Book Review, Books

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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★★★★

A powerfully emotional book about the love, resilience and surviving through the worst possible circumstances. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a true story of Lale, a Jew, who find himself trapped in a pool of uncertainty.

A true story that tells you all the horrible truths of what happened inside the camps. The unfairness of life and the people trapped inside. The families who tried to stick together with every strength left in their body. The endless hunger and sleepless nights, watching the people you love die in front of you.

I knew what I was getting into when I started reading this book. I knew the subject would be sad, painful, tormenting. All of these emotions passed through me while I was reading. But a few unexpected ones started flowing too – emotions of love; emotions of friendship; caring for one another. And oh God, the emotion of hope for a better tomorrow. Emotions that make you shiver.

While we follow Lale’s story, we get to see him getting dragged in a camp, fighting his way through starvation. He becomes a ”favourite” to the guards, and by favourite I mean – he might get to not work on Sunday sometimes. He makes friends in this unknown place, where you don’t know who to trust. And luck seems to be on his side at all times. He gets noticed by the tattooist, and becomes his apprentice, only to replace him a few days after. The old tattooist – we don’t know what happened to him, but we can only assume the worst.

While he is a tattooist, his job is to tattoo numbers on people’s arms. A soulless task, it might seem. Innocent people, who are about to become numbers. And he gets to be the one to inflict pain on them first. We can feel his struggle. How he tries to be as gentle as he can, given the circumstances. But he knows that in order to survive, he has to fit in. He has to push his way through. With time, he gets closer to the guards, and has a little extra to eat. He always saves his little extra piece of bread to give to his friends and share it among each other. As a lot of young people, he falls in love. And the lady likes him back.

Sometimes I thought to myself – when you are in such a closed space, with nowhere to go, do you really love someone? Or does ”love” simply then mean having a friend in need? With Lale, this was true love. The way he would describe his girl made you blush. The way he cares for her and the things he does for her are loving and impossible. There is a moment when Gita is sick, and can barely survive, but Lale saves her.

The cutest scene in the book

The scene when he will give diamonds and pearls he has been saving to get a chocolate. He gets a little piece only, and he can’t see Gita for weeks. When he finally does – the chocolate has melted, but they don’t care. They haven’t eaten chocolate for years, and this sweet delight makes them happy, at least for a little moment.

But life is not always so bright. He will meet Doctor Mengele, and not only him, but other awful people along the way. Lale will be punished, thrown in a cell, punched until he faints by his very own friend. He will see terrible things happen to his friends, his colleagues, his girlfriend’s friends. And on top of that, he will keep on going.

The Sad Reality

One scene in this book perfectly describes how someone might have felt being in there. A football match. Between prisoners and guards. Where even though the prisoners haven’t eaten for months, they are better players. But they cannot win this match. They can’t humiliate the guards. If they do, they will never get to play football ever again. A terrible humiliation and punishment. But a sad reality. You cannot win this game. Not today. Maybe tomorrow…

A beautiful book for all the wrong reasons. I wish some things never happened. And I hope never to be repeated again. But I cherish books like this one that exist to tell a story, no matter how upsetting it might be.

Prepare to cry, laugh and love. Prepare to be scared, angry and disgusted. But prepare to learn a piece of history, a piece of a time not so far away, where not everything was milk and honey. I recommend this book to all of you. This is definitely one of those ”must-read” books!

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Book Review, Books

The Recreators by Desiree Nordlund

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★★★★

I went into reading this book partially blind. The blurb doesn’t uncover much, and I was excited as to whether I would like it or not. The Recreators is a young-adult novel that happens in Medieval times and features characters who have God-like powers and are able to change a slight minimal portion of the world.

We follow three separate stories throughout this book:

Filia’s story

A princess who has disappeared and comes back years later to claim her throne. A fierce woman who is a Recreator, but chooses to use the powers for her own benefit. In this story we can see how Filia develops as a character, changes while learning new things, makes sacrifices and answers some of the most asked social questions… A powerful story of growing up, and definitely my favourite one of all three.

