BOOK REVIEW: Lilac Girls – by Martha Hall Kelly #buddyread

Title: Lilac Girls
Author: Martha Hall Kelly
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Finished reading: February 11th 2018
Pages: 487

“There was no storm gathering in the east that day, no portent of things to come. The only ominous sign from the direction of Europe was the scent of slack water wafting off the East River.”

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I know I have been saying for months I was going to pick up Lilac Girls, but even my TBR jar couldn’t help me doing so. That’s why I was stoked when Nicki @ Secret Library asked if I wanted to buddy read it: the perfect excuse to finally stop procrastinating and get the job done! I can definitely see why so many people seem to love this novel, and I’m glad I finally did pick it up. It did leave me with a huge book hangover though! Because there is one thing for sure, Lilac Girls doesn’t try to soften the emotional blows and sweeten the horrific facts of the holocaust. O no, you will get a full share of dreadfulness and shocking details of the happenings in the concentration camp Ravensbruck. Trigger warnings are in place for those with a weak stomach! Because especially the WWII camp scenes are both intense and gruesome.

Lilac Girls is divided into three different storylines and POVs, each contributing to the story in a different way. I had my doubts about how the different storylines would work together at first, but now I’ve finished it I can see the role of each one more clearly. I do have to say it took a long time for Caroline’s POV to fit into the story. Both the lack of this connection, the fact it took a long time warming up to her character and the romance made me enjoy her POV considerably less, although I do admit they were a perfect pitstop in between the intense Ravensbruck chapters. And Caroline’s chapters set after the war improved considerably. That’s why her POV ended up coming second place for me. My favorite POV by far was Kasia’s, not only because her storyline itself is fascinating, but her development and story as well. Emotional, heartbreaking, intense… Some chapters are not easy to read, but her POV is by far the strongest of the bunch. I really didn’t like Herta though, although I guess that is kind of natural with her being a camp doctor and doing the things she does? Still, I felt she was less developed than the other two and didn’t add as much to the story either. I guess she did serve as a perfect ‘tool’ to demonstrate the horrors of the holocaust and the ‘other’ side.

What that stood out for me is the fact that this story is actually based on true events and both Caroline and Herta did exist. (Kasia and her sister are close matches). This fact makes the story that much more fascinating and the impact of the horrific details that much stronger. The writing is very well done as well as the plot itself. And what I also loved is that Lilac Girls doesn’t just show us the events during WWII, like most novels with a similar theme do, but also show the aftermath and consequences for the persons involved. These final chapters (the latest set in 1957-1958) add a whole new level to the story and made this story that much more unique.

All in all, despite the fact that I initially didn’t like Caroline all that much and wasn’t sure of the romance in her POV, and despite the fact I couldn’t stand Herta as a character, I do think this is a fascinating historical fiction read. If you are a fan of the genre and can stomach the horrific facts of the holocaust, Lilac Girls is definitely for you.

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Caroline Ferriday works at the French consulate in New York, and has her hands full with her post. Then her world is changed forever when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939… And France might be next. Caroline has to work harder than ever to try and help all those people at the consulate. And some of the cases are rather too close to heart.

In Lublin, Kasia is a Polish teenager that decides to help the underground resistance movement after Hitler invaded Poland. Somehow the unthinkable happens and she is sent to Ravensbruck, the Nazi concentration camp for women. Will she be able to survive?

Young German doctor Herta wants to have a chance to show her talent and be seen as an equal to other male doctors, but this isn’t easy in Nazi Germany. When she sees an ad for a government medical position, she thinks it’s the chance to finally prove herself… But she ends up being trapped in a male-dominated Nazi concentration camp instead. She is still determined to reach her goal though…

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Lilac Girls is without doubt a story you will have to be in the mood for, because it is not an easy read. This historical fiction read will leave you emotionally drained and shock as you try to assimilate the many horrific facts and happenings in the Ravensbruck camp… No doubt excellent research and well written, but not for the weak hearted. Thankfully the Caroline chapters are there to bring some relief of the horrors… And the final part set after the war will help you breathe again as well. No doubt a great read, even if it did leave me with a book hangover!


