Surviving the Angel of Death by Eva Mozes Kor – Book Review

6648391Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Historical, memoir

First published: 2009

Author: Eva Mozes Kor

Synopsis: Eva and her twin sister, Miriam, were 10 years old when they were ripped away from their family and thrown into Auschwitz. There, they became part of the medical experiments conducted by Josef Mengele, also known as The Angel of Death. Mengele was obsessed with twins and conducted many horrendous experiments on them. This is the story of how two children found the strength and endurance to survive true evil. 

Book Depository | Goodreads


I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I finished reading it in about an hour and I cannot tell you how I felt upon finishing. I don’t know how much I will be able to gather my thoughts for this review. Every time I read or watch a film about what happened then, no matter how many times I do so, it brings me so much sorrow to know that human beings are not only capable of such cruelty and hatred, but worse, they remain silent when faced with such atrocities.

Eva was a Romanian-born Jew. She was born in Transylvania, which is where I was born as well. So, from the beginning, this resonated with me on a profound level. Especially that I recognised some of the events that were mentioned, because they coincided with what my grandparents remember about those times.

Before I get too much into how this book made me feel, I will tell you a little bit about the writing itself. The book is written in a way that is easily accessible to a younger audience. But it is full of emotion, full of pain, but also full of healing and of forgiveness. In addition to the writing, there are pictures depicting Eva and her family, the emaciated forms of some of the Auschwitz children, as well as the twins at various stages in their lives.

As a woman of science, the fact that such atrocities were committed in the name of science makes me sick. I will not list here the things that were done to those twins and to the rest of the people that Mengele experimented on. Some of them, you will find in this book, some you can read about from other sources. And I urge you to do so, because I truly believe we owe it to these people, to ourselves and to the word to know these things, to know the suffering our cruelty and hatred as a species has brought and to make sure it never happens again.

What shocked me almost as much as the experiments, was how easily hatred was awoken in the common people. How ordinary people could turn against their neighbour because of propaganda. It scares me how susceptible we are to blind, unadulterated hatred.

This book, despite its content, has taught me not that humans are capable of atrocities, but that we are capable of enduring, of forgiveness; that we can survive  and that we can heal. I apologise that this review is not more collected and coherent, it’s difficult for me to gather my thoughts. But please, read this book and read any books like this that you come across. These are stories that must be heard. We owe it to hear them.

Bookish Pet Peeves

I don’t know about you guys, but I have a lot of pet peeves. I get annoyed by so many things, so today I’m going to share with you some of my bookish pet peeves. This post is going to be a rant. You have been warned.

When it isn’t specified that a book is not the first in a series.

Like, why you doing this publishers? Would it kill you to put a number on the spine or something so that I don’t buy a book and then open it and feel like I’m Jon Snow, cause I know nothing. And then I google it and find out it’s book 16.5 of the prequel to the sequel to the main series.

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When they don’t have the first book in the series at a bookstore.

I think bookstores should hire a person specifically to check that they have the first book in every series in stock. The amount of times I have gone to a bookstore looking for a specific book in a series I wanted to start and after spending half an hour looking for it on the shelves, I finally work up the nerve to go ask about it. And then they’re like “Oh, we don’t have that in stock right now. But we have books 2 through 26, if you’re interested.” No, I am not freaking interested, okay. At least have the decency not to rub it in my face that I wasted my time coming over here and I can’t get to book 3, which I heard is the cheese, because you freaking didn’t stock the first one.

And then, they ask if I would like to order it? Like, I’m sorry I have Amazon prime. I’m not going to order it from you, pay more money and then wait 5-7 life spans for you to deliver it. The reason I’m here right now and not at home, in bed, clicking “buy” on Amazon is because I want the book two minutes ago.

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Typos

Isn’t that what editors are for? If you’re going to publish a book, proofread it until your eyeballs bleed. Cause I’m paying money and I don’t want to be getting headaches because you can’t spell. Like, I get that there’s going to be one or two typos in every book. We’re all human. But I’m talking about books that have typos every other page and you feel like you’re reading a grade school assignment.

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Stickers

I don’t care that this book is now a major motion picture, I don’t care that it’s sold 1 million copies worldwide and I don’t care that it won whatever award. All I care about is that your ugly ass sticker is ruining the aesthetic of my cover and I will now have to sacrifice a virgin baby manatee in order to remove the sticker without damaging the cover.

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This post is getting pretty long, so maybe I’ll make a part two with some more pet peeves. Tell me some of your bookish pet peeves in the comments!

5 Series I Probably Won’t Finish – Part Two

5 Series I Probably Won’t Finish – Part Two

Part one.

