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Friday, December 22, 2017

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5
Source: Borrowed

Caroline Ferriday works at the New York French Consulate. Well, she doesn't work there really, she doesn't get paid, but she puts her heart and soul into ensuring the welfare of French immigrants. When Hitler invades Poland and sets his sights on France, her life turns upside down.

Of course, Kasia Kuzmerick's life takes an even worse turn when Hitler invades her home country, but she works with the Polish underground to retain some sense of independence. In a neighborhood surrounded by hopeful Poles and resentful Germans, one slip can lead to death.

Herta Oberheuser sees a sign for a government medical position and recognizes it as a great way to show that she can be as good as a male doctor. Unfortunately, she finds herself stuck in a Nazi camp working with even more dominating males.

All their lives are about to change forever, when Kasia's sent to Ravensbruck, a Nazi women's concentration camp. The world has changed, but Kasia and Caroline are determined not to let them forget the unspeakable tragedies of the War.

Monday, December 18, 2017

IMWAYR- 18/12/2017

Hey guys! I'm linking up with Kathryn @ Book Date to participate in IMWAYR again. I know I'm not very consistent with these posts- but I figured that since I had some things to update you on, I might as well participate. School just ended, so I'm going to have a lot more time to read (and blog!), which is why I'm hoping to be more consistent with these posts. Okay, here goes:

This week I finished reading Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, a fabulous book about World War II. It's the story of 3 ladies (Polish, German and American ) that intertwine into a great novel. Look out for my review soon- and pick up this book!

I also finished reading "Origin" by Dan Brown. The latest installment in his "Robert Langdon" series, this one knocked my socks off! I finished the book in less than 24 hours- not usual for a 400+ pages novel- and desperately wanted more! I should have a review out sometime next week. 

I am currently reading "Third Girl" by Agatha Christie, which is a novel from her famous "Hercule Poirot" series. I'm a huge fan of Christie and was therefore super excited when I came across a Poirot that I hadn't read.

How have your reading weeks been? Let me know in the comments below, or add a link to your post- and I'll be sure to visit your blog. Hope everyone's enjoying their winters (or summers)!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday Snapshot- Peterhoff Palace and Gardens

Hello! I'm back with more pictures from our trip to Russia! Last time, I shared pictures of a ballet we watched in St. Petersburg. This week, I'll be sharing some images of the Peterhoff Palace and Gardens, also in St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the palace, so I'll only be showing you some pictures of the gardens.

I'm participating in Saturday Snapshot, a weekly  meme hosted by Melinda @Westmetromommyreads

It had just begun raining when we took this picture!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

Publication Date: August 15th, 2017
Genre:Young-Adult Contemporary
My Goodreads Rating: 3/5
Source: Own Copy

Emma's life had forever revolved around the actions of her elder sister, Henri. This wasn't some sort of eternal punishment or trap she couldn't escape- Emma simply adored Henri to the extent that she worshiped her every step and molded her life to fit Henri's. While this may seem like an unhealthy relationship to some, Emma and Henri had perfected their routine- sharing a seamless experience together for all their teen years.

Suddenly, after a devastating fight (left a mystery to the audience), the siblings find themselves awash on an island after a boating trip gone wrong, with only a fellow teen to guide them. They must find their way back to each other to find their way home- but with their shattered past, can the sisters shape a new future?

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Snapshot- Ballet in St Petersburg

Hey guys! I'm back with another Saturday Snapshot- I know it's been a while since I posted my last one. Today, I'll be sharing more pictures of my trip to Russia this year. I'm linking up with Melinda @ West Metro Mommy Reads for this post.

Curtain call 

Beautiful theater with stage curtains
Have you ever been to St. Petersburg? Perhaps you're a fan of ballets? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Packaged and shipped, 
To another world entirely,
With the promise of a fonder heart, 
Once she returns 

Can that be promised?
That alleged increase in love?
The absence does not determine love,
Only hinders its natural process 

Return, she does, to a fonder heart,
As well as to broken ties, 
Between relations, unfortunately 
That she can no longer call hers 

What a gamble they take,
For an increase in love,
Love that cannot grow, 
For it was always infinite 

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder",
So they say, but is there truth 
To the saying that does nothing, 
But encourage the gamble?

Gamble, if you must
With the materialistic clutter
That you so often are regaled with

Risk, if you must
The lavish glory of your excess,
That you often revel in

Speculate not,
Of the increase in emotions,
So undefinable, so fleeting

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder"
So they say, but is there truth,
To the saying that encourages,
Both gambles and impoverishment?

-Poem Fanatic 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday Snapshot- Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral

Hey everyone! Today, I'll be starting a new mini-series for Saturday Snapshot*, about our trip to Russia this year. This post has some pictures of the Red Square and St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. We didn't get to see the full square, because Moscow was celebrating its birthday and a large part of it was being used for the festivities.

