Reviewing two great World War II fiction novels

The Girl In the Blue Coat

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person – a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action. 


This is quite the page turner, I quickly become invested and ended up flying through this. The mystery was engossing, but there was many other layers to this novel, it’s about Hanneke dealing with the loss of her first love, about the hardship of war , tough decisions and courage. I never knew what to expect, and found that things were rarely as they seemed. Nothing was simple, but thankfully everything mostly made sense. The ending was the only thing that didn’t entirely add up, it was awfully coincidental.

It seemed like the author did a lot of research and worked hard to make this historically accurate. She did a wonderful job of making everything (other than the ending) seem plausible. There was lots of details, about the culture, the city, and the war, that made this an immersive read. This transported me to Amsterdam making me feel like I was there, watching it all play out. The story was very well woven together and beautifully written.

Flygirl

Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy’s gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her.

When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women Airforce Service Pilots – and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won’t accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of “passing,” of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one’s racial heritage, denying one’s family, denying one’s self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be.


This was exactly what I wanted it to be, I bought it hoping for a engaging and empowering story and that’s what I got. I loved reading and learning about the WASP, and I loved the characters. Ida Mae made for a darling protagonist, her story was compelling, and even though it isn’t a true story the author made it feel like it could have been. I loved the other characters as well, and the friendships Ida forms it has a great depiction of female friendship and girls supporting each other.

This is a immensely underrated novel, I really don’t get why it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s thought proving , well written and at just 288 pages it’s easy to fly through. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it’s one of the most satisfying books I’ve read in awhile. If your interested in reading about the roles women played in World War II, or simply enjoy stories about courageous girls you should consider reading this.

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A few of my favorite series from childhood

The American girl series

My sister owned a few of these and I ended up reading most of the books that were out at the time. My favorite girls were Samantha, Molly and Kit. Samantha and Kit were tied as my favorites. I really liked Kit as a character, I loved that she loved to write and was an aspiring journalist. I liked the time period of Samantha’s books, there set in 1904, my favorite era to read about.

I watched all the American Girl films, after reading the books and I remember them being pretty good! I also joined a American Girl book club at school, the first and so far only book club I’ve been a part of. It was really fun, we would read a few chapters discuss them each week, and do a craft inspired by the story.

The American girl books are full of girl power, and there really fantastic books for young girls so grow up on. They taught me about what it was like to grow up in a different time period, and I found characters who I could relate to, even though their story was set decades before mine.

The Little House books

I must’ve reread these at least ten times over the years. Well skimmed through them ten times, I usually just reread my favorite parts from each book. I only completely reread my favorite books in the series, which are The Long Winter, and Little Town on the Prairie. 

These books are great adventures, I like the later ones best when the Ingalls are settled in one place. I really enjoy Those Happy Golden Years for Laura’s adventures in teaching, but The Long Winter is the best book in the series.

The Spiderwick Chronicles

These books were actually bought for my little brother, I don’t remember if he even read them, I ended up reading and adoring this series. I become immersed in the world, the world building for this series is on point and magic is seamlessly woven into our world. These books are packed full of magical creatures.

I read these when I was in huge fairy phases (a phase I’ve never really grown out of) it was the perfect series for me to read at the time. This series is fun and magical, I got swept away by the story. I should read more of Holly Black’s books since I have enjoyed every book I’ve read by her.

What are some of your favorite books from when you were little? Have you read any of these? 

So many books to read!

Summer has already begun so this summer tbr is definitely late, and I doubt I’ll even get to all these books. We are over halfway through the year and there’s still so many books I want to get to before it’s over. I would like to do a lot of reading in July and get to books that I should have read a while ago. I’m trying to read as much as possible before I go off to college in August. I have been feeling very motivated to read so hopefully I’ll continue to be in a reading mood. There’s eight books on this list so I guess well just have to see how many I end up getting to.

