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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Review: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17061189-aurora-sky?from_new_nav=true&ac=1&from_search=true
Please Note:  I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This does not alter my opinions for this review in any way.

Synopsis (From NetGalley):

If there is one thing eighteen-year-old Aurora Sky wants, it's to get off the iceberg she calls home. Being kissed before she graduates wouldn't hurt either.

Then a near-fatal car wreck changes everything. Government agents step in and save Aurora's life in exchange for her services as a vampire hunter. In Alaska. Basically she's a glorified chew toy. All thanks to her rare blood type, which sends a vampire into temporary paralysis right before she has to finish the job... by hand.

Now Aurora's only friends are groupies of the undead and the only boy she can think about may very well be a vampire.


Review:

I know that the whole vampire craze has died down over the last few years, but I still enjoy a good vampire hunting book (Buffy lovers unite!).  Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter, by Nikki Jefford, is a fun book that also packs an emotional punch .  It has a lot to say about how people face life-altering events.

After Aurora is in what should have been a fatal car accident, she wakes up to find her life has been changed forever and that she is basically owned by the U.S. government.  She has become a genetically altered Vampire Hunter.  

I found Aurora's reaction to be an analogy for what teens do when they have been traumatized.  They can go off the deep-end and engage in destructive behavior.  I have seen this happen to a friend after...(I don't really want to say what happened to her).  At the time, I couldn't understand why she was doing this.  But now I get that my friend, and Aurora, felt hopeless.  They saw no future worth having, so they were going to live for the moment, and do whatever the Hell they wanted.  This rings so true and makes this book vastly different from other paranormal books.  I would say this book is meant for older teens and adults.

This is the first book in a series, so there is a lot of set up for further adventures, with exposition concerning the complicated government program of vampire hunters, including the long list of players involved.  There are informants, hunters, and the hunted.  Are all vampires bad?  Could what they have be just an unfortunate disease?  

There are also many comparisons between hunting for vampires and hunting for terrorists and the ethical questions it raises.  Are all vampires bad?    Do you turn a blind eye if the vampires don't kill people?  I don't mean to suggest that the author meant there are good terrorists.  But I do think she was implying that it is wrong to lump a group of people together (whether from a place or religion) and call them evil.  

I found the romance to be a bit stereotypical of the genre.  Of course, when Aurora is altered, she is instantly attracted to the hot vampire guy and must struggle between her lust and with her duty to rid the world of vamps.  But the vampire boy is very different from Edward of Twilight fame.  This guy is not presented as romantic.  He is more of a puzzle.  At times he is all 'bad to the bone', and at other times, he is looking out for her.  She doesn't know how to react to this.

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to all the sequels (already out on Kindle!).


Rating: 


 
Release Date:  December 9th, 2012

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  A strong start to a fun series, this book will have you rooting for Aurora.  Buffy has some competition!
 

 


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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

ARC Review: Nora & Kettle

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26489591-nora-kettle
Please note:  I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This does not alter the opinions in this review in any way.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):


Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having "one drop of Japanese blood in them" things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys.

Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to naive, eighteen-year-old Nora the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change.

For months, they've lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her window.

In her honeyed eyes, Kettle sees sadness and suffering. In his, Nora sees the chance to take to the window and fly away.


Review:

I didn't know what to expect when I first got Lauren Nicolle Taylor's Nora & Kettle from NetGalley.  It sounded like just an updated Peter Pan story.  It is, but there are many other layers to this tale, most of which I liked.  There were also some disturbing aspects of the story that any potential reader should know about going in.  This is a story about abuse.  If you have triggers for this sort of thing, I would advise you to pass on this book.  

What I Liked:

The Characters:  

I really liked how fleshed out all the characters were, not just Nora or Kettle.  Kettle's friend, Kin, has a gripping back history and story line that mingle with Kettle's.  The two met in the Japanese internment camps during WWII.  Both were children who's mothers didn't survive.  They decide they will not be shipped out to orphanages, and so begin living day to day on the streets.  Their story of survival is harrowing as they try to fight their way in to jobs as day laborers at a port.  

Nora is a complex study.  It is difficult to portray victims of abuse because we often cannot see how the person can stay in the situation.  I often was screaming at the book, "Leave, NOW"!  But Nora stays in a horrible existence to shield her 7-year old sister from the violence of her father.


