Monday, 21 January 2019

Monday Mailbox - Jan 21st

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog. Head over and check out other books received during the last week.


Review Titles 

I received one book  this week and that was The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer
Publication date 12th February 2019.

Gorgeous and talented, Lee Miller has left behind a successful modelling career at Vogue to pursue her dream of being an artist. There she catches the eye of the famous Surrealist artist Man Ray. An egotistical, charismatic force. Lee is drawn to him immediately. Though he originally wants to use her as a model, Lee is determined to become Man's photography assistant instead.

As their personal and professional lives become further entwined, Lee is consumed by two desires; to become a famous photographer and to have a healthy and loving relationship. But as Lee asserts herself and moves from being a muse to an artist, Man's jealousy spirals out of control, and their mutual betrayals threaten to destroy them both.

 ✿.。.:* ☆:**:.:**:.☆*.:。.✿

This is Whitney Scharer's debut novel and I'm intrigued to see how her writing will portray Paris in the 1930's. I'm also interested to see how she brings Lee Miller out from behind the shadow of Man Ray.

What has arrived in your mailbox this week? Feel free to leave a link to your Mailbox Monday post in the comments below.



Saturday, 19 January 2019

Book Review: The Librarian of Auschwitz (Historical Fiction)

Book Bingo 2019 #2 'A book with themes of inequality'


The Librarian of Auschwitz
Antonio Iturbe

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 27th November 2018
Pages: 423
RRP: $18.99
Format Read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher


Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the TerezĂ­n ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope


The Librarian of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus. It is a story born of Dita’s experiences and the rich imagination of the author.

The story is set in the family camp at Auschwitz. The family camp was a cover the Germans concocted to deceive the world as to what was really happening in Auschwitz. While parents laboured during the day the children were gathered in Block 31. The aim was for them to play games, sports and sing songs. Learning was prohibited. Dita Adler, 14 years old, was the caretaker of the clandestine children’s library consisting of eight books. If the Germans ever found out about these books it would mean instant death.

The main theme of the story is how books and reading are something to be cherished and our right to read is something to risk death over. Dita protected these books with her life, lovingly restoring them and handing them out to the teachers each day.

The story follows Dita and her mother, Liesl, as they are taken to Auschwitz and the daily life in the family camp through sickness, death, hunger and fear as thousands of prisoners come and go in the camps around them.

The true violence of Auschwitz is very low key in this story which makes me feel it would be suited to a younger audience as a first introduction to the atrocities of the time, 13 years +. That’s not to say there is no violence, a prisoner is hung and a girl beaten.

The story had a lot of telling which caused it to lack emotion and I felt distanced from the suffering until the last 100 pages of the book where it became so much more immersive.

The Librarian of Auschwitz is impeccably translated to English by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites.

Iturbe includes a moving postscript which explains his reason for writing the book and his meeting with the woman that inspired this story, Dita herself, who is still as strong, outspoken and passionate in her eighties as she was as a young girl.

You can never, ever read too many stories about Auschwitz.

My Rating 7/10     

*This review is: 
Book 'L' in the AtoZ challenge 
and part of  #BookBingo2019 with Mrs B's Book Reviews & Theresa Smith Writes


Antonio Iturbe lives in Spain, where he is both a novelist and a journalist.

About the translator:
Lilit Zekulin Thwaites is an award-winning literary translator. After thirty years as an academic at La Trobe University in Australia, she retired from teaching and now focuses primarily on her ongoing translation and research projects.





Monday, 14 January 2019

Mailbox Monday - Jan 14th

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog. Head over and check out other books received during the last week.

Review Titles   

The Dysasters by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Publication date: 26th February 2019

Five years after the final instalment of the phenomenal House of Night series, the best selling mother/daughter writing duo brings us more heartstopping action.
A grand, epic fantasy perfect for YA and crossover readers.
The first of a four-book series.
The wind can change everything.

 The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
Publication date: 29th January 2019

Someone once told me that you have two families in your life - the one you are born into and the one you choose. Yes, you may get to choose your partner, but you don't choose your mother-in-law. The cackling mercenaries of fate determine it all.
From the bestselling author of The Family Next Door comes a new page-turner about that trickiest of relationships

Zebra and other stories by Debra Adelaide
Publication date: 29th January 2019

Tantalising, poignant, wry, and just a little fantastical, this subversive collection of short fiction - and one singular novella - from bestselling author Debra Adelaide reminds us what twists of fate may be lurking just beneath the surface of the everyday.

The True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl
Publication date: 1st April 2019

The bestselling author of In Falling Snow returns with a spellbinding tale of friendship, love and loyalty.
1920, 1981, and 1997: the strands twist across the seas and over two continents, to build a compelling story of love and fame, motherhood and friendship.   

Hunter by Jack Heath 
Publication date: 1st March 2019 

Timothy Blake returns, with an insatiable appetite, in the thrillingly addictive sequel to Hangman.
There's a serial killer in Houston, Texas, and Blake is running out of time to solve the case.
As they hunt the killer together, FBI agent Reese Thistle starts to warm to Blake - but she also gets closer and closer to discovering his terrible secret. 

Islands by Peggy Threw
Publication date: 1st March 2019

Helen and John are too preoccupied with making a mess of their marriage to notice the quiet ways in which their daughters are suffering. Junie grows up brittle and defensive, Anna difficult and rebellious.

A spellbinding novel in the tradition of Helen Garner, Charlotte Wood and Georgia Blain, Islands is a riveting and brilliant portrait of a family in crisis by the breathtakingly talented author of House of Sticks and Hope Farm.   

                                     Purchased Titles   

Milly Johnson is one of my favourite authors. Her books are always my go to when I want something fun and light to read. I was very excited to find these two titles at my local op shop.

Sunshine over Wildflower Cottage by Milly Johnson
Publication date: 1st December 2016

Escape to Wildflower Cottage this summer with the brilliant new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Teashop on the Corner and Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Café.

Viv doesn't like animals. And the feeling is mutual: animals seem to hate Viv too. So when she applies for a job at Wildflower Cottage, a tumbledown animal sanctuary which caters for a variety of unloved animals, she is not sure she will fit in. But then she catches sight of Heath, the owner, and things start looking up...

The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson
Publication date: 4th May 2017

Bonnie Brookland is trapped in a mundane, loveless marriage, but when she finds a job in an antiques shop called Pot of Gold, she realises the time has come to break away from her husband Stephen and find some happiness for herself, however hard that might be.

 Whats arrived in my inbox this week. 

I recently saw this book by  Theresa Smith on Amazon and couldn't resist buying it.

Lemongrass Bay by Theresa Smith
Publication date: 14th May 2017.

When lightning strikes...
Emma-Louise and Rosie have been friends for life, their bond unshakeable. Both women are on the verge of a new life, a second chance at love and happiness, but the past is about to catch up with each of them.
A story of passion, resentment, secrets, and lies.

What I'm looking forward to reading. 
Here I choose one book from this week’s arrivals that I’m really looking forward to reading.

This week I have picked Zebra and other short stories. A few years ago I would never have picked up a book of short stories thinking that you would get no substance or character development from a short story but after reading some other collections over the last few years I can see this is not the case. Zebra certainly sounds like an intriguing read.

Has anything caught your eye and will be added to your TBR list?