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WWW Wednesdays #163 – February 14th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

It is likely I’ll actually finish The Art Of French Kissing by Brianna R Shrum before this scheduled post goes up, since I don’t have all that many pages left… But as I’m typing this, I still haven’t finished it yet. 😉 I needed something light and fluffy after Lilac Girls and picked up this title on a whim after browsing the NG Read Now section. YA contemporary romance isn’t really my genre, BUT I can really enjoy them if they are done right or if I’m in the right mood. And this one was definitely a perfect match for me. Sure, it’s a bit cheesy and there are cliches, but it’s easy to read, cute and there is a LOT of food talk involved. Basically, this book makes me crave all kind of delicious food! I also read a few pages of What Blooms From Dust by James Markert, which I will pick up again today. I’m mighty confused so far though!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 18/02
Unfortunately, Take The Key And Lock Her Up is by far the weakest book of the trilogy and it’s sad to see a series end on this note as it started out so promising. One of the biggest problems I had was with the main character Grace. Her whole attitude, dialogue and actions seriously annoyed me and it was one of the reasons the final book didn’t work for me. I wasn’t 100% convinced by the writing either, but this is probably mostly related to Grace and her dialogue. And the whole love triangle and romance put a damper on things as well. As for the plot… If you look critically, nothing much is actually happening during this final adventure, or at least I missed the intensity and suspense.

2. Hollo by Devon Michael (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/02
If you are looking for an endearing, whimsical and magical read, Hollo is a great choice. From the writing style to the worldbuilding, characters and descriptions; you will be enchanted by Hollo and her magical world of Thedes and enjoy her journey. Hollo is perfectly suited for the younger YA fantasy fans despite the magical battles and some details, and it has another bonus in the form of a romance-free story! I can definitely recommend this one.

3. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/02
This was actually a buddyread with wonderful Nicki @ Secret Library. I’m so glad I finally got the chance to read this one! I can definitely understand the love for this historical fiction read now, although I do admit it left me with a huge book hangover. Especially the WWII holocaust camp scenes are intense and gruesome! My favorite POV of the three is definitely Kasia, although I did warm up to Caroline as well after a while. Her chapters were without doubt a welcome break in between the other two POVs… I really didn’t like Herta though, although I guess that is kind of natural with her being a camp doctor and doing the things she does? Her POV does add dept to the story. More in my review…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m SO excited that after my current reads I’ll be finally picking up my very first Karin Slaughter book The Good Daughter! I know I’m more than fashionably late to the party, but I’m having high hopes of becoming an instant fan of her work. I also need to read The Visitor by K.L. Slater, a title I have been looking forward to a LOT. I also should pick up The Last Star by Rick Yancey to get rid of another unfinished series on my list… I can’t say I was a fan of the first two books, so it will probably be a bit of a struggle reading that one though. And I have a new TBR jar pick after waaaay too long! *drumroll* Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke. This one does have a low rating and a lot of mixed reviews, and this was definitely a cover buy. 😉 I’m curious what I will make of it though.


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WWW Wednesdays #162 – February 7th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m so excited to be finally starting our buddy read of Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly with Nicki @ Secret Library! This title was actually a TBR jar pick months ago, but somehow I never actually picked it up… But no longer! I’m so excited to be finally reading this one. Also on my currently reading list is Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter, a 2016 most-anticipated release I somehow never actually picked up either. It’s the third and final book of the series, so I’ll be able to cross off yet another series on my to-do list soon!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/02
I’m definitely happy I finally gave this one a go… I went in completely blind and was pleasantly surprised with the whole dystopian angle being dropped after what seems like a contemporary beginning. The writing is enchanting and I really liked the ‘after’ storyline set twenty years after the disaster… Very intriguing. I did feel the plot felt a bit disjointed with all those different storylines, and things might get a bit confusing with all the different characters in the beginning, but that doesn’t take away I really enjoyed reading it.

