Book Tag – Shelfie By Shelfie #4

Published January 22, 2018 by bibliobeth

Image edited from: <a href=”http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame image created by Jannoon028 – Freepik.com</a>

Hi everyone and welcome to a brand new tag – Shelfie by Shelfie that I was inspired to create late one night when I couldn’t sleep. If you want to join in, you share a picture (or “shelfie”) of one of your shelves i.e. favourites, TBR, however you like to organise them, and then answer ten questions that are based around that particular shelf. I have quite a large collection and am going to do every single bookshelf which comprises both my huge TBR and the books I’ve read and kept but please, don’t feel obliged to do every shelf yourself if you fancy doing this tag. I’d love to see anything and just a snapshot of your collection would be terrific and I’m sure, really interesting for other people to see!

For my very first Shelfie by Shelfie please see my post HERE.

For my second Shelfie by Shelfie please see my post HERE.

For my third Shelfie by Shelfie please see my post HERE.

For other Shelfie by Shelfies round the blogosphere, please see:

Chrissi @ Chrissi Reads FAVOURITES shelfie HERE.

Sarah @ The Aroma Of Books Shelfie 1A HERE

Anyway – on with the tag, here is the third shelf of my first bookshelf (I’ve chosen to split it up into two separate shelfies because of the sheer number of books (oops!). I did the back shelf in Shelfie by Shelfie #3 so here is the front shelf):

NOTE: We’re looking at the second shelf down here, shelf with the Andrex puppy on has already been covered in Shelfie by Shelfie #2! 😛

And here are the questions!:

1.) Is there any reason for this shelf being organised the way it is or is it purely random?

This is one of my very random shelves, no rhyme or reason for the way they are ordered at all! This shelf has a mixture of new releases, books I was recommended on a visit to Mr B’s Emporium Of Reading Delights and books I want to get to fairly soon.

2.) Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you i.e. how you got it/ a memory associated with it etc.

I’m going to tell you about A Pug Like Percy by Fiona Harrison. I was given it as a Christmas present not last Christmas but the Christmas before because I have a slight obsession with pugs. (I can hear my sister snorting “SLIGHT?!” right now) and I keep meaning to get round to reading it. It looks like such a heart warming story about a little abandoned pug and I’m thinking Christmas 2018 would be a perfect time to finally read it.

3.) Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

I’m beginning to really resent my own question. All of these books are ones I really want to get to and all of them are TBR, I haven’t read a single book on this shelf yet. The shame. If I absolutely had to, I’d choose Mateship With Birds by Carrie Tiffany. I got it for only £2.00 from a used bookshop on the London Bookshop Crawl recently and actually think I already have a copy on my Kindle. Oops.

4.) Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

Probably How To Be Human by Paula Cocozza. I just adore the front cover and was trying not to buy hardbacks (lack of room) but couldn’t resist this one as it’s just gorgeous. I would worry that I wouldn’t be able to get hold of the same cover easily if I lost it.

5.) Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

Probably The Valley Of Amazement by Amy Tan. I’m not sure when I bought it, it was quite a few years ago (released 2013?) but I know it’s definitely older than the rest of the books on this particular shelf.

6.) Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

Newest is probably 4321 by Paul Auster which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2017 and I became intrigued by after I heard the synopsis of one man, four parallel stories of his life. I haven’t read any books from this author before so I’m excited to get started, although I’ve heard a few bad things too. We’ll have to wait and see!

7.) Which book from this shelf are you most excited to read (or re-read if this is a favourites shelf?)

This would definitely be My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. I’ve heard so many great things about it, I’m actually reading it very soon and I am so excited to get started. Oh yes.

8.) If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

There isn’t any object on this shelf, there’s no room for anything else apart from books (and even then, not enough room for some of them, eek!).

9.) What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

Again, I think it shows that I have quite a varied taste in books and that I like to keep up with new releases. There’s also a couple of older releases on the shelf too that I’d really like to get to and highlight in my blog this year including Carol by Patricia Highsmith (first published 1952).

