Last year I read a few WW2 novels and I really enjoyed them. It is a genre that I have always quite enjoyed from reading Carrie’s War and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas to more recently Salt to the Sea and The Book Thief. Today I thought I would share some of the WW2 books that are on my TBR.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry- I really enjoyed The Giver by Lois Lowry and this won a Newbery Medal so I have a feeling that it is going to be really good. Annemarie’s friend moves into her house and pretends to be part of the family so that she is not taken away by the Nazis. This sounds like it is going to be a really emotional read.
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein- I wasn’t sure whether to keep this one on my TBR as I wasn’t a huge fan of Code Name Verity but I decided that I would still like to give this one a go. Rose is a pilot that is captured and sent to a concentration camp. I am hoping that I will like this book more than her other book.
The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow- Lily makes a terrible mistake during the war and has to learn to live with the choice that she made.
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult- I really like Jodi’s writing and I think that she is really good at making an impact with her work. Sage starts spending time with an old man but is shocked when he tells her that he was a Nazi officer and he wants her to kill him. I think that this is going to be an excellent read and I can’t wait to check it out.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys- Salt to the Sea was one of my favourite reads of 2016 so I really need to check out her other book that is set during WW2. The main character is sent to a camp in Siberia and I think that this is going to be another fantastic book from Ruta.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr- I have been recommended this book quite a lot and I really need to get around to reading it. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015 so I am expecting great things.
Do you have any WW2 fiction recommendations?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book is set in WW2 Germany and follows a young girl called Liesel. Liesel steals books and with the help of her father, she learns to read them. During air raids, she reads to her neighbours and the Jewish man that her family is hiding in their basement.
I thought this book was fantastic and it was one of my favourite reads of 2016. I thought that using Death as the narrator was a really interesting and unique idea. When I started I wasn’t sure if it was going to work but I think it worked really well and I think that it made the story have more of an impact. Death spoils parts of the story by telling you who is going to die but this did not make the deaths any less important. I still found it emotional despite knowing that they were going to die. I thought that this was a really well-written book that had a lot of powerful and emotional moments. The ending was particularly heartbreaking. I really liked the characters in this book and I quickly grew attached to them particularly Max and Liesel. All of the characters are unique and over time you grow attached to them even though you know that some of them are going to die. I really liked the relationship between Hans and Liesel. We don’t often get to see good family relationships but I really like the bond between them. Overall I thought that this was an excellent read and I would strongly suggest that you check this out if you haven’t read it already.
The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne
Pierrot becomes orphaned and has to go and live with his aunt who is a servant for a wealthy family. What Pierrot doesn’t know is that the house belongs to Adolf Hitler. Hitler takes an interest in Pierrot and takes him under his wing.
I picked up this book because I read John’s other WW2 book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (TBITSP) and I thought that it was really good. This book was good but I don’t think that it was as good as TBITSP. The idea for this book was quite unique and unlike any other WW2 novel that I have read. Pierrot is not a very likeable character and I think that this was done intentionally by the author. At the start of the book, he is a young child and is very innocent. As the novel progresses we get to see the change in his character as he becomes cruel and power hungry. I thought that the author did a really good job at showing how easy it is for people to be manipulated particularly, children. I think that this is a very important read as although it is set during WW2 the idea of people being manipulated by people in power to do horrible things is still relevant today. Despite being aimed at children I think that this could be read by all ages and everyone can learn something from it. This is a very quick read and I read it in one setting. I would recommend this book if you are looking to read more WW2 fiction or you want an introduction to the genre.
Actual rating: 3.5
To celebrate the release date of The Witch’s Tears by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr I thought I would write a review for the first and second book in this series. At this moment this is going to be a trilogy and I can’t wait for the conclusion. I was lucky enough to receive copies of these books from Net Galley. To avoid spoilers I will be giving a brief summary of book one and then I will be sharing my overall thoughts for both of the books.
Merry is a typical teenager apart from the fact that she is a witch and it is her destiny to stop the King of Hearts who was created many years ago by an evil wizard.
The Witch’s Kiss by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr
From the start, this book drew me in. We slowly get to learn more about the King of Hearts and why he was created. I found this really interesting and I enjoyed seeing glimpses of the past. I thought that this book was really well paced and I couldn’t put it down. I just needed to know if Merry was going to be able to defeat the King of Hearts. Something that I really enjoyed seeing in this book was the relationship that Merry had with her brother. They had a really strong sibling relationship and it was really refreshing to see this as I feel that YA books are really lacking in good sibling relationships.