2. As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 18/02
While I still think the first book is the strongest, As Dead As It Gets without doubt makes a comeback from what I call a ‘weak-second-book-syndrome’. The writing is engaging and reads superfast as always, making it a fun, exciting and speedy paranormal read. The plot is darker than the second book and adds a level of suspension to the story… Without doubt an interesting final adventure, although I’m still on the fence whether I like the ending or not.

3. A Castle In Romagna by Igor Stiks (2/5 stars) REVIEW 08/02
I had such high hopes for this story, especially since the blurb sounded really promising, but unfortunately the story fell completely flat for me. Between the writing style, lack of dept and development in both the plot and characters and the failed dual storyline, I had a hard time reading A Castle In Romagna. Although I keep wondering if some of its charm has been lost in translation.

4. The Lot Of A Nobody by Dave Johnston (4/5 stars) REVIEW 11/02
I needed something fun to brighten up my day, and this was EXACTLY the read I needed in my life. I already knew I would probably like it after seeing positive reviews a while back from bloggers with a similar taste, and I will definitely add myself to that group. I was able to take to the main character straight away and the writing style is just spot on. Engaging, quirky, direct, funny, a little blunt… The right kind of tone for a story I didn’t even know I was looking for when I started reading The Lot Of A Nobody. I LOVED the Nobody quotes at the beginning of each chapter as well as the perfect balance of contemporary and fantasy elements. Maybe even magical realism? Although only in the best possible way… Definitely a winner.

5. Black Heart by Anna-Lou Weatherley (4/5 stars) REVIEW 12/02
I couldn’t resist requesting a copy after certain bloggers (hint hint) kept going on about how great this detective thriller was… And I definitely agree. It’s refreshing to follow a male detective again for a change, even though he has the ‘usual’ complicated past baggage with him… And I do have a weak spot for a serial killer thriller. The writing draws you right in and it was without doubt a lightning-speed fast thriller ride… The plot was a bit predictable though and it was quite clear early on who the killer really was. There just weren’t all that many plot twists and surprises? That doesn’t take away I had a blast reading this one and I will definitely look forward to the next book in the series.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading Hollo by Devon Michael next depending on what genre I’m in the mood for. It’s another ARC I was supposed to read ages ago… (sorry!) I also want to read What Blooms From Dust by James Markert because I’m pretty intrigued by the blurb. And since I don’t have any pressing NG thriller releases anymore (YAY!!!!), I’ll be finally picking up my very first Karin Slaughter book The Good Daughter. I know I’m more than fashionably late to the party, but I’m having high hopes of becoming an instant fan of her work. I also should pick up The Last Star by Rick Yancey to get rid of another unfinished series on my list… I can’t say I was a fan of the first two books, so it will probably be a bit of a struggle reading that one though.


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WWW Wednesdays #161 – January 31st

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a book I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages. I didn’t get a chance to read a lot of it yet, but so far it looks really promising. I’m also about to pick up A Castle In Romagna by Igor Stiks, a Netgalley ARC I picked up as part of my whole ‘read more international authors/translations’ goal.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Best Friends by Carys Jones (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 01/02
If you are looking for a fast-paced and entertaining psychological thriller that focuses on both the characters and the action, you have found a good balance in Best Friends. This thriller has an interesting premise and a lot of action, but the story isn’t solely about the ‘problem’ they have to deal with. The story also focuses on their friendship and how the complicated situation they are in might affect this relationship. Especially in the second half of the story might not be all that believable, but it is still a solid read if you don’t focus that much on the credibility of it all.

2. The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 06/02
The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One without doubt makes a statement. Not only did I instantly connect with her style of poetry and the way she expresses herself, but I could also relate to some of the topics she discusses in her poems. Powerful, enchanting, inspiring and so well represented in both the words and format of her work!

3. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/02
Born A Crime is a very powerful and thought provoking read. I already knew the apartheid was going to be an intriguing topic, and Trevor Noah does an excellent job narrating his personal experience during the end of the apartheid as well as his mother’s experience. He balances these personal accounts with a lot of background information and facts about apartheid that are relevant to that particular account he was talking about. Born A Crime is a memoir you will not soon forget.

4. The Camera Lies by AB Morgan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/02
There is no doubt that both the TV documentary angle and the murder case itself make The Camera Lies a very refreshing, intense and action-packed read. Even though I did see a mayor plot twist coming, there were other things I never would have guessed. There are some disturbing things going on for sure! The story reads superfast and you will be wondering what will happen next and how things will end until the very last page. Entertaining and thrilling for sure!

5. Halfway by Lokesh Sharma (2/5 stars) REVIEW 05/02
This sci-fi story has an interesting concept, but the execution didn’t work for me. The lack of worldbuilding and plot left me feeling confused and Halfway is more of a disjointed character background story than a story set in a properly fleshed out fantasy world. I’m having a feeling I would have enjoyed it better as two completely separate stories: one with the characters and their history, and one fully about Enigma.

6. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall (3/5 stars) REVIEW 10/02
I was in the mood for a YA contemporary, so I picked up this title on a whim. I didn’t remember this one had actually a very prominent mental health angle: the main character suffers from agoraphobia and OCD. The author was able to develop this element really well, although I do have to say it all felt a bit too similar to Everything, Everything… And I wasn’t too sure about the ending or credibility of certain parts of the plot.

7. Unclean Spirits by Chuck Wendig (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 13/02
This is one of those cases where I should have investigated better, because I am so NOT the target group for this one… And this had a big influence on the lowish rating. This feels definitely written for macho male readers who like a lot of action, graphic scenes, swearing and adult content. AKA not my cup of tea. I did really like the whole mythology angle though.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading The Lot Of A Nobody by Dave Johnston next, mostly because I’ve had that ARC on my pile for way too long now… (sorry!) After that, I’ll probably read As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender so I can cross off another series on my list. I do hope it’s better than book two. I also want to read What Blooms From Dust by James Markert because I’m pretty intrigued by the blurb. And it looks like I will be finally picking up Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly soon! Thanks to the wonderful Nicki who offered to buddyread it with me. ❤


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WWW Wednesdays #160 – January 24th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading a pending NG ARC: Best Friends by Carys Jones. It’s still early days since I didn’t have much time yesterday, but I’m having high hopes for it. I’m also about to start with Born A Crime by Trevor Noah, a story I have been looking forward to and has been highly recommended to me a couple of times.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The New Hunger by Isaac Marion (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/01
The New Hunger is a prequel novella and I think I actually enjoyed it better than the first book. It might have been because of the lack of romance in this one, but The New Hunger turned out to be quite an interesting read despite the fact I’m not really into zombie stories. The writing and pace make it into a superfast read and I enjoyed reading about the background of the Warm Bodiescharacters and how it is to survive in this dystopian world in the first place. Short, but sweet with a healthy dose of fresh brains.

2. The Silent Girls by Dylan Young (4/5 stars) REVIEW 
There is no doubt that The Silent Girls is a very promising start of a new detective series that will be on my radar from now on. From a flowing, engaging writing style, interesting plot, refreshing cold case angle to great characters and a healthy dose of suspense and creepy suspects; The Silent Girls has it all. I can definitely recommend this new series to fans of the genre. Detective Anna Gwynne is one to keep an eye on.

3. Stage Four by Sander Kollaard (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/01
I vowed to read more international authors/translations this year, and somehow this book spoke to me when I saw it mentioned. Stage Four is both a beautiful, tragic and heartbreaking love story of a couple trying to accept and live with the diagnose of stage IV lung cancer. The flashbacks to 1968 help build their characters and it was interesting to see their relationship evolve as well as how they deal with the progress of the disease. There are lots of descriptions of the Swedish destinations included, making it feel as if you were there yourself… A very intriguing read although the ending was quite shocking.

