The German House
Author: Annette Hess
Published: December 3, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 2 stars
Set against the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials of 1963, Annette Hess’s international bestseller is a harrowing yet ultimately uplifting coming-of-age story about a young female translator—caught between societal and familial expectations and her unique ability to speak truth to power—as she fights to expose the dark truths of her nation’s past.
If everything your family told you was a lie, how far would you go to uncover the truth?
For twenty-four-year-old Eva Bruhns, World War II is a foggy childhood memory. At the war’s end, Frankfurt was a smoldering ruin, severely damaged by the Allied bombings. But that was two decades ago. Now it is 1963, and the city’s streets, once cratered are smooth and paved. Shiny new stores replace scorched rubble. Eager for her wealthy suitor, Jürgen Schoormann, to propose, Eva dreams of starting a new life away from her parents and sister. But Eva’s plans are turned upside down when a fiery investigator, David Miller, hires her as a translator for a war crimes trial.
As she becomes more deeply involved in the Frankfurt Trials, Eva begins to question her family’s silence on the war and her future. Why do her parents refuse to talk about what happened? What are they hiding? Does she really love Jürgen and will she be happy as a housewife? Though it means going against the wishes of her family and her lover, Eva, propelled by her own conscience , joins a team of fiery prosecutors determined to bring the Nazis to justice—a decision that will help change the present and the past of her nation.
It really hurts my heart that I have to give such a low rating to a book that centers around the Holocaust. The idea was an interesting one but the execution was not good at all. The twist was ok; it was kind of obvious by the time you got there. The characters were bland and not really likable. It seems that Eva and her fiancé are the only ones who don’t realize that they don’t belong together. David Miller, for all his passion, did nothing but hinder the legal fight against the Nazis. And the ending … ugh. There was no resolution. It literally just stopped. It was frustrating and it left a sour taste in my mouth. I really can’t recommend this book to anyone.
Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz
Published: May 11, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 3-15, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written–let alone published–anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.
Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that–a story that absolutely needs to be told.
In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.
As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?
Disclaimer: The two star review does not reflect on the novel or the author, in fact The Plot is good and well written, this is a total preference as the ending of this novel did not work for me and I am conflicted with this novel. This is also not a typical review as most readers have seemed to really enjoy The Plot.
The Plot is character driven and our focus is on Jacob Finch Bonner. He had written a well-received first novel, but then has become for the most part forgotten and he is teaching a MFA program and is also struggling. While teaching he comes across cocky student Evan Parker who tells Bonner that he has THE idea for a book and said book will bring him everything he will ever need and want. Parker does tell Bonner the plot and it is quite the unexpected plot. Bonner knows that in fact that Evan is correct in his assumption that this will become THE NOVEL.
Several years later Parker’s novel still has not been written and Bonner finds out that his former student has passed away. Bonner decides to write the novel that Parker planned to and yes, it is beyond successful with a forth coming movie. But during all this Bonner begins to receive messages and being trolled that he is a thief. Bonner goes on an quest of sorts to find out what is actually going on and learns about Parker’s family and that fiction may actually come from fact.
I did like that we actually got snippets of this novel Bonner wrote titled Crib throughout the story, in essence getting a novel within a novel. I liked Bonner in spite of his many secrets and enjoyed going on this journey with him despite figuring out who the said troll was about halfway through my reading.
What I did not like was the ending and the epilogue: (BEGIN SPOILER) It was very frustrating for me in that the troll gets away with what they did. I wanted said bad guy to get caught. (END SPOILER).
I wanted to throw the book when I was finished with it. That being said, yes, Jean Hanff Korelitz did write a very good novel where the ending was not for me. Do I regret reading The Plot? No. In fact despite not enjoying the ending I would recommend it for others to read. Would I read The Plot again? No.
Many thanks to the publisher Celadon Books for sending me an arc to read and review.[Top]
The Stars We Steal
Author: Alexa Donne
Published: February 4, 200
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 2 stars
Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?
But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets
Ok, to be fair, I had an idea of what this book was going to be when I started reading. Beccie from Bookies wanted to do a read-a-long, so I read it. All the YA tropes you can find were put in this book. A bunch of idiot teenagers with very few responsible adults on a space ship orbiting earth, all trying to find arranged marriages for mutual benefits, multiple love triangles, and admittedly, some pretty good fashion. But no aliens, it would have been so much better with aliens.
Some people like those tropes, so fine, if you do, then you’ll probably like this book. My main issue with it was the ending. Donne took the lazy way out and didn’t even resolve the story. A happy ending was hinted at, but she tried to hide it all behind an open ending that just left the story incomplete. It was just a cringey read and I can’t even say that I enjoyed it. I think I’ll stay away from YA for a while. I’ll finish off on a positive note and say that the cover is gorgeous! So don’t read it, just stare at the cover.