Vepresila’s story

She is chosen by the Goddess to serve her, but decides to take destiny in her own hands. This girl grew up with her family in a tribe with different moral and cultural values than what we know. Men and women don’t sleep under the same roof, and boys have to pass tests to become men, otherwise, they are stuck and disrespected. When the girl is chosen to go to the Goddess’ temple and serve her, she realises that the system doesn’t work, and tries to beat it. Finding her own destiny can prove to be a bouncy road, but she goes for it.

Simmiolas’s story

He is a Recreator and comes back to fixes a mistake he made in the past. While he travels, he settles with a circle of people, but they fail to believe he has powers and he doesn’t seem able to change their views on how they see nature and the world. Taking a dear friend with him, he is set on a mission to do what is right, before it is too late.

‘’Just because things don’t always go as planned, it doesn’t always mean the outcome will be for the worse.’’

These three stories feature these three different characters, with a lot of characters surrounding them and supporting them. The three stories connect each other at a few points, some sooner, some later. They never fully connect though, which did bother me, as I was expecting a one big ending. The three stories remained separated, which made me think if it would’ve been better to not connect them at all, or create three separate books for them.

‘’But if all places have different ideas about what’s right and wrong, how do we know what really is right and wrong?’’

Despite the story lines and the grammar errors I encountered, this book was truly amazing and I really enjoyed reading it. I loved the concept of the powers, loved the ethical lessons throughout the book, and I absolutely loved watching all of these characters grow in their own kind of way. There were amazing scenes of what is wrong and right, what fear is and how to overcome it, how to keep going despite making mistakes in the past, and a lot of various life lessons worth reading.

I recommend this book if this seems like the genre you might enjoy reading. It was the first book I read by Desiree Nordlund and I can’t wait to read more books written by her.

‘’The best way to cure fear of the unknown is to admit what caused the fear and watch it until it’s no longer something strange.’’

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Book Review, Books

Nanny and the Beast by Georgia Le Carre

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Let me explain, before you all judge me. I don’t usually read these types of books. Nanny and the Beast was just a book that was recommended to me. By my mum. And I loved it!

The book features April, who is a nanny by profession. She goes for an interview in a Russian billionaire’s house for the nanny position.

Yuri is a Russian billionaire who has a niece, Yulia, that hasn’t been speaking for a few months. When he sees April, he can’t resist her – which is why he doesn’t give her the job – it is too dangerous for her to stick around.

But when destiny takes matters in her own hands, and April end up being Yulia’s nanny, they have to find a way to leave their fierce erotic needs aside and focus on the little girl’s happiness.

With lust and danger coming from all sides, they are not prepared to settle for little.

I loved April. She is a kind girl and cared deeply about Yulia. She fears Yuri, but also can’t help but feel the attraction between them. She kept having second thoughts and getting ready to leave, and still stayed. She kept feeling humiliated, but remained to see if this love might work. April was also a very bad friend. I feel the need of mentioning this. While it was okay for her to call her friend any time, she always talked and never listened, even when her friend clearly wanted to talk. That is a no-no for me.

As for Yuri, I don’t think I liked him that much. Yes, I admired his possessiveness around April and how he cared about both April and Yulia. Everything about Yuri is so mysterious, so secret, and he is always on the edge. Which makes him wanted, I would assume. However, some of his actions and beliefs made me so angry I wanted to throw this book!

The emotional scene that intrigued me.

She was left by her mother as a child, because her mother didn’t have the money. While April grows up, her mother becomes very rich and famous. A secret part of Rachel hopes that her mother will come back for her. At one scene in the book, April and Yuri attend a dinner and April’s mother is there. When she sees her with Yuri, she whispers to April she is not good enough and tells her to stay off him, so her other daughter can be with him. And while the mother didn’t know April is her daughter, April did, and it hurt her badly.

Quite an emotional scene for April, realizing that her mother moved on, and has changed, and the reason she probably left her at the very beginning never had anything to do with her money.