*This meme is hosted by Melinda @ West Metro Mommy Reads

St. Basil's Cathedral 

A mall near the Red Square 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5
Source: Publisher (Through Edelweiss)

This is the story of three siblings who didn't know they could rely on each other.

Joaquin has been in the foster system for 17 years. He's lived the hard life, trying to rid himself of emotions. Finding out that he's an older brother is not what he needs, specially not when his younger sisters want to bond over their biological mother.

Grace is an only child, adopted at birth- or so she thought. Now she finds out that she's a middle child, in a family that doesn't want to get closer to one another.

Maya is the sarcastic younger sibling, who always thought she was the older child. Adopted at birth by a well-to-do family of red-heads, her younger sister was the miracle birth that came after her adoption.

The siblings struggle to form memorable connections, share secrets with each other, or even communicate like regular siblings. The thing is, there's nothing regular about these siblings- they never even knew they had siblings!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Reading Challenges Update

I only signed up for 3 challenges this year- and unfortunately I'm not doing so well with any of them!

I signed up for the "Travelling the World with Books" Challenge, hosted by Mom's Small Victories. The book encourages you to read books set in different countries. So far, I've read books set in 12 countries.
(All links go back to my reviews)

Mali :
Blood and Ink by Stephen Davies

The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone
Heist Society by Ally Carter
The 12 Dares of Christa by Marissa Burt

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas
Smoke and Ashes by Barbara Rogasky

The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

United States of America:
Back Home by Michelle Magorian
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Escape Artist by Diane Chamberlain
Running Full Tilt by Michael Currinder
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
You're Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardner
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Secret Sisters by Joy Callway
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley
The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby
I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott
Nothing by Annie Barrows
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
The ReadyMade Thief by Augustus Rose
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz
The Shock of the Fall by Nathan File
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Souls of Angels by Thomas Eidson
The 12 Dares of Christa by Marissa Burt

Heist Society by Ally Carter
Smoke and Ashes by Barbara Rogasky

United Kingdom: 
Back Home by Michelle Magorian
The Hollow by Agatha Christie
Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
After the Funeral by Agatha Christie
Heist Society by Ally Carter
The 12 Dares of Christa by Marissa Burt
Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The Bishop's Girl by Rebecca Burns
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
The 12 Dares of Christa by Marissa Burt

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

The Siege by Helen Dunmore

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Heist Society by Ally Carter

I also signed up for the Big Book Challenge at Book by Book. I only finished 4 Big Books this summer. My previous records are 8 and 10 books, but I just couldn't manage that this year.

The last challenge I'm participating in is the Goodreads Reading Challenges- which I'm really behind on! I set a goal to read 80 books and as of this moment, I've only read 49. I'm 9 books behind schedule! Hopefully I'll be able to catch up with my challenge by the end of the year!

Did you guys sign up for any challenges this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The 12 Dares of Christa by Marissa Burt

Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Genre: Middle Grade
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5
Source: Publisher (Through Edelweiss)

Christa loves Christmas. The holiday season is her favorite season of all time- it's just so perfect! Unfortunately, this year, the holidays are stained by her parents separation.

She can't imagine spending the vacations without her father, even when her mom tells her she'll be joining her on a trip across Europe for the winter.

A cautious, play-it-safe kind of girl, Christa isn't really looking forward to the crowds and new foods. When she gets to her hotel though, there's a package from her father awaiting her. The first of 12, the letter dares to her complete a task she normally wouldn't.

As Christa works to finish the dares and make new friends within her mom's acting troop, her father shapes her into a more confident girl, from halfway across the world!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Saturday Snapshot- Meghalaya Waterfalls

Hey guys! I'm back with my last few pictures of our family trip to Meghalaya this summer! Don't worry though- I have some more exciting pictures to share with you from other trips we've taken over the years.

I'm linking up with Melinda @ WMMR to share these pictures with you guys!

Nohkalikai Falls- Cherrapunji

View from hotel room

Seven sister falls- Cherrapuji
Have any of you visited Meghalaya? Perhaps you've visited another similar state in India? Let me know in the comments below and have a great weekend!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday Snapshot- Mawylnnong and Mawsynram

Last week, I shared some pictures of our family trip to Meghalaya this summer. Today, I'll be sharing some more pictures of our trip, this time of some natural formations around the state. In case you hadn't figured this out already, I'm participating in Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Melinda @ West Metro Mommy Reads.

A bridge made out of living roots near Mawlynnong village

A cave in Mawsynram, the second wettest place on Earth

A Shiv Ling inside the cave
Hope you guys enjoy all your weekends! Leave a link to your blogs, and I'll be sure to come check them out.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Blood and Ink by Stephen Davies

Publication Date: September 19th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5
Source: Publisher (Through Edelweiss)

Kadi is a young girl in modern-day Timbuktu. Daughter of a scripture librarian. A fan of literature, music and art, she hopes one day to become the esteemed guardian of the scriptures her father currently looks after.

