what I’m reading etc.

Another problem that I’m going to be facing in the near future is lack of internet. For a while, me and mum aren’t going to be able to afford an internet connection, so my time to blog will be very limited. However, I’m already making plans to type up posts on Word whenever, then when I can pop into the library or a friend’s house email and schedule them.

I will find a way! I love blogging too much to let all of this get in the way.

I hope you guys understand, and see you on the 1st of July!

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, Book #1)

Author: Patrick Ness

My Rating:blog 5 leaf rating

sumary finalPrentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

from Goodreads

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The first thing that struck me about The Knife of Never Letting go was the interesting writing style. Todd’s narration is written in the dialect used in Prentisstown, and since it is coming from his perspective and he cannot read or write, it makes sense that longer words would be spelt phonetically. This made me feel a lot closer to Todd and his story, which I really enjoyed. It also demonstrated how different his world is, and gave the narration personality. I also liked the rather artsy way that the Noise was portrayed – the text in different fonts, showing whether the thought was harsh and quick through a spidery, scrawled text, or whether it was calm and methodical in a very conservative font. It really made me understand how the noise worked, even if I did have to focus and read each thought, trying to gain some insight into who it was.

What really drew me into reading the book in the first place was its very unusual concept. Unusual is a good thing when reading, especially since a lot of books can sound the same, making them quite boring. Even so, once I thought I knew what was going to happen and had been lured into a false sense of knowing the world, a big surprise made me take a step back for a moment, and then read on vigorously for the next three hours. I’m not sure whether this is Ness’ storytelling or my complete lack of observation (it may be a bit of both), but either way I liked it a lot.

Throughout the novel there is a huge sense of foreboding, which at some points made me want to read on more, and at some points made me feel like I was going to go into cardiac arrest. I knew that bad things were going to happen, but the suspense was almost unbearable. The book is very powerful, and very violent. Not just in terms of plot, but in the way that the novel is unforgiving and completely ignorant of the reader’s feelings. In more than one instance, I felt uncomfortable reading violent scenes, but I knew this was Ness’ desired effect.

By the end of the book I was expecting a very large cliff hanger (which I got) and I’m sure this is some evil plot Patrick Ness conjured up to put his readers through the most pain. Nevertheless, I’m eager to read more and will seek out the rest of the trilogy, and the author’s other books, to devour and savour. As a footnote, however, Manchee will never be forgotten (and Ness, never forgiven).

Release Day: The Luthier’s Apprentice by Mayra Calvani

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The Luthier’s Apprentice by Mayra Calvani

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice. But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma’s family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier’s apprentice…

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Purchase for $3.99:

Amazon

BarnesNoble

About The Author

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. When she’s not writing, reading, editing or reviewing, she enjoys walking her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family. Represented by Serendipity Literary.

 

Website Blog / Facebook / Twitter /  Goodreads

 

Interview with author Connor Wolf

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1. Hello Connor, and welcome to the books, food and other things blog! It’s lovely to
have you here. To start us off, give us a little introduction.

Hi thank you so much for having me here, I’ll answer all questions as best I can. I’m Connor and I love to write, and of course to read. I’m an avid reader and I read a variety of genres, my favourites being fantasy, action and horror! During the day, I spend time honing my skills as a painter and decorator and in my spare time and evenings I write.

2. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I haven’t always considered writing to be a possibility as a future profession nor did I much think I would enjoy it as much as I do. I think I first really thought about writing seriously at age 11. I met a well-known author and it was then I really sought to write books.

3. What are your favourite authors and how do you think they have influenced you as a writer?

My favourite author are Oliver Bowden (Assassin’s Creed series) J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series and Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games series)  it was a mix of these three very talented authors that really help me see the way a book should be written. As I read these books I found myself developing my own style of writing.

4. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

My advice for any aspiring writer out there is perseverance. With a lot of motivation and no small amount of effort, you can hold a finished book, filled to bursting point with everything that you created. It’s not so much about writing skill, or novel length. For me, it’s about imagination, the thrill of creating a whole world filled with creatures and magical things. Putting this to paper and seeing the result after you have finished is what really drives me. It can bring on tears and happiness but whatever you do, don’t give up because if you believe in yourself you can do this.

5. What else do you enjoy other than books and writing?

As stated earlier, I enjoy painting and decorating, I study it at college, but also, I enjoy the more oriental of activities. Martial Arts for me is amazing, it’s so calming and really helps you find who you really are, and what you’re capable of. I’m also a lover of swimming and cycling, I cycle a lot and I really enjoy it.

6. Recently, I reviewed your book, ‘The Bite of Vengeance: The Devil’s Gift’. Why don’t
you tell us a little bit about the book.

The Bite of Vengeance: The Devil’s Gift is the first instalment of a growing trilogy, the second I am working on now. It’s a fantasy-horror book, aimed at those who love a book that really twists and turns. It took me around a year to finish writing it but I really think it was worth it, I’m so happy with the final result.

7. What were the main inspirations behind your action-packed vampire novel?

My main inspiration came from the same place my book was first created, in a dream. I saw the figures muttering indistinctly in my dream, I couldn’t quite see their faces but I knew roughly what they were doing, how they came to be. I wanted to fill in the gaps and share that dream. I’ve always been a big lover of everything vampiric and action-packed. I wanted to write a book that showed the reader what was happening, not watching them eat a bowl of spaghetti. It was this that really inspired me to finish my dream.

8. Since your novel takes place mostly in Italy, have you ever been there?

I’ve never actually been to Italy, but I’ve seen what it looks like and it just looks beautiful, I thought this would be a wonderful setting for my book, plus the fact the Vatican is located here, the building where the Pope resides, the cardinals. It seemed important Roconn lived in Italy.

9. Can you tell us what’s next in store for Roconn?

I don’t want to spoil the next instalment The Bite of Vengeance: Fallen Angel but I can say this, many unexpected things take place, a new side of Roconn will be shown and it is also written in first-person as opposed the the third person of the first book. I found writing in first-person really helps the reader see and feel exactly what Roconn sees and feels, it helps better understand him and see what motivates him with his actions.

10. What film do you think every vampire fan should watch?

I think any vampire fan should watch Underworld. It’s such a fantastic film that really shows vampires in whole new light, for me this is one of the inspirations behind The Devil’s Gift.

11. If readers enjoyed your book, what should they read in the meantime whilst waiting for the sequel?

I think, whilst waiting for Fallen Angel, readers should immerse themselves in a book such as Assassin’s Creed Renaissance or Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and it’s location in Italy will help keep them in the same area as Roconn.

12. Well, it’s been lovely having you here, Connor! Last of all, where can we find your books?

Thanks again for having me here, it’s been great. The Bite of Vengeance: The Devil’s Gift is available via www.rowanvalebooks.com or www.amazon.co.uk as well as their international sites. eBook & Paperback copies are available for purchase on Amazon, and the eBook is priced at 99p (prices vary via different retailers)

 

 

Neverland Blog Tours: The Star Child by Stephanie Keyes‏

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This post is a little long, so here’s a tiny contents:

First up is my review, including a summary of the wonderful The Star Child, followed by a short bio of the author, then there’s a chance for you guys to enter a giveaway with some great prizes, and finally, more details on who’s posting for the rest of the tour! Enjoy!