The Witch’s Tears by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr
I thought that this was a really good sequel. I was a little bit worried at the start that I wasn’t going to enjoy this one as much. It took me a bit longer to get into this book compared to the first one. There was so much action that happened in the last part of the book that it had me on the edge of my seat. Although I had predicted who the bad guy was I was not expecting that ending. I can’t believe the cliffhanger that this book ends on I desperately need the next book as I need to know what is going to happen.
If you haven’t picked up the fist book yet I would highly recommend it as I really enjoyed reading it. Plus on a side note, the covers for these books are beautiful.
This week we are sharing our Top 5 favourite underrated books. There are a lot of books that are always talked about but this week I want to share with you some books that you may not have heard about. If you want to check out the Goodreads group then the link is here.
The Witch’s Kiss by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr
This book follows a teenager who discovers that she is a witch and it is her destiny to destroy the King of Hearts. I found this story to be really gripping and I was hooked right from the start. I really enjoyed learning about the curse and I liked how we got to see the past. The sequel comes out on the 2nd February and I can tell you that it is just as good as the first one.
A Thousand Salt Kisses by Josie Demuth
If you are a fan of mermaids and romance then this is the book for you. I really like reading about mermaids but I haven’t found that many books about them so when I saw this one I was really excited. This is such a fun read about a summer romance between a human and a mermaid.
The Sound of Us by Julie Hammerle
This is a perfect summery read. It is set at a music camp which has very strict rules. I love this type of setting as summer camps aren’t really a thing in the UK so it’s always fun to read about something a bit different. There was also a really cute romance in this book.
The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse
I love retellings and I thought that this was an excellent Peter Pan retelling. I thought that the author captured the essence of Peter Pan’s character whilst putting her own twist on the story. I loved her descriptions of Neverland and her writing was really enjoyable as it had a poetic feel to it. I am really excited for the sequel that comes out this year.
Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley
I am a huge fan of historical fiction particularly when it is set during the Tudor period. This story follows Eliza who is a maid to Anne of Cleves and we get to see the rise of Katharine Howard. Lucy Worsley is the Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces so she is really passionate about history and that shows in her writing. This was her first step into fiction and I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to her next book which is about Queen Victoria.
Which books did you pick for your list?
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This novel follows two girls during World War Two. A British plane crashes and one of the girls is captured by the Gestapo. As a spy Verity is in a difficult situation she is given the choice of revealing her mission or being executed. Verity tells the tale of how she and Maddie became friends and why she left Maddie in the plane crash.
I was really disappointed with this book. After reading Salt to the Sea I really wanted to read more WW2 fiction and I had heard so many good things about this book. I took me a really long time to get into this book. It took me well over 200 pages to really get into this book. This book has two POVs and I found the first part really slow and difficult to get through. The second part which was Maddie’s POV I found much more interesting and didn’t struggle through it quite as much. I thought that the plot twist was really well done and I wasn’t expecting it. There were some heartbreaking moments in this book but unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as I was expecting to. Despite not loving this book I really enjoyed the friendship element in this book which is something that you don’t see a lot in WW2 fiction.
I received a copy via Net Galley.
Steffi is a selective mute and struggles with anxiety. Rhys is deaf. Steffi has spent most of her time at school silent but with Rhys, she finds that she is able to talk.
I thought that this book was excellent. Whilst the plot is quite simple as it is a love story between two teenagers. I really enjoyed the addition to the plot that they have difficulties communicating with others but they find a way to communicate with one another. I thought that the author did a fantastic job in portraying these characters. I felt that the characters and their situations felt very real. I think that the author did really well at showing how simple tasks can become difficult for people with anxiety. The majority of us take these things for granted so I liked that the author was able to open my eyes to this. I thought that Sara showed Steffi’s progress in a really realistic way. She started out by doing small things which were really big achievements some books make the recovery process seem like a magical thing that happens overnight but this book didn’t do that which I feel is much more realistic. I also really appreciated that whilst there was a relationship the author emphasised that Steffi’s progress was because of her and not Rhys. Steffi was probably my main character at times I found Rhys to be a little annoying. I also really liked the side characters. I loved Steffi’s friendship with Tem and I enjoyed seeing a positive family relationship with her parents. I thought that the relationship between Steffi and Rhys felt very realistic. It felt like a first relationship between two teenagers, I find that in many YA books the authors tend to portray the characters as being older which makes it feel unrealistic.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend that you check this book out.