Tag: YA

Sweet Madness

Authors: Trisha Leaver  and Lindsay Currie
Published: August 7, 2015
226 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

Sad young woman … or cold-blooded killer?

On a steaming August day in 1892, a sweet-faced, young woman in Fall River, Massachusetts stepped from a naive girlhood into a dark legend that has lasted for more than a hundred years. On that day, Andrew Borden, a prosperous businessman, was found hacked to death in his parlor. Upstairs, police find his wife, Abbey — just as dead. Andrew’s youngest daughter, Lizzie, was charged with the murders, sending shock-waves through the nation. A jury found her not guilty, for no one saw a thing and there wasn’t a single real clue. Still, as this captivating realistic novel suggests, someone may have known the truth.

Told through the eyes of Lizzie’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan, who may have been Lizzie’s only true friend, Sweet Madness tells of a cruel, penny-pinching father who had plenty of enemies, an ambitious second wife, a distant older sister and Lizzie, a trusting and kind soul who grew more unstable by the day. A carefully researched account from a bystander who was once a prime suspect, Sweet Madness will give you a look into the doomed house on Second Street and a deeper understanding of one of history’s saddest and most controversial crimes.

Kim’s Review:

I really liked this book and read it in almost one sitting. It kept me engaged and anticipating what the next page would say. Bridget was a realistic and likeable voice and I think she was the perfect narrator for the story. The authors captured the offness of the Borden house and of the Bordens themselves. I thought I knew the story of Lizzie Borden before I started reading, but the authors took the mystery surrounding the murders and molded it into a twisting and believable theory. The only critique I would give is that I wish the epilogue gave a little more info on Lizzie’s trial. I had to look up what the results of the trial were, even though the info was hinted at in the book. I just felt that I needed a little bit more. Other than that, the story was awesome. I didn’t want to put the book down. You felt every moment of tension, frustration, and fear right along with Bridget, Mr. and Mrs. Borden, and Lizzie. It amazed me the difference I could feel at specific times in the book. My stomach would literally lock up at the tension. This would be a great read for anyone looking for an easy mystery, especially those who enjoy cold cases. It’s on the shorter side so it doesn’t take long to get through. I absolutely recommend this book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Last Harvest

Author: Kim Liggett
Published: January 10, 2017
304 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

“I plead the blood.” Those were the last words seventeen-year-old golden boy quarterback Clay Tate heard rattling from his dad’s throat when he discovered him dying on the barn floor of the Neely cattle ranch, clutching a crucifix to his chest. Now, on the first anniversary of the Midland, Oklahoma, slaughter, the whole town’s looking at Clay like he might be next to go over the edge. Clay wants to forget the past, but the sons and daughters of the Preservation Society―a group of prominent farmers his dad accused of devil worship―won’t leave him alone. Including Ali, his longtime crush, who suddenly wants to reignite their romance after a year of silence, and hated rival Tyler Neely, who’s behaving like they’re old friends. Even as Clay tries to reassure himself, creepy glances turn to sinister stares and strange coincidences build to gruesome rituals―but when he can never prove that any of it happened, Clay worries he might be following his dad down the path to insanity…or that something far more terrifying lies in wait around the corner.

Kim’s Review:

Holy. Crap. I read this book in one day and even ended up having to delay dinner because I was so engrossed. At one point, I was reading it in the middle of the night while Ivan was a work, and I ended up having to text him to get some reassurance because I was so freaked out! I seriously loved this book so much! The characters were all believable and likeable and without that annoying teenage drama.

Liggett spun this web of conspiracy and evil and demons and led me all over that dang wheat field before I realized where the heck I was and how the story was going to end. And the ending? Dude, I’m still processing. I’m not one for re-reading books as soon as I finish them, that’s my mother-in-law . . . but that’s exactly what I wanted to do after I finished this book. Not sure I want to visit Oklahoma now . . . I’m just kidding, who wants to go with me?? 😊 This is definitely not the book for younger readers, there are some adult themes and a little language. But this is the perfect book for that teenager who loves the creepy and weird! I would recommend this to anybody looking for a scary read! 5 stars!!!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Librarian of Auschwitz

Author: Antonio Iturbe
424 Pages
Published: October 10, 2017

Reviewed By: Kim
XXX’s Rating: 5 Stars

Description from Amazon:

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust. Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz. Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

Kim’s Review:

First book of 2018!!! And why I decided to pick a book that would pull my heart out of my chest and stomp on it, I’ll never know! I got this book for Christmas and I couldn’t wait to pick it up. The cover is gorgeous, its based on a true story, and its all about books. As much as I’ve studied the Holocaust and Auschwitz, I don’t think I’ve ever read about the family camp or the children’s school. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve read an account of day to day life in Auschwitz, other than the constant stream into the gas chambers. This book does a great job of capturing the feelings of the prisoners. In other accounts, it seems that all you can feel is the fear and despair. But in The Librarian, there’s a sense of hope that never seems to be extinguished.

Dr. Mengele could easily fit in as the villain in any horror story and be completely believable and terror-inducing. Yet Dita refuses to be cowed. Fredy, instead of looking out for his own interests and well-being like most leaders of that time did, successfully ran a school for hundreds of kids, in the middle of the most deadly extermination camp the Nazis ever set up! How our youth of today manage to “survive” in this world of mean, offensive people, I’ll never know! *cough*sarcasm*cough*

There were so many feelings in this book! I was inspired, heartbroken, excited, scared, frustrated, angry . . . I thought I was going to burst. This is another fiction book that reads like non-fiction. Iturbe researched extensively and spent a lot of time with Dita before writing. The Postscript was actually my favorite part of the whole book because it was wonderful to hear about what kind of person Dita grew up to be. Pretty sure she is my new hero and will remain in that position forever!

I would save this for slightly older teens, keep it in high school classrooms and libraries. But every single high school history teacher should have this book on their shelves. I absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, history, or just an inspiring story. I would also suggest that every single high schooler read this book. An easy 5 stars! “Books are extremely dangerous; they make people think.”

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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