4. From Bad To Cursed by Katie Alender (3/5 stars) REVIEW 02/02
Sadly I wasn’t able to enjoy this sequel as much as I thought I would. I still love the writing style, which is engaging, flowing and makes you fly through the story. But I wasn’t so sure about the plot. The idea behind From Bad To Cursed is an interesting one and definitely involves a healthy dose of creepy, BUT I wasn’t so happy with all those high school cliches included as well as a lot of ‘perfect pretty girl’ cliches. A bunch of teenage girls playing perfect and bitching to others if they don’t dress perfectly, eat the right food and say the right things? No thank you.

5. Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/01
If you like dark, intense, action-packed thrillers, you will be in for a treat with Vanishing Girls. The case described in this first book of a new detective series is both disturbing and fascinating, and this story is not for the weak-hearted. Trigger warnings are in place for violence, abuse and graphic scenes! Vanishing Girls is without doubt my kind of thriller and I had a blast following this rollercoast ride. The plot is so packed with action and twisted that it’s on the border of credible, but there is no doubt you won’t find a boring minute while reading this one. The main character Josie Quinn is on fire in this one!

6. The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 02/02
I was fully expecting to be loving this read, but I ended up feeling the complete opposite. I don’t think my opinion has all that much to do with the fact I don’t really know her… It’s more that her writing style, crudy humor and sexual talk simply aren’t a right fit for me. I guess her humor and writing style either works for you, or it doesn’t. Unfortunately I belong to the second group, and honestly I kind of struggled making it to the last page. Oh well, we can’t like them all, can we?

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I really want to read The Camera Lies by AB Morgan after my current reads since the publish date is coming up soon… And after that I want to read my ARC copy of The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace because I’m in the mood for some good poetry. After that, I’ll probably read As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender so I can cross off my first series of the year… I do hope it’s better than book two. My latest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. (I’ve been saying this for too long now; really have to kick my own butt and read it soon!)


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WWW Wednesdays #159 – January 17th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m almost finished with The Silent Girls by Dylan Young, which is turning out to be a really good start of a new detective series. I’m about to start The New Hunger by Isaac Marion as well, a Warm Bodies novella I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I still have to get a copy of the sequel; hopefully some time this year… I’m not a big zombie fan, but I remember enjoying the first book.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Ends Of The World by Maggie Hall (3/5 stars) REVIEW 27/01
I picked up this title as part of my goal to finish more series this year… I really enjoyed the first two books of this trilogy so I was looking forward to it, but unfortunately The Ends Of The World ended up disappointing me. Too much focus on the romance and political background and the spark of the previous books was completely missing. The international settings saved this final book for me, but all in all not the thrilling ending I was expecting.

2. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/01
Oh yes, I definitely know why so many people love this book now. Because even though I’m not into romance and hate both sexy scenes and love triangles, Sally Thorne made me completely forget about that and I had a blast reading this one. Even though there are a lot of cliches in this book and the whole ‘gorgeous, gorgeous, I’m drooling’ thing can get annoying, somehow the dynamics worked and resulted in a highly entertaining read.

3. Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/01
I messed up and didn’t realise this was actually a sequel, but besides a few confusing first pages it wasn’t that hard to follow the story without the background info. This was one firecracker of a thriller and such a good read! I loved the bounty hunter angle and both the writing and plot are excellent. Highly recommended for sure.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I did it again, misbehaved and requested another Bookouture thriller… And since the publish date is today, I want to read Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan ASAP. As part of the whole finishing my series goal, I’m probably picking up The Last Star by Rick Yancey afterwards even though I’m not a big fan of the first two books… I want to read The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater for the same reason, but I might wait a little until I have time to binge-read all three books since I have a few other titles I want to get to as well. My latest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.