I read this book in a day, so if you want a short hot steamy romance with a sexy Russian Alpha-male, you will definitely enjoy this. There are a few emotional roller coasters throughout the book. However, if you are looking for a deep book that will help you discover the meaning of life, I am sorry to disappoint you.

Secret note: If you have in mind books similar to this, I am open to recommendations.

Trigger warnings: Explicit sexual scenes, violence, murder and psychological trauma.

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Book Review, Books

Goodnight, Monster by Chloe Sanders

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★★★★

A cute and cheeky bedtime story!

I knew I was going to enjoy this little read as soon as I saw the cover and the little blurb. Goodnight, Monster! by Chloe Sanders is a story about Ben, who doesn’t want to go to bed, because there is a monster in his room.

A message to give people a chance

When his mother encourages Ben to make friends with the monster. There is a lovely moment here with a message to give people a chance, as they are more than what they look on the outside. I really loved this moment, and I wish more children books focused on it.

Ben says hi to the monster and makes friends, and then gets him ready for bed. He teaches Monster Bo how to brush his teeth, and have a bath, and have dinner, but the monster keeps trying to misbehave and hides Ben’s socks under the bed, and does other cute silly things, but Ben teaches him how to be a good monster.

I really loved this bedtime story. I think it has a lot of messages to teach young children – especially for them to realise that it is now time for bed. Furthermore, a couple of life lessons are secretly hidden inside this book too, that makes me really happy.

If you have little ‘’monsters’’ at home, I am sure both of you will enjoy this short bedtime story.

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Book Review, Books

Rachel’s Pudding Pantry – Caroline Roberts

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★★★★★

A fast read that talks about family, love, grief and finding reasons to be happy!

Rachel’s Pudding Pantry is a story about Rachel, who is a farmer in the modern world, living with her mum Jill and her little daughter Maisy. Rachel and her family has been dealing with a lot of grief in the last couple of years, and are struggling financially to keep the farm running.

The one thing that glues this family together, and keeps them happy is the baking and the making of lovely sweet puddings. They bake all day, especially grandma Jill, and they are the perfect example of what a family should look like – full with joy, love and laughter.

I loved the personality Rachel has;

She always puts her family in the first place, cares about her daughter and mum so much. Everything she is doing, she is doing for them, and she is always positive minded. It was such a refreshing moment for me to find such character.

Rachel and her mum are dealing with grief, losing a person in their family that meant a lot to them. This moment of sadness can be felt throughout the book, and I loved it. It shows that grief is a constant battle – it is not easy to lose someone you love, and you don’t get over it very easily. Years could pass, and you will still have the emptiness in your heart. I felt this on my skin, when I lost my grandfather in January. Even after three months, I still think of him every single day, and hope that he is looking over me and is proud of who I have become.

I was also very positively pleased with the other supportive characters surrounding Rachel’s story. Tom was the perfect neighbour – the one you always call for help and will always help you when you need him. He is always caring and trustworthy, and sometimes, I felt awkward when Rachel always came to him for help. Knowing myself, I would be so embarrassed to keep asking for help.

Then we have her best-friend Eve. She was my superhero, and a friend anyone would wish for. She was always supportive, always there for Rachel with her never-ending love. It is a priceless relationship these two ladies have, and I couldn’t help but be a massive fan of them.

The only thing that kept bothering me throughout the book, and is not that big of a deal anyways, was the fact that despite their financial struggles, Jill kept baking for like thirty people every single day (this is before they started the new business). If that was me, I wouldn’t bake that often. I guess it was a fact that just stuck with me for a while.

Even though it is not my usual read, I honestly really enjoyed this book. I am seriously considering giving this genre more time, and reading more books similar to this.

It was a quick, pleasurable read. It always made me feel happy and content, and eager to go in the kitchen and bake some sweets. Because I am a lazy one, I just bought sweets and ate them instead. Tell you what – that also works quite fine!

Thank you to LoveReading UK, Caroline Roberts and HarperCollins Publishers for giving me an early copy in exchange for this review. All my opinions are my own.

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