Month: December 2017

Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II

Author: Alan Gratz
320 Pages
Published: October 11, 2016

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars

Description from Amazon:

Infiltrate. Befriend. Sabotage.

World War II is raging. Michael O’Shaunessey, originally from Ireland, now lives in Nazi Germany with his parents. Like the other boys in his school, Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth. But Michael has a secret. He and his parents are spies. Michael despises everything the Nazis stand for. But he joins in the Hitler Youth’s horrific games and book burnings, playing the part so he can gain insider knowledge. When Michael learns about Projekt 1065, a secret Nazi war mission, things get even more complicated. He must prove his loyalty to the Hitler Youth at all costs — even if it means risking everything he cares about. Including… his own life.

Kim’s Review:

Loved this book so much! This is the kind of book that I would put on every teachers’ book shelf! History is never black and white. It’s usually very messy, especially during times of war and this book captures that perfectly! Michael has to come to terms with the fact that although he is helping the Allied war effort with all the information he is able to collect, he can’t help the Jew who is being beaten to a pulp right in front of him. It’s the perfect case of “the good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one.” And as Michael grows and matures all within the confines of Nazi Germany and the Hitler Youth, he also has to watch the boy that he protected and helped, turn into a monster. Gratz has figured out how to show the humanity of both sides of WW2. The men and women who history remembers as Nazi drones, following Hitler like he was the new Messiah, were all actually just people. People who were caught up in a fervor not their own, yet embraced with passion. As I said with Gratz’s other book, Prisoner B-3087, although Projekt 1065 is fiction, I would put it into the hands of any teenager to help them learn from and understand history. It is not a complicated read, I read it in one day, yet I enjoyed it so much! I would absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for a book about WW2, for any history teacher, and for any teen.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Jacob T. Marley

Author: R. William Bennett
Published: October 12, 2011
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 12-16, 2017
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

“Marley was dead to begin with . . .”

These chillingly familiar words begin the classic Christmas tale of remorse and redemption in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Now R. William Bennett rewinds the story and focuses the spotlight on Scrooge’s miserly business partner, Jacob T. Marley, who was allowed to return as a ghost to warn Scrooge away from his ill-fated path. Why was Marley allowed to return? And why hadn’t he been given the same chance as Ebenezer Scrooge?

Or had he?

Written with a voice reminiscent of Dickens, Jacob T. Marley is a masterfully crafted story of remorse and redemption, sure to become a Christmas favorite.

Jessica’s Review:

I don’t know if this was because this story was new to me but it affected me more than A Christmas Carol. We all know about Scrooge but what about Marley? What was his life like? Why did Scrooge get a chance at redemption and Marley did not? Or did he?  We find out about Marley and how he and Scrooge met. They are perfect for each other. They are two peas in a pod.

We get to experience part of A Christmas Carol through this novel as we see the events occur through Marley.  We also learn what happens to Scrooge after everything is said and done.  This could be another reason I like this story more than a Christmas Carol. There is a completeness to it. I listened to this on audio after A Christmas Carol and I think that is how it should be read. Experience A Christmas Carol first then Jacob T. Marley for the complete story.

Jacob T. Marley is recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

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Merry Christmas! A Christmas Carol Double Review

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope today is a wonderful day for you. Whether you are spending time with friends and/or family, or are having to work, it is hard to believe that this year is almost over. I am in the middle of a four day weekend and hope to make the most of it.  These last few days of the year will go by quickly.  2017 has been a difficult year for many, myself included and 2018 will continue to have challenges.  I hope these challenges ends quickly and positively with things going back to normal. Until then I have this site and all of you!  For 2018, I’m hoping to get caught up on my reading and reviewing…..  It’s never ending though!  If only I could do this full time! I hope to get more books in to share my thoughts on with all of you!

I hope you all enjoy this site as Kim and I love doing it. It may not have the hugest following and that is fine by us. We run this site out of love of books and reading. Yes, we are total book dragons!!!