The Story:  

I loved how in the beginning of the story Kettle and Nora almost meet several times, but just miss each other.  It shows how random life can be.  Each is caught up in their own problems and can't see beyond the immediate drama of their lives.  It is so gratifying when they finally meet and start to learn about each other (This kind of reminded me of a very dark version of Sleepless In Seattle)!  The scenes of Nora's abuse are hard to read, but further the story and so are necessary.


What I didn't Like:

Setting:  

I think the book is set in 1950's New York City.  But the book was very lean on any historical details that would help establish the time period.  There is one reference to the "new" Perry Como song.  But, other than that, I never got a sense that this was the 1950's, or that it was New York.

Historical inaccuracies:  

There is a scene in the book where Nora calls 9-1-1, and tries to ask for help.  I thought this didn't sound right, so I checked and 9-1-1 wasn't set up in the U.S.A. until 1968, well after the events in this book.  Yes, this may be petty of me, but I am a big reader of historical fiction and it takes me right out of the time and story if there are glaring mistakes such as this.  Also, there is a key scene where a certain piece of technology is used.  I will try to be vague in order to not give a spoiler, but they way it is used in the book is not at all accurate for the time period.  

Although glaring, these are really minor issues in an otherwise wonderful book.  It is flips from  disturbing to wistful and then to romantic.  It was a fulfilling book.

Rating: 


Release Date:  February 29th, 2016

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  ARC E-book

Recommendation:  A satisfying book about difficult subjects:  Abuse and Homelessness.  As long as you don't have triggers for these topics, you should find this an absorbing book.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

ARC Review: The Last Painting of Sara de Vos


Please note:  I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This does not alter the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain--a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she's curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive. As the three threads intersect, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerizes while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.

Review:

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, by Dominic Smith has so many of the elements that I love about historical novels:  several distinct time periods with lots of little details to enhance the sense of the era, decisions in one era that have major consequences later on, a mystery, regrets.  All of these components come together in this book to create a rich tapestry of story that will sweep the reader away.

The story alternates between three time periods:  The Dutch1600's, New York in the 1950's, and Australia in the year 2000.  A female Dutch artist endures the harsh realities of life in the 1600's.  Her one surviving work, At The Edge Of A Wood, is passed down through the generations and winds up in the hands of a wealthy attorney.  When the painting is stolen and replaced with a forgery, he must figure out who stole it and how the fake painting came to be.

I loved the details of how Sara created her paintings.  It was also an insider's look into the high-stakes world of Art and museums.  The book gives all sorts of details into how one could fake a masterpiece, and how forgeries are unmasked.  I found it fascinating.

But this is also a very human story.  From the tragedies of Sara's world of long ago to the longings of an art student in the 1950's, this story is alive with people who are trying to have a voice when the world is telling them to stay quiet.  It is obvious in the Dutch era that Sara cannot fully express herself because she is a woman.  And the art student Ellie is similarly restricted in 1950's New York.  But Marty, the rich attorney, is also stifled in his marriage and career.  He has a very well-defined role in his social circle and is looking for ways to break away.  

I also enjoyed how the stories intertwined.  At first, I could not see the connections between the three timelines (other than the painting).  But as the story progressed, elements came to light that connected everything in a very satisfying way.

The book took several unexpected turns that kept me on my toes.  This made it fun and very entertaining.  The gratifying ending was really beautiful and wrapped up all the different story lines well.


Rating: 



Release Date:  April 5th, 2016

Source:  NetGalley

Format: ARC E-Book

Recommendation:  If you love historical fiction, art, and human drama, I think you will love this book.

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Monday Musts #11

Monday Musts is a weekly feature hosted by Jessica of Lovin' Los Libros.  This is a great feature that has exposed me to all sorts of new books, music, and movies.  Check out Jessica's blog for the complete list of participants.

It's been a wonderful weekend of cooking for my family and catching up on my reading.  I so wish I could just take a "reading" day and do only that!  But I was able to go to the farmer's market and buy duck eggs to use in making a quiche and it was yummy!  Here are my Monday Musts:

Must Read:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15753740-the-storyteller
I am about 2/3 of the way done with this book and it is wonderful!  There are several storytellers in this book.  I think it makes the point that we all tell stories to ourselves to justify our actions.  It has been a gripping book and I can't wait to see what happens in the end.  Click on the book cover to find it on GoodReads.

