Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dark Unwinding

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we talk about books we are eager to read.

My pick this week is The Dark Unwinding av Sharon Cameron:
A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!When Katharine Tulman's inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle's world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.

This book sounds right up my alley.  Steampunk and London - I am so in! The book comes out September 1st from Scholastic.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: The Lost Wife, Alyson Richman

Publisher: Berkley Books
Pages: 344 (Paperback)
Release: 2011
Genre: Historical novel, WWII
Source: Bought
Good to know: Alyson Richman have written a few books before this one was published. She lives in New York. The Lost Wife became a bestseller fast.

In pre-war Prague, the dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi invasion. Then, decades later, thousands of miles away in New York, there's an inescapable glance of recognition between two strangers. Providence is giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life in Prague before the Occupation, to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit- and the strength of memory.
 A love-story that moved me

The Lost Wife is a strong lovestory that went right to my heart.

The story in the book begins in New York City in 2000. A wedding is underway, and the grooms grandfather is looking forward to the event. Little does he know that the rehearsal-dinner will ble much more moving that he had thought.  He sees a woman who reminds him of someone, and it turns out that she is in fact his wife, the wife he thought died during WW2.

There are two sensations of skin you will always remember in your lifetime: the first time you fall in love - and that person holds your hand - and the first time your child grasps your finger. In each of those times, your are sealed to the other for eternity. 
After the prologue, we are transported back in time to right before WW2. We get to know Lenka, who is a member of a Jewish family living in Prague. They lead a good and comfortable life, and Lenka loves her nanny Lucie. Lenka is talented when it comes to drawing, and in 1936 she is admitted to an artschool in Prague. At that time she is 17 years old. At school she becomes friends with Veruska, and Veruska has a brother, Josef, who studies medicine. Lenka and Josef fall in love, but while their feelings are growing, dark skies are headed against Prague. Soon the Nazis will rule the town, and Lenka finds herself in the ghetto Terezin where everyone lives under terrible conditions.
That year, I started learning a new art. The art of being invisible. Mama, too, no longer dressed to be noticed. She dressed to disappear. (...)We no longer drank from colored crystal. Instead, the ruby-red wine goblets and the cobalt water glasses were all sold for far less than they were worth. 
The Lost Wife is the kind of book that totally consumed me, and a book I think it is hard not to be moved by. The auhtor have based parts of the story on actual events, and she have done a lot of research into how the Jews lived in the ghetto Terezin. I also liked reading about a part of WW2 that I did not know that much about, I am especially thinking about how the artists and painters rebelled against Hitler's brutal regime.  There are a lot of tragic events in this book, and that made it sad at times. Sometimes I felt sick to my stomach whilst reading.

The chapters alternated between Lenka and Josef' point of view. I liked that a lot. That way we get to know how each of them are feeling, and we can almost feel how they fight for their love and to get back to each other.

The author is good at describing love, and in particular the love between Lenka and Josef. But she is also good at describing the love between siblings and parents. Aside from being a lovestory, this book is also a novel about standing together. About trying to stand tall when you are in a terrible situation, not loosing who you are and the values you hold dear.

In my old age; I have come to believe that love is not a noun, but a verb. An action. Like water, it flows to its own current. If you were to corner it in a dam, true love is so bountiful it would flow over. Even i separation, even in death, it moves and changes.
The Lost Wife is a pageturner. The kind of book you dig into and not want to put down until you have read the ending. I have heard someone comparing it to Sarahs's Key. I have not read Sarah's Key, so I do not know if that is a valid comparison. I think the Lost Wife will appeal to everyone who loved gripping historical reads that touch upon your emotions. At some points it reminded me of Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys.  

Other reviews:
What Women Write

Once Upon A Romance
Melody's Reading Corner

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #1

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, Tynga on Tynga's Reviews. This is a meme where we talk about new books, physical or virtual, that we have added to our shelves the past week. Librarybooks, other borrowed books etc are also included.

Due to wedding - preparations (yes, I am getting married in June) and work, my English blog have been seriously neglected. I am so sorry for that. But I am here again now, and these are some of the books I have gotten the past weeks and months:

Wendy Higgins: Sweet Evil
Patrick Ness: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Jennifer Bosworth: Struck
Elizabeth Norris: Unraveling
Cat Hellisen: When the Sea is Rising Red

Jennifer A. Nielsen: The False Prince

Bethany Griffin: Masque of Red Death
Veronica Roth: Insurgent

For review:
Julie Kagawa: The Immortal Rules (24.04.2012)

Scott Tracey: Demon Eyes (08.10.2012)
Sandi Tan: The Black Isle (07.08.2012)

Kiera Cass: The Selection (24.04.2012)

Sarah J. Maas: Throne of Glass (07.08.2012)
Heather Anastasiu: Glitch (07.08.2012)
D.B. Jackson: Thieftaker (17.07.2012)
Katherine Longshore: Gilt (15.05.2012)

Douglas Nicholas: Something Red (18.09.2012)
Anna Carey: Once (03.07.2012)

Shana Abé: The Sweetest Dark (21.08.2012)

What have you been adding to your shelves lately?

Review: Insurgent, Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperTeen)
Pages: 525 (Hardback)
Release: May 2012
Genre: YA, dystopian
Source: Bought
Good to know:
Summit Entertainment, the studio that made the Twilight - movies, have bought the movierights to the trilogy. Book 3 is apparently being released some time in 2013.

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

A good follow - up to Divergent 
(This review contains spoilers if you have not read Divergent yet)

I have been waiting a long time for the sequel to Divergent, one of my favorite books of 2011. I preordered the book as soon as I could, but I did not have time to wait for the book arriving in the mail, so I also bought the kindle - edition of the book. I can now state that Insurgent also is a great read.

The story in Insurgent picks up where Divergent ended. There are more things on stake for Tris, and she must fight for her own life as well for the lives of the people she believe in and love. Someone has the need to find out what secrets the Divergents hide in their brains, conflicts are brewing and people must choose sides. There are some surprising revelations, and Tris begins to question the meaning of the faction - system.

I read somewhere, once, that crying defies scientific explanation. Tears are only meant to lubricate the eyes. There is no real reason for tear glands to overproduce tears at the behest of emotion.  I think we cry to release the animal parts of us without losing our humanity. Because inside me is a beast that snarls, and growls, and strains toward freedom, toward Tobias and, above all, toward life.

Insurgent is, as Divergent was, a real pageturner. There is not a dull section in the book. I was thrown from page to page, reading about suspense and dramatic events.

I also like the fact that we get to know all the characters and the releationships between them even better in this book. I specifically like how the author spends time developing the relationship between Four and Tris. She does that very believeable, without use of cliches. Tris has a great development. There are a lot of great character-descriptions in the book, much more so than in Divergent. That is a natural thing. In bok 1 there is a need to set the story and the plot, to show the reader the characters. In bok 2, the author may dive deeper into the people on the pages and the story.

Evil depends on where you're standing

The language is also good, not one sentence appears to be in vain. Everything is so perfectly built up. There are also a lot of nice quotes.

Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.

The last part of the book is so suspenseful, and the ending just wants me to grab the third book rightaway. How will I be able to wait until 2013 to know what happens???

I still believe that this series will be the next Hunger Games. The books have everything: suspense, romance, mystery, dramatic events, great characters etc. I love Roth's worldbuilding in the books, the thought behind every faction and the way they are described.

If you have read Divergent, you can really look forward to this book. If not, you need to read Divergent right now! This is an awesome series!

Other reviews:
Empire of Books
Magical Urban Fantasy Reads
Mundie Moms

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