I hope Santa brings you some books to enjoy reading!! To celebrate Christmas Kim and I are sharing a double review of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which will be below.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This year has been one of the best so far for me! A big thanks to Jessica for letting me write for her blog. Allowing me to be a guest reviewer has helped me to grow as a reader and as a writer, and I enjoy reading more now since I get to really think about the books and put my thoughts down on paper.  So far, I have read 157 books since January of this year. There have been so many amazing books and I wish I could say a personal thank you to each of those great authors who impacted my life so much! But that’s unrealistic, so I’ll just say a blanket thank you to all those authors out there. I found many new favorite books, several books that were different genres for me, some books I didn’t like, and a whole lot of newly discovered friends. Instagram has become a huge part of my life and I now get to think of myself as a big, bad book photographer (think, not know! Lol)

I try not to set too many strict goals for myself, but in 2018, I want to read all those series that I keep putting off because of my fear of commitment. I also have one New Year’s Resolution: I will only buy one book for every five that I read. My TBR pile is way too big and I keep buying more and more books to add to it. So, 2018 will see a cut back in the number of books I buy . . . unless I pick a bunch of short books to read, in which case I’ll still be getting a lot of books. LOOPHOLE! I hope y’all had a great year with lots of time to read, a Merry Christmas, and an awesome New Year!

Kim


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Performed by Tim Curry)

Originally Published: December 19, 1843
Audiobook

Description from Amazon:

Tim Curry performs this timeless holiday story in a deliciously dark tone, returning it to its Dickensian roots with a vivid imagining of Victorian London and just the right touch of outrageous fun. A Christmas Carol has constantly been in print since its original publication in 1849, and has been adapted for stage, television, film, and opera. It has often been credited with returning the jovial and festive atmosphere to the holiday season in Britain and North America, following the somber period that emerged during the Industrial Revolution. The story opens on a bleak and cold Christmas Eve as Ebenezer Scrooge is closing up his office for the day. As the story progresses and Christmas morning approaches, Scrooge encounters the unforgettable characters that make this story a classic: Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and, of course, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

Kim’s Review:
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars

What is there to say about this timeless Christmas classic? All the different movies and dramatic adaptations can never do justice to the original book. I’ve seen scary versions in cartoon and live action form, but the book holds a creepiness that cannot be replicated accurately. It’s been a while since I’ve read, or in this case listened to, A Christmas Carol and it might just be my new Christmas tradition. Tim Curry only adds to the experience! We’ve all seen Tim Curry in everything from Annie to Home Alone 2 to Criminal Minds, and his voice lends such credence to the story that you really believe Scrooge and the ghosts are all truly speaking their parts.

Scrooge is the typical cynic who cares for nothing other than his own monetary gain. He’s the man you love to hate and pity at the same time. How a man can act the way he did in the presence of Fred’s good nature, I’ll never understand. Fred’s spirit of joy and cheer is nothing short of inspiring. Bob Cratchit’s quiet patience impressed me during this reading, as he hasn’t before. I’ve had nasty bosses before, but Bob’s soft nature and peaceful spirit is something I can only aspire to possess. Reading of the Ghost of Christmas Present’s torch that spreads good cheer made me so happy! 😊 I love Christmas and thinking that an angel-like being is standing guard of days like Christmas brings a smile to my face. And then Scrooge, his amazing transformation was a joy to behold. When Mr. Curry read that Scrooge knew how to keep Christmas well, I began to tear up . . . while I was driving! This is the perfect Christmas story to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas and the necessity of selflessness and kindness throughout the year!


Jessica’s Review:
Dates Read: December 6-12, 2017
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

We all know the story and grew up with it in one form or the other. For me it was the Disney animated movie. I had never read the short story and I had the opportunity to listen to Tim Curry narrate the original and he is brilliant! He was the perfect narrator for this story.

Scrooge and Marley run a business in a partnership.  Marley has already passed away before Christmas Carol began.  Scrooge is just that, a penny pinching grumpy old man. One night Marley’s ghost visits Scrooge as a warning to change things. He is visited by three ghosts.  Will Scrooge see what he needs to see and make things right before it is too late?

I had some difficulty with the writing style, Dickens prose style may not be for me. I might have gotten lost if I did not know the story.  Even with Curry’s narration I found myself tuning out.  Classics just may not be for me.

There are lessons in this story that everyone should see.  Think about what you do before you act. Be kind. Don’t be selfish and grumpy. Remember the importance of Christmas.

There is no Bah Humbug here!  A Christmas Carol is recommended.

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