1. The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

beautifulcreaturesgarciastohlThis is another one that I did not like. I read the first book and then I even gave it away because I just didn’t like it. The characters were annoying, it had a “new kid in high-school” thing going on and I generally dislike plots like that, and it was really just a book about a bunch of narrow-minded bullies. It was boring and way too long for how little happened.

Book Depository | Goodreads

2. The Gifting by K. E. Ganshert

the giftingThis is another new kid in school paranormal. But I may have read the second one if it hadn’t been for the ending. The ending just pissed me off. I have a review of the book where I talk more about that if you’re interested, but yeah, I will not be continuing with this series.

Book Depository | Goodreads

3. The Wardstone Chronicles (AKA The Last Apprentice) by Joseph Delaney

298567This is a middle-grade supernatural series. I enjoyed it at the time I read them. I read most of them, even though there are a lot (13 or 14). But I think I have one book left or so and I just sort of lost interest in the series, so I won’t be finishing it. I actually think I did finish the main series, but there are some extra stuff I didn’t read. I’m not sure, it’s been a while. I did really like it though. Especially I am Grimalkin. That one’s my favourite. Grimalkin FTW!

Book Depository | Goodreads

4. The Starblade Chronicles by Joseph Delaney

51ndbx8gtul-_ac_ul320_sr208320_This is a sequel series to The Wardstone Chronicles. I read the first book, but then I lost interest in the whole story, so I probably won’t be continuing.

Book Depository | Goodreads

5. Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore

i_am_number_four_coverI’ve read most of them. I was up to date at some point, but then I wasn’t. I just lost interest once I had to wait. Because it’s not a spectacular series. I mean, they’re easy and quick to read and the story isn’t bad, but it’s not very high-quality literature. So yeah, don’t think I will be finishing them. Especially since I’ve heard of the things the guy who owns the writing company that is behind the series has done, which are not cool. And normally, I try not to judge the book by the author, but I really don’t want to endorse the guy in any way. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the Wikipedia page about it.

Goodreads

 

Book Recommendations Based on the Seven Virtues

A while ago I made a post recommending books based on the Seven Deadly Sins. You can check that out here if you missed it. So today, I thought I would turn that idea on its head and recommend books based on the Seven Virtues.


1. Chastity

pride-and-prejudice_bnPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I love this book. I love the story and I love the characters and it takes place in Victorian England, so it’s pretty chaste. This is one of my favourite love stories and if you haven’t read it, or at least watched the film (the Kiera Knightley one!), then what are you doing?

Book Depository | Goodreads

2. Temperance

darker shade of magicA Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. Kell is probably the most level headed and tempered character I’ve come across in a while. This book and this series is absolutely amazing, I loved it! I literally cannot wait until the next one comes out! I love the world and the characters that Victoria has created and I can’t wait to read more of her books. She’s awesome! (Pst, I also have reviews for both books in the series. Here and here.)

Book Depository | Goodreads

3. Charity

nightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This book was so beautiful and if any book portrays charity, it’s this one. The girls both sacrificed so much for other people and they gave so much in a time when there was scarcely anything to give but one’s life. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone.

Book Depository | Goodreads

4. Diligence

the-raven-boys-maggie-stiefvaterThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Gansey’s diligence when it comes to his search for Glendower is remarkable. This is a YA paranormal book. I’ve only read this one in the series and I really enjoyed it, but I hear the rest are even better. I have a review of the book here.

Book Depository | Goodreads

5. Patience

acotarA Court of Thorns and Roses By Sarah J. Maas. I chose this series for two reasons. One, because there are quite a few characters who patiently bid their time, waiting for the perfect opportunity. And since the characters in this series have quite the long lifespan, they were really, really patient. The second is that patience is the virtue I need to exhibit while waiting for the next one and it’s proving to be problematic. I love Sarah J. Maas! I recommended her other series in the deadly sins post, so it seemed fitting to put this one here. Also, did I mention I will be meeting her in less than a month? *squee*

Book Depository | Goodreads

6. Kindness

the book thiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Definitely a book about kindness and the power of words. Another one that I universally recommend. There are just some books that everyone should read and this is one of them. I have a review of it here if you would like to hear more of my thoughts on it.

Book Depository | Goodreads

7. Humility

the-ascendance-trilogy-the-false-prince-35473004-935-475The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen. I’ve talked about this series before, although I haven’t really seen or heard much about it around the community, which is a shame because I really loved it. And Sage, the main character is probably one of the most genuinely humble characters. In the sense that he puts everyone else before himself and he genuinely does not believe himself to be better than they are, not in the sense that he is self deprecating.