Classics:
  • Jane Eyre: I think it’s time I try and read some classics I’ve read hardly any this is a favorite book for many and I think I might really enjoy it.
  • Anne of Green Gables: I’m am pretty positive I’m going to like this one, it just sounds lovely and like something I’ll enjoy.
  • Little Women: I really doubt I’ll get to this one anytime soon, but it is a classic I feel I should read so hopefully I’ll at least get to it before the end of the year
Contemporary:
  • Speak the graphic novel: I read Speak a few years ago and when I saw the gorgeous graphic novel I knew I had to read it again in it’s new format. This book is as old as me it came out the year I was born, and has been a pivotal YA book that I’m really exited to revisit. I just odored this ans it should be coming in the mail very soon!
  • Moxie: I love the concept of this it sounds like it will be a really empowering read about girls uniting together. I’m always exited to read books about girls supporting girls, there’s not enough of them.
  • Eliza and her Monsters: This like Moxie sounds like something I’m going to love. I always enjoy books about fandom, so a book featuring a main character who is the creator of a popular online web comic sounds right up my ally.
Historical fiction:
  • The Book Thief: I know I should have read this forever ago, but I have been intimidated by its length, and all the hype, but I’m finally going to read it. This is like the third time I’ve put The Book Thief on a tbr I’m really hoping it’s also the last.
  • Under a Painted Sky: I bought this one a few months ago, when I decided I wanted to start reading more historical fiction, it’s another one that’s been on my tbr forever and that it’s past time I get to.

I’m thinking about having a self hosted readathon, like dedicate a day to nothing but reading. Or maybe a whole weekend, I want o read all the books , so I want to set aside some time to get a lot of reading done.

How do you stay motivated to read? Do readathons help you to read more? Have you read any of these books?

Reading update #3

It’s time for another reading update, this time around I have a wide range a books to talk about. I thought i would read mostly cute summer reads, but so far this summer I have been in the mood for all sorts of genre’s. I’ve read a lot of goods books so far this year.

Books I’ve finished recently

  • Children of Blood and Bone: this is has to be one of my favorite books I’ve read this year, and one of the best fantasy’s I’ve ever read. I loved pretty much all of it, I was so impressed by the magic system and world building. Full review.
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl vol 7: This is not the volume I’m on ,but I decided to buy and read it anyway. It stands on its own like most of the volumes so is was fine, this has a special zine issue that is amazing. It’s partly why I bought it.
  • Since You’ve been Gone: I finally read this after wanting to for years, and owning it over a year, and I loved it. It was the perfect first read of summer, it had everything I could want in a contemporary, friendship, romance, adventure and a girl figuring out who she is.
  • Love and Gelato: another cute summer contemporary that I adored. It made me want to go to Florence and eat all the gelato. The story was a bit predictable, but I did really enjoy it, I loved the descriptions of Florence and the heartwarming family moments.
  • Flygirl: I loved this, it might also end up on my list of 2018 favorites. It has an engaging thoughtful story, with good characters and writing. It’s well researched, and underrated, anyone looking for empowering stories with strong heroines should read this. 
  • Radio & Siren: the final two books in the wonderful Vinyl trilogy, these books are hidden gems. I have a review here for the entire trilogy, if you want to know my full thoughts.
  • Amulet book 1 The Stone Keeper: The art is this is absolutely beautiful, the story compelling and imaginative. I’m exited for the rest of the series.
  • Six of Crows audio book: It was high time I reread this, I really enjoyed listing to the audio book all the narrators did an amazing job and fit each character remarkably well. I will have a post up soon with all my thoughts, on my rereading experience.

Current reads

  • Crooked Kingdom: I’m only two hours in and of course loving it, this is my favorite book in the series and possibly my all time favorite fantasy book.
  • Labyrinth Lost: I started this to have something to read in between listing to my audio book, but I’m starting to favor it, and don’t think it will take me long to finish it. I really like the writing style, it’s engaging and keeps me flipping the pages. I’m thirty percent through, so I can definitely finish it this weekend.

What are you currently reading? Have you read any of these books?