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WWW Wednesdays #158 – January 10th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

It’s been a while since I last did one of these! Three months to be exact… Oops? This time around it’s all about the books I’ve been reading so far in 2018; next week will be back to normal. (Hopefully)

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m almost finished with The Ends Of The World by Maggie Hall, which will be the first series I will be able to finish this year. I loved the first two books of the series, but I’m kind of struggling with the final one… I’m just not feeling it, there is way too much politics involved and I can’t find the same magic of the first two books. It might just have been me, but definitely not the experience I was expecting. I’m dying to read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne though, which I’ve sampled already and sounds like a winner.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 11/01
I already had a feeling this was going to be good, but I honestly couldn’t have wished for a better book to start the reading year with. Keep Her Safe was one heck of a thriller with so many intense moments I found it impossible to stop reading. I practically devoured this story and its many plot twists and the final part of Keep Her Safe definitely had some jaw droppingly fierce moments. A trigger warning for those if extreme and violent scenes aren’t your thing! Otherwise, I can highly recommend this thriller.

2. Life In Outer Space by Melissa Keil (3/5 stars) REVIEW 18/01
I love my geeky/nerdy reads and I was so sure I was going to enjoy this one… But I guess it just wasn’t ment to be. Basically I feel this book is trying too hard. The geeky/nerdy elements felt forced and unnatural and I wasn’t a fan of the characters either… And there were a LOT of high school cliches involved.

3. Her Last Lie by Amanda Brittany (3/5 stars) REVIEW
I had high hopes for Her Last Lie, but unfortunately I can say that only the last part of this story actually lived up to expectations. The writing is good, the premise is promising and the ending is surprisingly strong. There were a few plot twists I didn’t see coming either, and I loved the travel elements. That said, I found there was too much focus on the romantic relationships of the main character, I found the cheating/love triangle highly annoying and the main character itself very unlikeable. My feelings for this book are basically all over the place, because while I felt a strong dislike for the story during most of Her Last Lie, I absolutely loved the final part (starting with the Northern Lights scene). It’s hard to wrap my head around these feelings, but I do admit these positive feelings sure took their time making an appearance. Fans of slower paced psychological thrillers with a romantic focus might enjoy this one a lot better though. Just don’t expect a lot of suspense and excitement until the very end.

4. The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/01
I was intrigued as soon as I started reading The Bunker Diary and this is both an addictive, shocking, thought-provoking and emotional read. I sure wish I would have picked it up sooner! The writing is interesting and we learn about what is happening through the diary of the main character. Not only tells us about the events in the bunker, but it also shows the mental state of the character as well as how the things that happen have their effect. It’s hard to talk properly about this story without giving away too much, but The Bunker Diary will crush your heart, make you stare at the final page and at loss for words. A trigger warning for some graphic descriptions, but all in all I can really recommend reading this story. It definitely blew me away.

5. The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/01
I have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction, so I just had to request a copy of this title as soon as I heard about it. This book is based on real events and the author has interviewed the main character of this story personally. It gives a remarkable insight in the life at Auschwitz and how the main character manages to survive by having given the task of tattooing the numbers on the arms of the prisoners of Auschwitz. You won’t keep your eyes dry with this one!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As part of the whole finishing my series goal, I’m probably picking up The Last Star by Rick Yancey next. I’m not a big fan of the trilogy, but since I have already read the first two and have a copy of the last book on my kindle, I’ll give it a go anyway. I also need to read my last pending January ARC The Silent Girls by Dylan Young… And I want to read The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter ASAP as well (although I might pick up another thriller first since it’s a ‘sort of’ ARC?) My newest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.


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WWW Wednesdays #157 – October 4th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m still reading The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman, and I’m still not all that far into it. I normally would have finished it by now, but I’ve been distracted by a new hobby during the last few days. I discovered I absolute love to crochet! I wanted to try a few patterns out of the Snuggle And Play Crochet book I finished last week even though I had no knowledge of the crochet techniques… And it turns out it was easier to learn than I thought! (Or at least the basics haha.) Meet Mr. Red Fox a.k.a. the reason I’ve been slacking on my reading during the last few days. He still needs some arms but I ran out of red yarn. xD I actually made a granny blanket for the zebra I will be making soon as well, but decided to make Mr. Fox first since he seemed to be easier haha.