Book Depository | Goodreads

These are my recommendations based on the seven virtues. Do you agree? What books would you choose?

5 Series I Probably Won’t Finish – Part One

5 Series I Probably Won’t Finish – Part One

I read a lot of series. And I have a very bad habit of starting a lot of series and then leaving them unfinished, not because I don’t want to finish them, but just because I’m weird. But sometimes, I start a series and the reason I don’t continue with it is because I actually don’t want to. There are quite a few, so I will serialise this and post 5 series at a time. I will also link to the Book Depository and Goodreads pages of the first book in the series, in case you’re interested.


1. Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams

5160arzmcdlI really loved this series when I read it. It was really interesting and I had never read anything like it. I haven’t read anything quite like it since then either. I read the first 3 books and about two thirds of the fourth. I’m not sure why I didn’t finish the fourth one, but I just didn’t. And now, it’s been so long, I’ve forgotten so much about it and I am just not going to re-read them just so I can continue with the series. It’s a good mystery sci-fi though. With some elements of horror, I would say.

Book Depository | Goodreads

2. The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

21936988I did not like this book. It was boring. I went into it thinking it would be about this weird girl who was born with poisonous skin. And I thought we would get some cool mythology about the sin eater. I thought it would be some sort of creature or wizard or magical being… I don’t know. Something other than a fat lady who eats a lot. But no, this book was just disappointment after disappointment. It was boring. And the main character was stupid and I was always annoyed with her and just, ugh. I have to admit, it does have a cool cover though.

Book Depository | Goodreads 

3. The Selection by Kiera Cass

10507293This is another series that I just did not like. I know a lot of people do, but it annoyed me and I thought it was badly written and badly thought out and I have a whole rant about it on Goodreads if you are interested. The books do get a bit better as the story progresses, but the plot was mediocre and the characters were just awful. I read the main trilogy and I have no desire to read the other ones. They’re not even with the same characters.

Book Depository | Goodreads

4. The Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep

6611038This is an adult urban fantasy series that is not bad, but it’s not good. And it’s so freaking long. It’s like over 15 books long, I think. I am never going to finish it. I’ve read 4 books and I might read a few more books in the series, because they’re quick reads and they’re entertaining, but I don’t think I will ever read  all of them.

Book Depository | Goodreads

5. His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

9780375823459I loved The Golden Compass. I loved the movie and I also loved the book (although for some reason, I enjoyed the film more). But I read about half of The Subtle Knife and I didn’t like it so much. I mean, I didn’t dislike it, but I got bored with it and I just never finished it. And as with the Tunnels series, I will probably not go back to the books and re-read them and then finish the series.

Book Depository | Goodreads

 

August Wrap-Up

Another month has come and gone. I don’t think I traveled through the month of August through the normal means. I think I fell through a wormhole because I swear I posted my July wrap up last week. As such, I’ve hardly had time to read anything and have only read like, 3 books and a poem.


571First thing I read was the poem Burnt Norton by T.S. Eliot. I really liked the poem and I read it because of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I read somewhere that the poem was an inspiration for the book so I was curious. I don’t have a review of the poem, but I do have a review of Cruel Beauty if you are interested.

 

 

134866324/5 stars

Second book I read was The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Which is to say I finally finished this book. Despite it taking me the better part of two months to read, I did really enjoy the book. I have a review of it if you want to hear more of my thoughts on it.

 

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5/5 stars

Book number three was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, which has become one of my favourite reads of the year. I loved, loved, loved it and I can’t wait for Crooked Kingdom! I’m glad I don’t have to wait long for it. I have a review of this one as well.

 

the-raven-boys-maggie-stiefvater4/5 stars

Last book I read this month was The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This is one of the 4 books I said I absolutely want to read by the end of 2016 in one of my previous posts. So I finally got to it and it was pretty good. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but I did like it. I also have a review of this.

 

This is it for August. I thought I was going to be able to finish Glass Sword as well, but I’m just not liking it enough. I’m struggling to get through it. I don’t even think I’m halfway through.

The Wine Book Tag

Thank you TrustInTheWords for tagging me. I do not drink wine, I know next to nothing about wine, but I love doing tags, so why not.

1. Box Wine: A book that people will judge you for liking but you like anyway

Hmm, I don’t think I’ve ever been judged for liking a book. I mean, my brother judges me for liking books as much as I do, but nor for liking any book in particular.

2. Organic Wine: A book that has no added crap  in it and is just written perfectly

324620Laini Taylor’s books. She has by far the most beautiful and perfect writing style I’ve ever come across. I love how she writes. It’s magical and if I liked wine, I imagine I’d feel while drinking organic wine the way I feel when I read her books.