10.) Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

Anyone who wants to do this, please feel free, I’d be delighted but please tag me in your post so I can see your shelfie in all its glory. This time round I’m going to choose a question for myself:

Is there any books on this shelf that you think might have an emotional impact on you?

I’ve been hearing amazing things about Tin Man by Sarah Winman. I enjoyed her first release, When God Was A Rabbit but didn’t get on very well with A Year Of Marvellous Ways. However, I have heard that this novel is hugely emotional and might break me a little bit so I’m determined to get to it sometime this year.

COMING SOON on bibliobeth : Shelfie by Shelfie #5

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Crimes Against Magic (Hellequin Chronicles #1) – Steve McHugh

Published January 21, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

It’s been almost ten years since Nathan Garrett woke on a cold warehouse floor with nothing but a gun, a sword, and no idea of who he was or how he got there. His only clue … a piece of paper with his name on it. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his abilities to work as a thief for hire. But he’s never stopped hunting for his true identity, and those who erased his memory have never stopped hunting for him. When the barrier holding his past captive begins to crumble, Nathan swears to protect a young girl who is key to his enemy’s plans. But with his enemies closing in, and everyone he cares about becoming a target for their wrath, Nathan is forced to choose between the life he’s built for himself and the one buried deep inside him.

Crimes Against Magic is an Urban Fantasy set in modern-day London with Historical flashbacks to early fifteenth-century France. It’s book one of the Hellequin Chronicles, a series about Nathan (Nate) Garrett, a centuries-old sorcerer.

What did I think?:

This is going to be such a tough book to review but I’m going to try my best to make my thoughts and feelings somewhat coherent! Crimes Against Magic, the first book in The Hellequin Chronicles was recommended to me by a good friend who also got me into the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (a series I’m heartily enjoying!). I went into it with my expectations somewhat raised but anticipating a strong male lead, a magical world where your powers can be used for good and against your adversaries and a few strange creatures to round it all off. Essentially, this is exactly what I got….so why am I left feeling slightly disappointed? Mainly, I think it’s because I thought although this series has an awful lot of potential and there were many things that I enjoyed, there were also a couple of issues that irked me which I’ll get into a bit later.

Crimes Against Magic follows our male protagonist, Nathan Garrett who is a powerful sorcerer but ten years ago something happened to him that left him on a warehouse floor with very little memory of the events that happened just prior to this incident or the incident itself that has left him in this state of unease. We follow him as he tries to recall what has happened to him and, in particular, whom he has to protect in the vital mission he was sent upon. Told in a dual timeline between Nathan’s past in fifteenth century France and the present time in London and the South of England, Nathan draws on all his old powers and a few loyal friends in order to help him remember who he really is, the extent of his powers and the crucial events of the past before his adversary strikes again.

Okay, so there’s a lot to like about this novel and generally, I think fantasy lovers are going to go absolutely crazy for it. I loved the setting in both London and the South of England, two places I’ve lived and know very well so it was a nostalgic experience reading about them in a novel. It’s exciting and fast-paced and I really enjoyed learning about the intriguing three magic systems in this world. There’s the Elemental system i.e. earth, fire, air and water, the Omega system (not to be used by novices) – mind, matter, shadow and light and the Blood Magic system which the author describes very astutely as “scaring the sh*t out of people.” Nathan has control over air and fire and I loved the way in which he used these elements to defeat his adversaries in different ways e.g. taking out all the air in the room or melting a lock. Also, even though his main job (so as to speak) is a thief for hire, Nathan has strong morals and I really appreciated this part of his character, particularly his relationship with sixteen year old Dani whom he swears to protect.

Now the bad. My biggest problem with this novel unfortunately is the way all the female characters appear to be drawn. This seems to be very much a book aimed at men, well – let me say a particular group of men because I know a lot of you guys appreciate a strong female character, right? The women in this book seemed to be there merely as sexual objects and their attractiveness, facial features, hair, body, if they were wearing a slinky dress (I could go on…) was how they were introduced. I noted also a couple of times where a female character was presented and we were told she was either – under thirty or no more than thirty or no older than in her thirties. WHY DOES THIS MATTER? Breathe. Apologies for the capitals, folks.