I haven’t continued with IT by Stephen King yet, but I’m planning to do so soon. I haven’t been reading much during the last couple of days in the first place, so that’s probably why as well.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (3/5 stars) REVIEW
I really wanted to love Heartless and I was sure I was going to after reading the first couple of chapters. The writing is wonderful and take you right to the magical world these famous characters live in. I just loved Cath and her baking; I’m craving to start baking something myself right now (and eating it afterwards of course!). Everything was going great until the love triangle, which positively ruined Heartless for me. After the introduction of this romance trope, the main focus was on this relation and I felt kind of betrayed. Oh well, most people seem to love this story, so I guess this will be yet another unpopular opinion to add to the mix… If you dislike love triangles as much as I do, consider yourself warned though.

2. Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/10
I know I wasn’t convinced by the first book of this series, but I loved book two and this third book is just as good as the previous one. I literally finished Murder Game in less than a day and found myself on the edge of my seat the whole time! Fast-paced, well written, suspenseful… An excellent serial killer thriller!

3. Bentwhistle The Dragon by Paul Cude (2/5 stars; DNF at 49%) REVIEW 06/10
Honestly, I’ve tried. I’m not saying the writing is bad and it truly shows just how much time is put into the detailed and extensive descriptions and worldbuilding. The thing is, the pace is supersuperslow and I just can’t get myself to keep interest. One superlong and extensive description after the other kind of had the reverse effect on me and instead of finding myself intrigued by another story about my favorite mythical creature, I was rather bored by it all. I don’t think the age group would be happy with so many descriptions and the lack of action either… All in all definitely not for me, and unfortunately I just couldn’t bring myself to torture myself any further with more extensive descriptions (especially since I found the mystery and ‘dangerous’ situation not all that suspenseful to be honest).

4. The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I must have read this classic a dozen of times before and I don’t think I can add anything new to all the reviews that have been written about it before… I had my first experience with her diary during high school, where we read the book in Dutch and went to visit the place where she was hiding with her family in Amsterdam. This diary is such a powerful story and really shows what it was like for Jews in hiding during the war… Very intriguing read everyone should read at some point in their lives.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland next even though the publish date is still relatively far away… I absolutely loved her previous thrillers and can’t wait to start her newest.  Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma. And after so many glowing reviews, I’m also reading Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This novel has all the signs of becoming my next 5 star read! My newest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.


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WWW Wednesdays #156 – September 27th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently close to finishing Bentwhistle The Dragon: A Threat From The Past by Paul Cude, a YA fantasy read with dragons. The pace is quite slow, but there is no doubt that the worldbuilding is extensive with a lot of attention to details and descriptions. I’m also about to start Heartless by Marissa Meyer, a story I’ve been wanting to read for months… I’m really looking forward to that one. IT by Stephen King I decided to put temporarily on hold until October so I can finish some other books first… Plus, it’s probably the perfect Halloween read for next month in the first place right? 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/09
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up my copy of Flowers For Algernon, but I’m more than happy with what I found. The writing is simply brilliant, as both the progress reports and the prose itself give the perfect insight of what happens to Charlie during the experiment. The way others react to Charlie during different stages of the experiment is both intriguing and unfortunately very accurate as well. Hopefully an eye opener! Flowers For Algernon is able to provoke strong emotions and is utterly heartbreaking in the end.

2. Snuggle And Play Crochet by Carolina Guzman Benitez (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
These patterns are absolutely adorable! I will be looking forward creating at least a few of these as gifts for a few of my friends who have either young children or are about to be parents… I’m having a feeling the loveys will be a huge success, although the plush animals are adorable as well. I’m still a crochet newbie, so I could really appreciate the helpful explanations of the different stitches and how to put the different parts together!

3. Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/09
This psychological thriller is mostly a character-driven story and the pace was a lot slower than expected. I struggled a little in the beginning, both because of the pace and my lack of connection to the characters, but the second half of the story more than made up for it. I loved the countdown idea and how slowly more of the present day event is revealed… And the final part is more than shocking! The story will make you think a lot of things and suspect a lot of people, but I can garantuee you won’t guess the final truth about what really happened.

4. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 01/10
I’ve only just finished this one so I need a little time to think… It’s a character-driven story set in 1914 on a lifeboat, where the characters have to survive after their cruiseship sinks on the way to New York. The pace is quite slow and I’m not a fan of the characters, but the historical setting is quite well done and it shows in the way the characters interact as well. Nothing much happens during the story though. I’m still on the fence about this one to be honest.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell next even though the publish date is still relatively far away… I’m dying to find out how the series continues.  Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma. I also want to read I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh; I’ve had that one on my TBR for way too long now. My newest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, a historical fiction read which I have been wanting to read for ages so I’m really happy this title popped up.


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WWW Wednesdays #155 – September 20th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading both my latest TBR jar pick Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes and my 800+ pages book for this year It by Stephen King. I’m only a few pages into both so I don’t have anything substantial to say yet… Other than that I’ll probably end up finishing It next month since I want to read a few other titles first.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Dollmaker Of Krakow by R.M. Romero (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I was sold as soon as I saw the cover and blurb, and there is no doubt that the writing is just as beautiful as the stunning cover. The Dollmaker Of Krakow is a truly unique story that mixes historical events with a fairytale-like fantasy world and sometimes feels a lot like magical realism. This innocent way of approaching the holocaust is a truly fascinating angle and very well executed; the fantasy elements only add to the overal originality of the story.

2. Beartown by Fredrik Backman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/09
It took me a while to warm up to this story and to be honest in the beginning I wasn’t convinced by the multiple POVs and the amount of characters introduced. I’m not a hockey fan and I wasn’t sure if I could handle the prominent role the sport has in the story… But all those worries disappeared as soon as I reached the second half and found myself fully invested. I don’t want to give away too much to avoid spoilers (since the original blurb had a few as well), but some things will happen that will provoke very strong emotions and these feelings won’t let you go until you reach the final page. The fact that there are so many conflicting emotions will leave you wrecked, but fully satisfied. The ending is quite interesting as well, and will make you wonder about how the story started. All in all recommended despite the not that convincing start!

3. A Different Blue by Amy Harmon (4/5 stars) REVIEW 23/09
Even though this wasn’t my favorite story, I still very much enjoyed it and I was surprised there wasn’t as much romance involved as I would have expected. Blue was a great character even though she wasn’t exactly likeable and I love her art and what it symbolizes. I wasn’t a big fan of Darcy though and I could have done without the love triangle… But the writing was excellent as always. Beautiful, raw, strong and emotional story!

4. The Mistake by K.L. Slater (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/09
I’ve been looking forward to this one… And although it’s not my favorite of the bunch, it is still without doubt a very well written and suspensful psychological thriller. The main problem I had was with the main characters, which I found highly unlikeable… Rose and Garreth made me cringe A LOT. But. The writing is excellent and the situation and consequences of grooming very well and realistically described. I liked the idea of the chapters going back between past and present; showing this way both what happened all those years ago and how this effected Rose’s life even after all those years.

5. Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni (?/5 stars) REVIEW 26/09
I’ve only just finished this one as I’m writing this WWW, and I’m still struggling to decide what to make of this one. The writing style is very engaging and made this story into a very fast read. The whole funeral business definitely gives this story a unique touch and actually adds to the plot as well. I’m still not sure about the characters, but I’m hoping to write something a bit more coherent in the next few days or so.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m pickin up Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite next even though it’s recently due next month… I’ve been looking forward to this one. I also want to read Heartless by Marissa Meyer; I’ve been posponing this one for way too long now. Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma… And I have a new TBR jar pick! Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, a historical fiction read which I have been wanting to read for ages so I’m really happy this title popped up. I can’t wait to finally read it!


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