book review, history

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Since beginning social distancing, I’ve been diving into my massive TBR list containing books that I’ve had waiting for months upon months. First up, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. It’s the memoir of Ludwig “Lali” Sokolov nee Eisenberg, called Lale in the book, and he was once the tattooer of Auschwitz.

  • Genre: Memoir
  • Overall Rating 5/6 Glass Slippers

In April of 1942, Lale arrived in Auschwitz-Berkinau. Due to his wit and talent for languages, he was soon made the tattooist’s apprentice, then the tattooist himself. He was put in the dangerous and prestigious position of tattooing the numbers on the arm of everyone who entered the camp. He had to be a cog in the Nazi machine, but was also able to help save a few lives.

His tattooing bag is a free pass through the camp, a sign of his status as an essential worker. He’s able to speak with guards, meet the workers from the nearby village who are building the crematoriums, and barter for food with goods slipped from the warehouse used to store and sort the stolen possessions of the prisoners. But Lale uses the most of his influence to keep someone special alive.

He first notices Gita’s dark eyes, and soon he’s smitten with the young woman in a way he can’t explain. He begs and steals, cutting deals to get her a job in the administration office where at least she’ll be warm in the long winter months. He trades hidden gems for chocolate with the village workers for her, and does everything in his power to make sure that when they’re free, they’ll have a future together. But first, they have to survive.

In college, I studied the Holocaust in depth, reading memoirs, taking classes, and taking advantage of my school’s Holocaust Resource Center where survivors would often come to speak. Overall, I found the memoir to be both heart wrenching, and a good lesson in humanizing what happened and how it changed the world. It’s easy to look at numbers in a text book and skim over the labels of Jew and Gypsy without really internalizing what those numbers truly mean. Lali wasn’t a number, nor were any of the other victims.

I wrote many papers on that part of history in my genocidal studies program, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Dr. Mengele in particular. I found some inconsistencies in how Morris portrayed Mengele and his experiments, fabricating some parts perhaps for shock value, although what he did was so terrible without the additional attractions, I didn’t see the reason for them. There were other inconsistencies highlighted by the Auschwitz Memorial Research Center, but I won’t go into because after all is said and done, this isn’t a history book, it’s a memoir based on the extraordinary life of one man.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and the story it told, even with the inaccuracies and simple phrasings. Memories, like memoirs, are tricky things, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget the story of Lali Sokolov.

kids, New Book

The Princess and the Dragon

Now that my daughter’s reading, I’m constantly looking for new books to add to her already massive library. Today I want to show you a new release by author Mary Settle, The Princess and the Dragon!

We all know the story of Cinderella but what if she encounters a dragon? Come along on an adventure of a classic story with a modern twist, but be warned. Things are not always what they appear!

You can order you copy of The Princess and the Dragon on Amazon HERE!

New Book

Circle of Hurt

It’s release day for Lauren Campbell with her newest book, Circle of Hurt. A story of marriage, betrayal, and pain that reviewers are calling “completely engaging and just beautiful to read.”

For years, infertility followed me like a cloud.

But finally, the sun has risen.

Finally, I am pregnant.

Except now a new storm rages in the distance–one I have no choice but to pass through.

I have no idea if the child I’m carrying belongs to my husband … or to the man I’ve betrayed him with–a man I’ve come to love but whose name I don’t know.

What I do know is that I’m a cheat. A liar. Undeserving of this baby inside me.

I don’t know how this will end. But I do know it won’t be without casualties, because this is a story in which a true happy ending cannot exist.

A story of how my love for one grew into three but must end with only two.

Order your copy now wherever ebook are sold HERE

audiobook, book review, New Book, review

The Broken

My favorite time hopping series is back in audiobook form. That’s right, I’m talking about Echoes from the Past by Irina Shapiro. Today, I’d like to discuss the series’s grand finale, The Broken. As always, I will try to keep my review relatively spoiler free, but if I surprise you, remember this amazing series is on book eight!

  • Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Genre: Historical and Contemporary Romance and Drama
  • Heat Rating: ♥♥

In 2015 Dr. Quinn Allenby is called to inspect the skeletal remains of an infant for the hit TV show Echoes from the Past, a program that “solves” old murders and deaths from centuries ago. A mother herself, the work is especially difficult, as the remains have been tampered with and the skeleton is new enough that, for the first time, the family might be still alive. But with the help of a broach found with the baby, she’ll work to put a name to the remains.

In 1955 nurse Helen meets David, who sweeps her off her feet. At first, their courtship is secretive, as Helen’s mother despises the thought of her only child being whisked away. And once they’re allowed to wed, Helen believes herself to be the luckiest woman alive. But when a chance discovery in her mother’s bedroom threatens not only her marriage, but her immortal soul, Helen will have to decide if the truth is worth her happiness.

Through the decades, a secret has been kept, one buried in the garden of an unassuming London home.

As always, I was immediately drawn into the story in a way I’m normally not when it comes to most books. Falling back into Quinn’s complicated life with her messy, extended family is always fun, as is following her into the past to untangle the life of someone who’s only left bones behind. Her tale is one of back stabbing siblings, unreliable parents, and a marriage stronger than most I read about. She has to fight for the shreds of normalcy like packing her daughter Emma’s lunch for school and setting up coffee meetings with her boss in between fact checking her visions.

Since this is the last book in the series, I’ll miss it greatly. The way Shapiro is able to weave the past and present together to form a seamless story is something I’ll always admire. She ended the series in a strong, yet organic, way where most storylines are tied up, and while the future is uncertain for some of the cast, they’ve all more or less ended up just where they needed to be.

Overall, and as always, I recommend this book, and all of Echoes from the Past to all contemporary and historical fiction fans who are looking for their next six glass slipper read.

free book, New Book

What Happens in the Castle

It’s finally here, release day for the final installment of The What Happens Series! Readers have watched an American girl fall in love with the unobtainable laird, the broken heiress find forgiveness and romance, and now it’s time for a NYC based midwife to meet her match…too bad that match lives in the Scottish Highlands.

What Happens in the Castle is available wherever books are sold!

PS. What Happens in the Highlands is currently FREE HERE!

New Book

100 Things That I Wish I Said

Debut author time! Demi Pepper, a UK based author has just published her first book, a novel that touches on bullying, mental health, and the power of words. Introducing 100 Things That I Wish I Said.

Every thought we ever have will never be spoken out loud. You’ll regret it if you don’t say something and maybe it’ll change a life. But once someone is gone, they’re gone for good.

About Demi Pepper

Being a quiet individual most of your life leaves you with a gap to fill. Demi’s gap was filled with creativity and worlds she invented through art, poetry and novels. Her worlds dive into the supernatural, the fantastical and romantic as well as sometimes exploring a more realistic and hard hitting side, yet still beautiful – all of which are inspired by her love for movies, art and history.

Demi studies Fine Art in University, which only allows her creativity to flow further and allow her to reach for the stars in all aspects of her work. Being an artist allows her to paint pictures within her writing and always aim for her readers to be compelled within her small universes.

Follow Demi Pepper on Twitter HERE and on Instagram HERE

New Book

Lust in the Stacks

A new book by a debut author is now available. Introducing Lust in the Stacks by Natalie Falkenwrath!

In this library, the books aren’t the only thing worth checking out…

Alex has a job she likes, doing tech support at Cowling University, and a beautiful – if difficult – girlfriend, Jasmine. Life is good. That is until Alex’s boss reassigns her to work in the university’s saddest little library. Alex feels like she’s been banished to a stuffy, quiet hell. 

Then Alex meets Cait, a living definition of ‘sexy librarian.’ She’s hot, smart, and her accent is to die for. But Alex has a girlfriend she loves and a job to get done. 

When the library pushes back on the system updates Alex was sent to implement, Alex must work closely with Cait to find a solution. Can Alex stay professional and maintain her relationship with Jasmine while working side-by-side with the alluring librarian?

Lust in the Stacks is available for the kindle HERE and in paperback HERE.

Happy Reading!