Narrowing down my TBR

As I write this my Goodreads TBR is 182 it might still seem large to some but this is the lowest it’s been in a long time, in years. I have been going through my TBR a lot recently and I think I’m finally done narrowing it down. I got less and less picky each time I went through it today when I started it was around 230. I decided that there was no way I was going to read all of 230 of those books. Many of them have been on there for years it was definitely time to acknowledg that I’m never going to read them. I thought it would be fun to go through what made me decide to keep or get rid of a book, and share some of the notable books I kept and removed.

What I kept
  • Fairytales and retellings: My love of fairytales is the one constant in my reading tastes I will never grow tired of them. If someone says a book reads like a fairytale or is inspired by them then I immediately add it to my TBR. Examples: The Shadow Queen, Tiger Lily, The Forbidden Wish.
  • Historical fiction: I have really been in the mood for Historical fiction so therefore all the ones on my TBR are staying put. They all sound appealing so I will definitely be reading some soon. Examples: Under a Painted Sky, Among the Red Stars, Code Name Verity.
  • Must read books: I kept most anything that is widely considered to be something everyone should read. Or that is loved by the entire blogging community like A Darker Shade of Magic. Other examples: The Book Thief, Wonder.
What I got rid of
  • SciFi: I don’t like Sci-fi books I want to like them but I can’t seem to get into the genre. I think the only kept about three that looked to good to remove, hopefully one of them will be the one sci-fi book I actually like. Examples: Red Rising, Ender’s Game, Zenith.
  • Books I couldn’t remember: If it had been on my TBR for a while and I couldn’t remember what it was even about then I removed it. I clearly was not going to read it anytime soon. No examples because I didn’t keep up with what I got rid of and can’t remember exactly.
  • Books I had already tried: There was a few books I had read a few chapters of but never got back to. There’s some I kept because I genuinely want to read but just wasn’t in the mood at the time. The ones I got rid of are mostly hyped books that I don’t think I’m going to pick up again. Examples Walk the Earth A Stranger, Tower of Dawn, Perks of Being a Wallflower.

There are obviously other reasons for keeping or removing a book from a TBR but those are some of the main things. Mostly though I just took off books that no longer interest me and I’m sure a lot of you are going to disagree with my choices, but I think I choose well. There’s simply not enough time to read every book I have to be choosy and not wast time reading bad or okay books. I only have time to read books I love of course there’s no way to know for sure if you like it until you read it and this is why bookworm are forever agonizing over our TBR’s.

Revisiting my first ever book review

I thought it would be fun to share with you the first review I ever wrote and see how I have grown as a reviewer. The first book I ever reviewed is All the Bright Places, I reviewed it on February 17th 2015. That’s almost exactly three years ago it feels like I’ve been reviewing books a lot longer then three years. I will insert my review below for you guys then tell you how my thoughts on the book have changed.


This book is marketed as The Fault in Our Stars meats Eleanor and Park I haven’t read The Fault in are Stars but I have read Eleanor and Park and I see very little similarity’s between the two. I’m getting really tired of the this book meats this book thing, All the Bright Places is perfect for fans of Eleanor and Park but it definitively stands on its own. Its very original the characters were realistic although I would have liked to see more of the minor characters.

Violet had a lot of fantastic character development throughout the novel. Finch is complex and quirky and I loved him I liked his point of view better then Violets. I’m not normally a fan of alternating point of views but this one was very well done the characters both had very distinctive voice, the romance was cute, the last half of the book felt rushed and the ending was predictable but well done. The writing is wonderful and overall this book is thoughtful honest and lovely.


Well I don’t think it’s too bad for a first review but now I would completely cut the first paragraph and go into more detail. I’ve definitely learned to be more critical and how to better explain why I did or didn’t enjoy a book. I am positive that if I were to reread this that I would not enjoy it as much, and I’m sure I wouldn’t call it original. But part of what I adore about reading is that where you are in life can greatly effect how you feel about a book.

When I read All the Bright Places I had just begun to read contemporary and this was the first hard hitting one I ever read. Now I have a lot of books to compare it to and my reading tastes have changed. I originally gave this four stars if I were to read it now I would probably give it three maybe even two. It’s hard to say exactly how I would feel about and I don’t remember it too well. I know though that the book did not stick with me for long like I originally thought it would. I have since read contemporary stories that deal with important topics with a lot more care.