 

3. Gluhwein: A spicy, wintry read

harry_potter_and_the_order_of_the_phoenixGluhwein happens to be a kind of wine I actually like. I’m going to go with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, because I always get the urge to read this around Christmas. I mean, I usually get the urge to read the HP series around Christmas, but this one in particular for some reason.

 

4. Sauvignon Blanc: A really sharp and aggressive read that you couldn’t put down

51isww2rpol-_sy344_bo1204203200_Plenty of those. I’ll go with the most recent and that is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I would put it down and try to do something else, but then two minutes later I would just pick it up again, because I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. So glad I only have to wait a few weeks before the next one is released! If you want to read more of my thoughts on it, I have a review of it here.

5. Pinot Noir: A book you didn’t expect much of, but ended up being blown away

17673307Neandethal Seeks Human by Penny Reid. I got this for free on Kindle, which generally doesn’t really inspire confidence and on top of that it’s a contemporary romance. An adult contemporary romance. Really not my cuppper. But I really liked it. I have a review of it here if you want to know more about it.

 

6. Chardonnay: A good summer read that was super zesty

71owghguhjlTangled by Emma Chase. Another adult contemporary romance that I surprisingly enjoyed. It’s really zesty. And it’s a really quick read. The narrative is hilarious and there is plenty of sexyness going on. I’ve been quite surprised by romance this year, it would seem.

7. Rose: A book that has a little bit of everything in it

artemis_fowl_first_edition_coverThe Artemis Fowl series. It’s got a bit of fantasy, a bit of sci-fi, a bit of magic, technology, adventure, action, humour, drama, angst… everything. Did I mention I love this series? Because I do. And I’m sad that I don’t seem to know anyone else who’s even read it, let alone loves it. I want a film. But a really good one. Please?

 

8. Shiraz: A full-bodied book that is dark and juicy

23403402-_uy200_I’m not sure what is meant by juicy, but I will say A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. It was definitely dark and I really loved it, it was unique and cool and you can read my review of it here if you like.

 

 

9. Merlot: A smooth and easy read with a soft finish

2016-07-01-23-49-12.jpgThe Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz. This was such a fun and easy read, with a fairy-tale ending (sort of). I really enjoyed it, despite it being very clearly a children’s book.

 

 

10. Champagne: Your favourite book

lord_of_the_rings_book_cover_by_mrstingyjr-d5vwgctI hate this question. I do not have a favourite book. I have a couple dozen. But for the sake of this tag, I will go with the answer I always give and that is The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Because the books and the films were a big part of my childhood and I grew up with them like some people grew up with Harry Potter.

I tag everyone to do this because I don’t know who to tag. So if you like wine and books, do it. Or if you only like one of them, do it anyway. Or if you like neither… well then you probably don’t want to do it.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – Book Review

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – Book Review

the-raven-boys-maggie-stiefvaterRating: 4/5

Genre: Paranormal, YA

First published: 2012

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Synopsis: Every year, Blue accompanies her psychic mother to the “corpse road”, a line where one night a year, the spirits of the soon-to-be dead walk by. She is used to hearing her mother ask the names of people only she can see, but what she doesn’t expect is to see one of them herself. 

His name is Gansey, one of the rich students of Aglionby Accademy, also known as Raven Boys. Blue has a strict policy of staying away from Raven Boys, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to Gansey and his friends. 

Blue has always been told that if she kisses her true love he will die. It never really concerned her before, but as she is drawn into the boys’ strange quest, she begins to wonder if she hasn’t been wrong.

Book Depository | Goodreads 


This was a strange book. The synopsis was quite misleading, it was really not what I expected. I expected it to be high fantasy for some reason. I tried to summarize it as best I could, but I haven’t done a particularly good job either. It’s a hard book to summarize because there is a LOT going on in it.

It had a pretty slow start and it was very confusing for the most part. It was very vague. Everything was vague. I don’t really know how to explain the vagueness of it. When something was explained, it didn’t really clear anything up. Sort of like talking to a psychic. I don’t know whether that was intentional or not but it seemed to fit the story well. Still, it was a bit frustrating.

Paranormal is not really my favourite genre when it comes to books, but this is hands down the best paranormal I’ve ever read. Despite the vagueness and the confusion, it made me very curious and I remained engaged with the story throughout. I think its main fault was that there was so much introduced at once, so many threads that were left hanging. Something would be hinted at, but then dropped. I’m sure those things are addressed in the following books, but they made this book much more difficult to read and enjoy.