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Title: The Star Child (The Star Child, Book #1)

Author: Stephanie Keyes

My Rating:blog 4 leaf rating

Links:

Website: http://www.stephaniekeyes.com – Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/StephanieKeyes – Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/stephaniekeyes/ – Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

sumary finalThe world is about to be cloaked in darkness. Only one can stop the night. Kellen St. James has spent his entire life being overlooked as an unwanted, ordinary, slightly geeky kid. That is until a beautiful girl, one who has haunted his dreams for the past eleven years of his life, shows up spinning tales of a prophecy. Not just any old prophecy either, but one in which Kellen plays a key role. Suddenly, Kellen finds himself on the run through a Celtic underworld of faeries and demons, angels and gods, not to mention a really ticked off pack of hellhounds, all in order to save the world from darkness. But will they make it in time?

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When I first started reading The Star Child, I found that right away I knew it was going to be a gripping story. One of the many things that I loved about the novel was how indulgent the story was giving details about the main character, Kellen, and his life before the real action starts. The story was very intense and wholesome, and what I particularly enjoyed was the fact that there was no gaps in the story telling, and no patchiness in the plot or world. I loved learning about Kellen’s family (even if a few of them just made me angry), especially his mother. I knew that there were going to be a lot of questions that needed answering. There’s a lot of characters in this book that all have their own stories, which are hinted at but never quite revealed, which just makes me want to read more! The only slightly negative point that I have about this book is that I wanted to learn more about Kellen’s father – though, with that ending, I’m pretty sure my request will be granted in the next book.
The introduction to Calienta was written in such a lovely way. Ignore all you’ve heard about dreamscapes being a ‘cop-out’, in this story they make perfect sense, and if reading the dreamy, ethereal prose that is written in these parts doesn’t make you melt, then I’m not sure what will.
Though the romance side of the story didn’t really interest me, I couldn’t help but see why others would love it – the love between the two characters (not sure if this is spoilery so I won’t mention who!) is so all-encompassing, and so meant-to-be, that even I felt my heart warming a little. It was wonderful to read about them once they found each other, and though the romance was a little rushed, there was reason for it. They didn’t have time to get to know each other, fate literally rested on whether they would feel the connection instantly or not.
I loved that The Star Child was such a lighthearted, funny read that just kept me turning the pages. The novel is a good fantasy, filled with Irish folklore which really grabs the reader’s attention (and doesn’t let go).
A more personal enjoyment of mine about the book was that I loved reading from a male perspective. So many other fantasy books with vaguely similar plotlines are out there but they all have female protagonists, and it gets a bit repetitive reading about another girl. It was very refreshing to read about a boy.
Also, I LOVED that there was music sheets at the back, so that if the reader was musically talented (unlike me) they could learn to play and listen to melodies that inspired the story and fitted the characters. We also got to learn a bit more about the author, which is always nice!

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steph10Stephanie Keyes grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and spent years traveling and working as a Corporate Trainer before she made the decision to pen her first novel. As a teen, her family always accused her of having an “overactive imagination.” Now, she’s encouraged to keep her head in the clouds and share her world with readers. Still a resident of the ‘Burgh, Steph is now Mom to two little boys who constantly keep her on her toes. In addition, she’s best friend to her incredible rockstar of a

husband. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), a speaker and teacher, as well as a featured author for Love a Happy Ending Lifestyle e-magazine. Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child, After Faerie, The Fallen Stars, and The Star Catcher, all from by Inkspell Publishing. The Fallen Stars was a 2013 semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards. The Star Child has topped the Amazon best-seller list several times since its 2012 release. Steph writes YA novels because she’s a hopeless romantic who lives to believe that Magick truly does exist. She is hard at work on a new YA novel.

GIVEAWAY

Want to win…1st Prize-Book boyfriend bag

2nd Prize-The Star Catcher playlist on iTunes.

3rd Prize-New swag pack? If so, enter here!

FINAL BANNER

The Star Child Blog Tour’s next stop is… A review on Sim’s Bookish Thoughts! Check out their blog tomorrow to see what they thought of the book. Bloggers also taking part in the tour are:

Reviewed the Book, The Book Cwtch, Booktuation, Aisha Reads Books, Green Embers, Lynsey James, She Loves to Read, Best Chick Lit