Why I love being a Hufflepuff 

Today is September 1st which means, as every Harry Potter fan knows, it’s time to go back to Hogwarts. To celebrate this important and magical day I’m going talk about why I’m proud to be a Hufflepuff.

Hufflepuff doesn’t have a particular aptitude like the other houses to some this means we’re lame, but really it means Hufflepuff is the most inclusive house. Helga Hufflepuff didn’t care about whether or not your a pure blood or a muggle born. According to the sorting hat when the founders were discussing who to accept Helga said “I’ll teach the lot, And treat them just the same.” Helga Hufflepuff sounds like a great lady, she’s probably the best person out of all the founders.

Some don’t like that Hufflepuff takes all the rest and see it as Hufflepuff taking the rejects. Hufflepuff does take the oddballs and I think that’s grand. I love being a Hufflepuff because it takes all the rest, Hufflepuff house is for the people who don’t fit in, for ordinary people who are kind and hardworking. Hufflepuffs are friendly and dedicated. We might not be the smartest the bravest, or the most astute but we are extremely nice, and that does count for something. It counts for a lot actually.

I want to see more Hufflepuff hero’s I want more Newt Scamander’s, more characters whose biggest strength is their compassion and thoughtfulness. Characters like Newt who are quirky, kind and sensitive are usually the side kicks I was glad to see one in the spotlight. It’s time Hufflepuffs become the heroes of more books and movies. It’s time for us Hufflepuff’s to get more representation, and more recognition. Hufflepuff is the best house, and if your in it you should be proud. And if you’re not you should want to have a Hufflepuff as a friend.

I’ll leave you with this quote and a reminder that J.K Rowling once said Hufflepuff was her favorite house and that we should all want to be Hufflepuff’s. And I agree we should who wouldn’t want to be in a house that accepts everyone and treats them all fairly. Plus we have a badger as a mascot, badgers are great. #badgerpride

“You might belong in Hufflepuff,

Where they are just and loyal,

Those patient Hufflepuffs are true,

And unafraid of toil.”

How and why contemporary YA has become my favorite genre

I used to say that YA fantasy was my favorite genre but I recently realized that I now love YA contemporary’s just as much as YA fantasy I used to read primary fantasy and even now that I read a wider rang of genres its still half of what I read, when I first started reading fantasy books are what was primary available to me. Fantasy and dysopian were the two most popular genres when I got into reading and didn’t know what books existed outside off what my sister was reading and what was becoming a movie. Even when I started to learn about all the books out there and knew off a lot of contemporary books I still didn’t read them mostly because I thought they were all supper sappy or sad or at least all the ones I knew of seemed to be one of those things. The first contemporary that I read was Fangirl I loved it and it’s still one of my favorite books even though I loved Fangirl it was a while before I actively read books in the genre.  Continue reading “How and why contemporary YA has become my favorite genre”

Listy review

A few days ago I logged on to Instagram to find everyone talking about a new app called Listy, Listy is a social media for booknerds its sorta like a mash up of Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads. A ton of bookstagramers are switching to it I made an account but I’m not yet sure if I’m going to be active on it. When I downloaded it I was hoping it would take the place of Instagram since I don’t need another social media and Instagram has been frustrating me, but while Listey might have some cool features it comes with many annoyances. I was have seen a few bloggers do reviews of Listy and I have a lot of thoughts on it I figured I’d do one too. If you want to go into this with a better understanding of Listy then click here to read more about it or download the app.

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What I like about Listy

  • No algorithm: Instagram has a annoying algorithm that often shows you posts from days ago and causes you to mis3s a lot of posts from your favorite accounts. Listy has a chronological algorithm this is the reason many bookstagramers re switching to it.
  • You can put links in your captions: This is a small thing but it makes it way easier to promote blog posts no more saying the link is in my bio.
  • It’s exclusively bookish: I like that everyone on there is booknerd and this means no more random things popping up while I’m browsing bookish tags. I also feel like I’ll have a lot less people follow then imeadietly unfollow since most off the accounts that do that are not bookish ones.
  • Easier to see comments: You have a serrate notification menu for comments on Instagram I often don’t see comments because they get lost in all my other notifications having a separate screen for them is another small thing that makes things easier.