I liked the characters a lot. They were all quirky in their own way and sometimes they were absurd and ridiculous which added a lot of humour to the book. And I liked that they were all unique and had very individual personalities. Sometimes, it feels like you’re reading about the same character only with different names and descriptions, but this wasn’t a problem in this book. You could clearly tell who was talking without being told, just by the way they said it and they behaved.

I liked the mythology of it. It was really cool. Usually, I get bored with the mythology in paranormal,  but this was cool and interesting and unlike what I’ve encountered before. I look forward to reading the other ones, because if nothing else, this book managed to make me really curious.

Summer Book Haul

Summer Book Haul

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book haul and I’ve accumulated a few books since then. So I’ve decided to do another book haul and show them to you.I was too lazy to take individual pictures of each one, so here’s one picture with all of them.

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A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. I’ve read both of these and I also have reviews for both of them, which you can check out by clicking on the title.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve also read this, but I haven’t put up a review for it yet. Stay tuned though, it’s coming up soon.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. This one is probably my second favourite book of the year, after ACOMAF (which I still haven’t reviewed… I suck, I know). But I have reviewed SoC and you can read that by clicking on the title. The book was fantastic!

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I think this one was in my other book haul as well, but it hadn’t arrived then, so I put it in this one as well. Anyway, another one that I have read and reviewed

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. This is what I’m currently reading. And it’s going slowly. I’m finding it hard to get into. I hope it’s just the beginning that’s so annoying (Mare is really getting on my nerves with her special butterfly attitude).

Notice how most of the books are red, black and white and then there’s Glass Sword, sticking out like the sore thumb it is. Because so far out of these, it’s the one I’m enjoying the least.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

The Sunshine Blogger Award

I have been nominated for this award by Demi @ Books Traveler a while back. Thank you Demi for the nomination! You should go check out her blog if you haven’t already.

Demi’s Questions

1. What Hogwarts house are you in?

Ravenclaw. Although I first joined Pottermore way back when it was launched. Back then, I was sorted into Slytherin. I even have a Pottermore certificate. Then the site changed and I couldn’t log in with my old account, so I made a new one and th second time I was sorted into Ravenclaw. It’s really always been a tosser between the two and I’ve always identified as a bit of a Slytherclaw.

2. What Ilvermorny house are you in?

Horned Serpent.

3. Have you read Harry Potter and The Cursed Child already or planning to?

Not yet!

4. Is there a book you own more than one copy of?

Quite a few. Of the top of my head, The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Heidi by Johanna Spiri, The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper. There are probably others, but I can’t remember right now.

5. What kind of book or movie related merchandise do you own?

Hmm, I have an ACOTAR tote bag,  Shadowhunters tote bag, a Lady Midnight poster, a Deathly Hallows necklace, a Time Turner necklace, a Captaim America: Civil War poster, a Mockingjay poster, a Star Wars t-shirt, a Legolas action figure, which is technically my brother’s but I confiscated it. Can’t think of anything else at the moment.

6. If you could have personally witnessed anything, what would you want to have seen?

The beginning of the universe.

7. What’s your favourite TV show?

I’m not sure I have just one. I love Doctor Who, Sherlock, Supernatural, GoT, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy is probably the show I have seen the most times. But yeah, I love all of these and more.

8. What’s your favourite movie?

The Lord of the Rings.

9. If you could be any book character who would you be and why?

I’m not sure I really want to be any book character. All the characters I love have pretty shitty lives. Celaena from Throne of Glass? Yeah, she’s awesome and badass, but her whole family was murdered when she was 4. I’ll pass. I also wouldn’t really want to be a guy, which severely reduces the list of characters I love. Maybe I’d want to be Church from the Shadowunters books. He seems super chill and he apparently is immortal. I would just be a really sassy cat. So yeah, Church.

10. What do you look at first: the book cover or the blurb?

The book cover tends to be the first thing one notices about the book. Occasionally, the spine, depending on how the book is positioned on the shelf.

11. Which book should everyone read?

The Bible. If they must only read one. But also The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Giver by Lois Lowry

My Questions:

  1. Do you prefer the sea or the mountains?
  2. How do you organize your bookshelves?
  3. What is the book you’ve read the most?
  4. What is the film you’ve seen the most?
  5. What’s the last book that made you cry?
  6. When you go to the bookstore, do you usually have a specific book in mind, or do you just browse?
  7. What is your guilty pleasure?
  8. Most unusual food you’ve eaten?
  9. A book that you wish you hadn’t read?
  10. What is the most (aesthetically speaking) beautiful book you own?
  11. Do you have any pets?

Nominees:

Addictively Turning Pages

A Haven For Book Lovers

Between Folded Pages

I don’t know if any of you have done this or not, but if you have, feel free to ignore this.