In comparison, most of the male characters were introduced by how strong they were or their height (such a manly attribute!) and there was no reference to their attractiveness/facial features/age/sexiness at all that I remember. All I wanted in this novel was for a strong female accompaniment to Nathan and there was a woman who was slightly kick-ass, although weakly developed which was a shame, but then that doesn’t last very long, for one reason or another. It was just so very noticeable the difference between the female and the male characters and for that, I was sad. I apologise if I’ve offended anyone with these statements but I have to be completely honest and if you’ve read it and can prove me wrong, I’m always happy to discuss for sure. I’ve ummed and aaahed about my rating for this novel and for the things I did enjoy and the magic system, I’m giving it a tentative three. Fantasy/magic fans are definitely going to love it, I just had a few issues with it personally.

Would I recommend it?:

Not sure.

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Crimes Against Magic by Steve McHugh is the fifth book in my quest to conquer Mount Everest in the Mount TBR Challenge 2018!

The Last Beginning (The Next Together #2) – Lauren James

Published January 20, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

The epic conclusion to Lauren James’ debut The Next Together about love, destiny and time travel.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.

What did I think?:

The Last Beginning is the second book in Lauren James’ wonderful science fiction/time travel duology and after the absolute gorgeousness of the first novel, The Next Together, this book was a must-read that I knew I had to get to very soon. I think I mentioned in my first review that this series really benefits from being such a beautiful mixture of different genres. First of all, it’s young adult fiction with a hint of romance. Then there’s the historical detail gifted to us from the moments when our characters travel through time. Finally, a spattering of mystery, some nods to science and technology and a mere pinch of dystopia with an LGBT element makes this series so appealing to a variety of fiction lovers. Was I worried that it might suffer from second book syndrome? Well, a little bit but to be honest, I’m not sure if that perceived effect of a second book not living up to expectations is as common as I once thought as I’ve read quite a few second novels now that are on a perfectly equal footing with the first. This is definitely one of them.

If you’ve not read the first book in the series yet, I won’t spoil things too much for you but all you need to know about this book is it is told from the perspective of the daughter Clove, of the main characters in The Next Together, Katherine and Matt. Her parents promised to come back for her when she was a baby after they dealt with a very sticky situation of their own but they have never returned. At the beginning of this novel, Clove has just found out the truth behind her parentage and has been given a lot of old papers and letters belonging to her parents. She is determined to solve the mystery behind why Katherine and Matt keep being reincarnated, appearing in different periods of history and falling in love with each other in each separate period of time. This involves Clove also travelling back and forward in time, learning about her parents, finding love for herself and discovering valuable lessons about why certain things in history should never be messed with.

The Last Beginning wins top marks from me for originality, an inventive and thrilling plot and like the first book, a fascinating reading experience visually speaking, with the author using emails, messenger conversations, letters and diary entries which only enhanced my enjoyment of the narrative overall. I’ve mentioned in countless reviews now that I don’t like romance to be “sickly sweet.” Well, I’m happy to announce that once again, I found the relationship between Katherine and Matt to be honest, funny and heart-warming, a pure joy to read about. I also enjoyed that we got to see new relationships developing between Jen and Tom who raised Clove as their daughter and Clove and Ella. which were just as adorable. If this book was a race at the Olympics it would be the relay. I sprinted through it lightning quick but time and time again I kept getting passed those magical batons that changed the story in ways I would have never expected. I love being surprised and I never anticipated the directions Lauren James took me as a reader. I can’t say anything else except if you love young adult fiction and are in the mood for something delightfully different, read this series!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

imagesCAF9JG4S

The Last Beginning by Lauren James is the fourth book in my quest to conquer Mount Everest in the Mount TBR Challenge 2018!

 

Short Stories Challenge 2018 – Books And Roses by Helen Oyeyemi from the collection What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours.

Published January 19, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s Books And Roses all about?:

In Books and Roses, one special key opens a library, a garden and clues to at least two lovers’ fates.