What I don’t like

  • The overall look: I don’t at all like the look of Listy I much prefer Instagram’s clean and simple design, I’m hoping they’l change the look to something better soon. It is fairly new so hopefully they will change the things I don’t like and improve it.
  • It’s not as good as Goodreads: I think it’s intended to be a more social goodreads but it’s not as good, you can’t add multiple shelves you just have the three standard ones, you can’t mark what dates you read a book and it gives you less information about the book. It doesn’t tell you the publisher or let you easily view all the editions of a book, overall it’s harder to use restrictive and not as good as Goodreads
  • Your posts can only be 451 characters long: How can you write a review that’s only 451 characters? I don’t post long reviews but I have Instagram captions that are longer then 451 characters. I can deal with having to write short posts but I would defiantly prefer to be able to have longer c captions.
  • There’s no messaging system. The comment system is better then Instagram but you loose direct messaging, and the stories which is a feature I’ve grown to love. I also don’t see how anything can truly be a social media without a messaging system.

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I really don’t know if I’m going to use Listy much I have the same amount of pros and cons I think I’m going to wait and see if it improves and then depending on what changes I might swich ovover completely from Instagram.  For now I’ll keep posting on Instagram and LiListy but if Listy doesn’t improve in a few months them I’m going to delete it.

What do you think off Listy? Do you have a Listy account, if not are you planning on making one?

My love hate relationship with book adaptations 

When it’s announced that a book is getting adapted into a movie or show I’m always initially excited even if I haven’t read the book, but if I love the book then after a while I usually start to have conflicting opinions. I try to be cautiously optimistic it could be amazing and I do tend to want to see my favorite books on the big screen but it could also be awful.I used to always be exited about book adaptations but then the Divergent movie happened, I was so excited for the Divergent movie and it turned out terrible and now I’m scared that another beloved book will get a bad  movie. Bad adaptations don’t ruin the book, but they do sort of taint they can change your feelings about the books and it’s just not fun to watch something you love get turned into a bad movie. Getting to see your favorite book adapted could be one of the best things ever or the worst it could mean getting to see everything exactly as you pictured it and getting to revisit the story in a new way. It’s as close as you’ll get to reading the book for the first time.

What I love about good adaptations is how they often expand upon stories and add more to the world I think most of the best adaptations aren’t exactly like the book certain things don’t translate well on screen so sometimes the story needs to be altered for the movie be good. I think most people love it when a book they like gets adapted it can turn out so well but I’m not sure the risk of it being bad is worth it. I also think that they don’t always choose the right books to adapt The Selection would make a great movie yet it’s been optioned for like a year and it looks like it isn’t happening and I’m a little sad that I will most likely not be getting a Selection movie. I think it could be a really good movie. I really hope more fluffy and fun YA books start getting adapted I don’t care about dystopian books anymore and I know I lot of people feel the same way but yet there is at least two dystopian books currently being adapted. I want to see books like Anna and the French Kiss and Geekerella on the big screen.

As you can probably tell I have a love hate relationship with book adaptations they could be an experience or an awful one it’s hard to know even trailers don’t help since they can be misleading. It’s really a case by case basis it depends on what the book is, the cast and crew, how much involvement the author had and tons of other things, my excitement for it mainly depends on how important the book is to me. This is where I have conflicting feelings I want my favorite books to be adapted but only if it’s going to be close to perfect, I just don’t want to watch my favorite thing get turned into something bad. I haven’t been exited for a book adaptation in a while mainly because I haven’t read any of the books currently being adapted I should probably change that. Part of me wants Six of Crows to become a show it could be such a good show hopefully it becomes one and has the right people working on it, people who have at least read the books why do some directors of book adaptations not read the books it makes no since to be. Yes I am talking about the directer of the Percy Jackson movie that movie was awful like it’s one of the worst adaptations ever.