Must Listen:


https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/audio/radio
One of my favorite podcasts, Travel with Rick Steves covers adventures from across the globe.  Rick has numerous guests each week with listeners who call in with questions, too.  Click on the Travel with Rick Steves image to go to his website.

Must See:


         

I loved the original movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from 2000.  This new movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, is a full-length feature film that is in English (or you can switch it to Chinese, if you want).  It has been many years since the original film, but Michelle Yeoh still has a powerful presence onscreen.  The movie also stars Harry Shum, Jr. of Shadowhunters!  It is a wonderful movie with lots of action and romance.

What are you excited to read, listen to, or see this week?  Let me know in the comments.

 
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Friday, March 25, 2016

Stacking The Shelves #23

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  Go to their site to get a complete list of all the participating blogs.  Each week there are almost 100 book blogs that share what books they received.  It is so much fun to see what everyone got!


What an amazing time we had at the Silicon Valley ComicCon last weekend!  It was three days of non-stop fun.  But, as entertaining as it was, it was also exhausting.  As a result, I only read two books this week.  But I received a bunch of new titles that I can't wait to read!

Read This Week:



 I enjoyed both books I read this week.  But I was most surprised by Aurora Sky.  It was very different from other teen paranormal books (and definitely for older teens and adults).  I will be reviewing the book this week and will give a detailed explanation at that time.

I also ran out my time on the audiobook I was listening to, so I will need to go back on the waiting list at the library.  Live and learn, right?  So here's what I got this week...

From NetGalley:



 I already devoured Aurora Sky.  It's a quick and fun read.  All of these titles look awesome!  I can't wait to read them.  I am somewhat disappointed that Children of Icarus is only on PDF so I cannot put it on my Kindle.  This means I need to sit at my computer in order to read it.  I would have been okay with it, except that NetGalley didn't mention this until after I requested it.  Oh well.  I am still happy to get it.

Borrowed From The Library:







 Oh, how I love the library!  I came in to pick up The Thirteenth Tale (which I was on hold for an eternity), and walked out the door with two more books.  I just want to sit in bed all weekend and read all these lovelies!

Won!


Thank you, Delfy Hall for the autographed copy of your book.  I won this from a Twitter giveaway from Anne of Inked Brownies and it looks really good!  



Bought At Silicon Valley ComicCon:


 One of the aspects of the ComicCon experience that I love is the chance to talk to people.   A very silly guy had a booth with all kinds of cat related stuff to promote his comic book, Cathair Apocalypse.  Yes, it is so silly.  But I am a mega cat person, so I was hooked.  

Then, waiting in line for a panel (about web comics), I got to talking with the guy next to me in line.  It turns out he wrote comic books.  He gave me a copy of his comic book Boylord.  I was really impressed with the art work and production values.

On Sunday, I saw the booth for authors Mark Gelineau and Joe King and talked with them about their YA Fantasy book series.  I love how they are taking the reigns and promoting their books at these events.  Aren't the covers for these two books gorgeous? And now I am excited to start reading them.

 So, what did you get this week?  Which books are you excited to read?  Let me know in the comments.



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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Review: Illuminae





Synopsis (From GoodReads):


This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.


Review:


When I first picked up the book Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff at the library, I was intimidated.  At 599 pages, here was a monster of a book.  But then I opened it up and discovered this book is told in a variety of formats that make the pages fly by.  I'm a little stumped as to how to describe this book.  Is it a graphic novel?  Not really.  But it is not a traditionally written novel either.  There are memos, transcripts, visual poems, and art work that all come together to create an unusual, entertaining book.

The story begins on the day high school students Kady and Ezra break up.  Oh, and the planet they are on is attacked.  Both escape, but wind up on  different ships fleeing the attackers.  What then transpires is a twisted tale of out of control corporations, biological warfare, paranoia, and survival.

I loved the imaginative way this story was told.  There is a wonderful (and sometimes, confusing) mix of instant messages, interviews, transcripts, and basically any other type of communication represented.  This gives the feel that there is an investigation going on.  But what is the crime?  That is only part of the mystery.

Besides Kady and Ezra, there are many more intriguing characters to round out the story, including Zhang (a brilliant programmer), and Ezra's fellow soldier James.  I particularly loved artificial intellegence AIDEN who controls all the ships.  As the months progress in space, those in command begin to question AIDEN's abilities and methods.  One can see parallels between this and 2001 A Space Odessy's HAL, and it makes for scary fun.