What did I think?:

Helen Oyeyemi’s short story collection, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is a new addition to my collection after completing a collection by a different author last year. This collection was actually recommended to me by the wonderful booksellers at Mr B’s Emporium Of Reading Delights and I was immediately intrigued, both by the gorgeous cover art, the fact that it was quite whimsical and that characters from some of the stories were promised to appear in other stories in the collection. From what I can gather so far, each story involves a key of some sort and the protagonist searching for something, be that family, an object, their own identity etc. I finished this story with a lot of admiration for Helen Oyeyemi as a writer and clear master of words however I have to be honest, I also finished the story a little bit confused.

Books And Roses is the first story in this collection and quite a lengthy one relatively speaking at just over forty pages long. When it started, I was immediately intrigued. A baby has been abandoned in a monastery with a note, imploring the baby when she is older to “Wait For Me,” and enclosed is a mysterious key which the child, named Montserrat (Montse) wears around her neck. The unknown mother suggests that this was the best place for her to leave her baby as the baby is black and the monks have a statue of Black Madonna in their premises so she was certain she was leaving her in a good place. Then we follow our female protagonist quite quickly as she grows up, gets work as a laundress and meets another young woman who not only also possesses a strange key but is also waiting for someone and we hear a bit of her story. In quite a convoluted narrative, we eventually learn the secret behind the two keys and the way in which both women’s stories are inter-connected.

I’m wondering whether I should go back and read this story all over again as I’m worried I may have lost some of the meaning amongst the vast amount of information we are given by the author. I absolutely adored the beginning, it felt very fairy-tale like and some of the passages she writes are truly beautiful, especially ones set within the gorgeous library:

“A library at night is full of sounds: The unread books can’t stand it any longer and announce their contents, some boasting, some shy, some devious.”

However, I do think that because the author completely flooded the narrative with the back stories of both Montse, Lucy and another young woman Safiye, I perhaps got a little overwhelmed about where one story started and the other finished and how that information pertained to each character. I don’t blame the author at all for that, that’s merely my own inability to separate what we are told as a reader and then see it all as a whole which I sadly failed to do. Maybe it’s also getting used to a different writers style, especially when this is the first thing I’ve read by Helen Oyeyemi. For now, I’ll note that she’s a gorgeous writer and perhaps I need to concentrate a bit more when reading her fiction.

Would I recommend it?:

Maybe!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

NEXT SHORT STORY: The Apple Tree by Daphne du Maurier from the collection The Birds And Other Stories.

 

The Haunting – Alex Bell

Published January 18, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Some curses grow stronger with time…
People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch’s history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house’s dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.
Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever…
A chilling new title in the Red Eye horror series from the author of Frozen Charlotte.

What did I think?:

I’ve been a fan of Alex Bell for a little while now and have really enjoyed her adult reads including The Ninth Circle and Jasmyn, which I read in my pre-blogging days and of course, her relatively recent release of Frozen Charlotte with Red Eye publishers. The Haunting is her second book for Red Eye and once I realised that it involved something “witchy,” I was completely sold. I’m loving Alex’s foray into young adult fiction, particularly horror as it’s something I used to read almost exclusively when I was a teenager. When I read things like Frozen Charlotte and The Haunting I’m reminded of the Point Horror books released in the 1990’s which I used to adore and spend all of my pocket money on. As a result, reading her books written in this vein are incredibly nostalgic and I find myself just as gripped by the narrative as when I used to read books under the duvet with my torch in the middle of the night.

The Haunting follows our disabled protagonist Emma, confined to a wheelchair after a horrific accident as she goes to visit her sick grandmother in Cornwall. Her grandmother owns an inn called The Waterwitch and begs Emma not to return there, swearing that it is haunted and therefore dangerous but when Emma sees a mysterious light in the inn one evening, she is determined to investigate with her trusty assistance dog, Bailey. Reunited with her old friend Jem and his sister Shell, strange and creepy things start happening at The Waterwitch and Emma begins to realise that one particular spirit has a mission she is resolved to carry out, which could prove deadly for anyone that stands in her way.