Ali is a small-town boy from the villages of Mali. He's joined the Defenders of Faith, a branch of Al Qaeda and is an important player in the take of Timbuktu.

As life changes drastically in Timbuktu, Ali and Kadi meet. They hate each other instantly- but something about their natures encourages them to interact with one another. Opening up to each other was a huge mistake- or was it?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday Snapshot- Drive to Shillong

Hey guys! This week I'll be linking up with Melinda @ Westmetro Mommy Reads to share some pictures of our summer trip to Meghalaya this year. Meghalaya is a state in North-East India. These are some pictures we took on the drive up to Shillong.

Have any of you ever been to Meghalaya- or anywhere else in India? Let me know in the comments below! Hope you guys all have a great week!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Anne Foley

Publication Date: September 12th 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
My Goodreads Rating:4/5
Source: Publisher (Through Edelweiss)

Wendy's dad was a police officer in Chicago. She always thought he resembled the heroes in movies. That is, until he was arrested. Her life turns upside down when she is ostracized for her last name. To make things worse, she gets threatened on the way back from a party one night.

Finally, Wendy meets exactly the right kind of girl to help her build up a defense system. Kenzie is mean, popular, and an alpha. Along with two other girls, Wendy has become part of the school's most popular clique- where no one can touch her.

This "toxic friendship" begins to drain Wendy. She knows bullying others to protect herself is wrong. She knows that Kenzie is possibly one of the worst people she has met. But is she so addicted to the safety and power that she should compromise her values?

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Saturday Snapshot- Landmarks of Venice

I'm back with my last post about Italy (2012). I know I've said that before- but this time I honestly think that I don't have any other Italian pictures to share with you! Here are some last pictures of Venetian buildings and cathedrals.

This meme is hosted by Melinda @ Westmetromommyreads.

St Mark's Basilica

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Willing and Capable

Willing to plunge into ice-water,
Watering my empty seed,
Sowing seeds of forgiveness,
Capable of forgiving life

Willing to race across fire,
Flaming, my heart will beat,
Constant beats of joy,
Capable of giving life happiness

Willing to fly among smoke,
Choked, my lungs will try to breathe,
Breathe out my expressions,
Capable of giving life meaning

Willing to pound through wood,
My wooden, numb arms moving,
Rudimentary human movements,
Capable of giving life purpose

Willing to burn and freeze
If only it would offer a purpose,
A meaning, a hidden value

Capable of destruction,
If only it would offer a happiness,
A forgiving nature
To all of what was expressed

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Running Full Tilt by Michael Currinder

 Publication Date: September 5th 2017
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5
Source: Publisher (Through Edelweiss)

Leo and Caleb aren't best friends. Then again, most siblings have complex relationships. When Caleb's angry though, his outbursts literally send Leo running. This violent behavior forces the family to relocate, to a new setting where Leo and Caleb both hope to prosper.

Over time, Leo develops the ability to run fast and think ahead. He joins the cross-country and track teams at his new school, and even befriends a state champion. Learning from the best runner his age, Leo improves his skills and even meets a girl he has a crush on.

Yet Caleb still hasn't managed to settle down in his new life. Leo's newfound peace won't last long, because Caleb's jealousy will soon start to show in violent beatings and scary behavior.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Saturday Snapshot-Cathedrals of Venice

This will be the second-to-last post in my series on Italy ( this time for sure)! Today I'm sharing the interiors of some cathedrals in Venice- most likely the St. Mark's Basilica.

I'm linking up with Melinda @ Westmetromommyreads for this weekly meme. She writes great book reviews so you should go check her out!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Nothing by Annie Barrows

Publication Date: September 5th 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
My Goodreads Rating: 2/5
Source: Publisher (Through Edelweiss)

Charlotte and Frankie are ordinary, boring high schoolers who live with their almost-normal parents. They don't have a perfect body, or a soulmate (except maybe each other). They haven't had the perfect romance, the best adventure or the wildest party. They are just teenagers.

Until Charlotte decides to document their lives in a book to prove how boring they are. Sophomore year is just the same as freshman year, her friends are still the same and she's the kid she always was. Or is she?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday-Historical Fictions for History Students

Hey guys- today's list is a bit of a freebie. Over at The Broke and the Bookish the only guideline we've been given is "Back to School". I've been wanting to do this list for a while- because my school began over a month ago! Today I'm listing my Top Ten Historical Fictions to Complement History Lessons.

*All links are to my reviews

(World War II and The Holocaust)

2. Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

5. No Stars at the Circus by Mary Finn

6. The Siege by Helen Dunmore

(Post-War Fiction)
7. Back Home by Michelle Magorian 

7. Anne Frank- The Diary of a Young Girl

(Indian History)

Hope you guys check out these books if you have a history class this term!

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