As with most thrillers/mysteries I don’t want to go much more into the plot than I already have for fear of spoilers. I really loved the whole atmosphere of this novel, including our plucky characters (and I’m always a sucker for a brave dog too!). It was wonderful to see a protagonist that was not able-bodied and I appreciated her unwavering need for answers, returning to the place where her accident occurred and facing things that would have most ordinary people running for the hills! Alex Bell sets the scene beautifully with an inn that is built from the remains of a shipwreck of the same name, The Waterwitch, to tell a story that will give you chills and have you checking the darkest corners of your room before you go to sleep. It’s delightfully eerie but the perfect level of fright for teenagers without giving them nightmares so for that I heartily recommend it. Finally, I really appreciated a young adult piece of fiction that wasn’t all about the romance, had friendship and family much deeper at its core and wasn’t afraid to travel to some very dark places. I can’t really compare it to Frozen Charlotte if you’ve read that – in my eyes, it’s just as uncanny and definitely has the potential to raise a few goosebumps.

For my interview with Alex Bell, please see my post HERE

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

 

Holding – Graham Norton

Published January 17, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Graham Norton’s masterful debut is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss.

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother of­ two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former­ love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore – with searing honesty – the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

What did I think?:

First of all, a huge thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for approving me on NetGalley to read a copy of Graham Norton’s debut novel, Holding in exchange for an honest review. In the UK, Graham is a well respected television  and radio presenter, comedian, actor and now writer and he’s probably one of my favourite people in the public eye at the moment. That means when I heard he was writing a novel of course I was desperate to read it and at the same time a bit worried because I love him as a personality so much. In the end, I have to be honest and say I was a little disappointed with this novel unfortunately. (*hides from barrage of stones from angry Graham Norton fans*). It’s quite a cosy little mystery, yet surprisingly serious at times and I do think that a lot of people would enjoy it which is quite evident from the number of positive ratings on GoodReads. However, it just fell short for me plot-wise and wasn’t thrilling enough to make me want to keep turning the pages.

The novel is set in a small village of Ireland which rarely has anything exciting or dramatic to recommend it. Even our main character, Sergeant PJ Collins has seldom participated in any police business we might normally associate with fighting crime, chasing perpetrators down streets, apprehending burglars, solving murders etc. Duneen is a sleepy, quiet village with a very low crime rate so PJ spends his days quite sedentary, watching over the community and comfort eating in his car. It is only when some skeletal remains are unearthed by some builders on a property and are thought to belong to the previous occupant, Tommy Burke who hasn’t been seen in quite a few years that PJ finally has a case he can really sink his teeth into. Old secrets are finally dug up, in particular regarding Tommy and two women who were in love with him, and PJ begins to realise that his little village, which he thought was so calm and unassuming has a lot more to hide than he originally believed.

There were a lot of positives to be taken from this debut offering from Graham Norton and certainly a lot of things that perhaps a different demographic of reader might enjoy. For instance, I did enjoy the character of PJ, a previously quite hapless, slightly inept and “stuck in his ways” police officer who was actually a really lovely man that just hasn’t had a decent break in life. The finding of old bones and a potential murder case on his patch is really the making of him as a character and I enjoyed his determined attempts to solve the mystery and interactions with other characters in the narrative. However, I did find his character to be probably the better developed ones in the story out of a myriad of other individuals that I didn’t feel were as fleshed out as they could have been. This was unfortunate as there were a number of characters, like Evelyn and Brid that had the possibility of being very intriguing and they just felt a bit flimsy in comparison.

I’m a bit wary of saying anything too negative about this novel as for me it wasn’t a bad story by any means. It’s pleasant, chugs along at quite a nice pace and has quite an interesting mystery at its centre. As I mentioned before, its got quite a lot of positive ratings on Goodreads so perhaps I just fall into that category of reader where it just didn’t touch me as much as it obviously touched other people. Perhaps I was expecting too much, knowing and loving the wonderful personality of the man that is Graham Norton but his writing just fell flat for me which was bitterly disappointing. Maybe the plot wasn’t intricate enough, I didn’t resonate with any of the characters and the “big reveal” wasn’t as spectacular as I had imagined it in my own mind BUT it has got some amazing reviews from other readers so I’m thinking it might be wrong reader in this particular case? Let me know if you’ve read it and what you think, I’d be interested to know.

Would I recommend it?:

Not sure.

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Conspiracy Of Blood And Smoke (Prisoner Of Night And Fog #2) – Anne Blankman

Published January 16, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

The gripping sequel to Prisoner of Night and Fog. The epic tale of one young woman racing to save the man she loves during one of history’s darkest hours. For fans of The Book Thief and Beneath a Scarlet Sky.’

It’s terrifying and incredible to think how much of this story is true’ Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity on Prisoner of Night and Fog 

Gretchen Muller has three rules for her new life:

1. Blend into the surroundings
2. Don’t tell anyone who you really are
3. Never, ever go back to Germany

Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: she used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. When she made an enemy of her former friends, she fled Munich for Oxford with her love, Daniel Cohen. But then a telegram calls Daniel back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside down when he is accused of murder.

To save Daniel, Gretchen must return to her homeland and somehow avoid capture by the Nazi elite. As they work to clear Daniel’s name, they discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and escape in time – or will Hitler find them first?

What did I think?:

Conspiracy Of Blood And Smoke is the second book in the Prisoner Of Night And Fog duology and if you like young adult historical fiction with a strong focus on Germany just prior to World War II, this is definitely the series for you. I’ve always had an interest in that period of history and love to indulge myself in a mixture of fiction and non-fiction so when I thoroughly enjoyed Prisoner Of Night And Fog recently, I was determined to find out what happened to Gretchen and Daniel in the follow up novel. Now, there’s always a worry for me that the second book in a series isn’t going to match the first but luckily Anne Blankman has written another stellar outing for our star-crossed lovers and it was wonderful to be back in Gretchen’s world once more, particularly when she returns to 1930’s Germany. The research the author has done into this period of time shines through in a believable, frightening and super atmospheric story that I devoured in about two sittings.

I’ll try to be kind of vague for those of you that haven’t read the first novel in the series yet but basically all you need to know is that Gretchen, former pet and golden girl of Adolf Hitler is forced to return to Germany with her Jewish boyfriend, Daniel after he receives a telegram in England that makes him worry for his friends and families lives. They return back to Germany in absolute secrecy and in disguise as Daniel is now a wanted criminal and Hitler is obviously very sore at the fact that his former Nazi protégée Gretchen is now in love with a Jewish man. Being discovered would mean certain death for both of our protagonists but they are determined to first of all, clear Daniel’s name for a murder he never committed, and to expose Hitler for the psychopath he is suggested to be to the British authorities before he can have the chance of ruling Germany and starting a war.

This series was recommended to me by my wonderful sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads and I literally jumped at the chance to read it when she told me the synopsis. You might know that I’m not the biggest fan of romance but for some reason, Gretchen and Daniel’s romance just touches my heart. I’m not sure if it was because she was raised by Hitler to hate all Jewish people and when she eventually met Daniel, she realised that Hitler’s propaganda was completely false and incredibly dangerous. I have to say, I am a bit of a sucker for a Romeo/Juliet type love story and this is exactly what this relationship feels like. However, I also adore that the author challenges normal gender stereotypes (especially in 1930’s Britain/Germany) by making our lead female protagonist quite the brave heroine that thinks nothing of risking her own life in order to save Daniel.

Another thing I love about this series is that not everything is tied up with a bow. We know as a reader, there isn’t necessarily going to be a happy ending, we realise from history that Hitler DOES end up becoming Chancellor of Germany and obviously, we understand that World War II did happen and a huge number of people lost their lives. The “bad guy,” cannot be vanquished in this case but Gretchen and Daniel do manage to carry out a great deal of good that alerts certain individuals to exactly how dangerous in fact Hitler really is. This novel feels for me like one big adventure with such fast-paced action that at times it almost left me breathless. Expect the unexpected, suspend your disbelief slightly and just enjoy the evocative world that Anne Blankman has created.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

Conspiracy Of Blood And Smoke by Anne Blankman is the third book in my quest to conquer Mount Everest for the Mount TBR Challenge 2018!