There are many plot twists that surprised me,  But I hate spoilers, so I will not get into them here.  Just know that the story goes off in directions you may not expect.  These were really gripping and made me read even faster.

If you haven't had a chance to read it, put Illuminae on your TBR list NOW, before the next book comes out in October.

Rating: 



Release Date:  October 20th, 2015

Source:  Public Library

Format:  Hardcover Book

Recommendation:  An imaginative book that redefines how stories can be told.  If you like scary stories set in space, you will love it.



 
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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My experience at Silicon Valley ComicCon


I have tried valiantly this year to post at least every other day on this blog.  But, as some of you may have noticed, I have been strangely silent these past few days.  Why, you may ask?   Well, I have been on a mini trip to the first annual Silicon Valley ComicCon in San Jose, California!

I did attend a Buffy convention many years ago, but this was my first modern "Con" experience, and it was a blast!

The only negative for the trip was that my husband was horribly sick (with the same bug I had the previous week), and he could not attend.

Here is a run down of what we did:


Friday:  


We arrived at our hotel across the street from the San Jose Convention Center.  After quickly throwing our stuff in the room, we set out to the Preview Night.  Our first stop:  an autograph from William Shatner!  Thankfully, Mr. Shatner was running quite late (about 35 minutes) because there was a lot of confusion in the hall and I had two volunteers telling me two different things about what I needed to get in the line.  I was starting to lose my cool but decided to take some deep breaths and NOT yell at anyone.  I realize that the poor volunteers were not trying to be difficult.  They were just as misinformed as I was.  Finally, we did get the autograph and then sprinted over to a different line to get a picture with William Shatner.  As is typical of these events, both the autograph and photo experience was very quick so it's not like we could chat with Mr. Shatner.  But we did get to briefly meet him and that was cool.

After we perused the exhibition hall and all the cool vendors, we went into the main ball room for the William Shatner Panel.  We decided to get there early to get a good seat and sat next to a fun couple who we chatted with for about 30 minutes.  Then the program began with The Woz himself (Steve Wozniak, inventor of the Apple computer)  asking the first question.  Mr. Shatner was funny and charming during his talk and it was a delight to listen to him.  


Saturday:  


Saturday was a crush of people and tempers as this convention got into full swing.  We got there early because we heard that Adam Savage was going to go on the convention floor in an "incognito" costume.   I follow his twitter to get all the inside information.  Very quickly we found him walking around as Hellboy.  It wasn't too hard to figure out who he was because there was a cameraman, and security people all around him.  But we did get some great pictures of him with my kids!
 

Adam Savage as Hellboy


The organizers didn't seem prepared for the estimated 30,000 people converging on the building.  We waited in line for a panel called Let's Go To Mars that included Andy Weir (author of The Martian) and Adam Savage (Host of Mythbusters).  The line was a holy mess that cut across the main staircase and through the registration line as well.  Needless to say, we didn't get in.  We were really bummed.  This panel took place in a smallish conference room that could maybe seat 200 people.  I think with those two panelists alone, they could have had it in the big ballroom (with seating for 3000) and filled it no problem.

The main event we wanted to attend on Saturday was the Back To The Future Panel.  This had Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, and Christopher Lloyd!  So after our disaster of not getting in to the earlier panel, we headed straight for the ballroom.  

It was several hours before Back To The Future so we sat in on the Jeremy Renner Panel.  

He was very interesting and had great advice to people trying to break in to showbiz ("If you can do anything else, do that instead").  But he also said that if performing is IT for you than go for it with all you have and DON'T have a plan B.  He said all that means is that you have a plan to fail. 

After the panel was finished, we got in line for Back To The Future.  We had to wait in line for over an hour, but this time we were first in line and got great seats.  It was wonderful being able to listen to Michael J. Fox talk about the filming of that movie and how it changed his life.  Lea Thompson was so sweet and fun.  And Christopher Lloyd gave off a very cool hippie uncle vibe that I was digging!  He said his favorite movie of the trilogy was BTTF 3 because Emmit had a romance in it (raising his eyebrows suggestively...).  He was so cool!


After the panel, we were able to cruise the hall and take in all the sights.  Even though it was crazy, there were so many cool costumes and fun people.









Sunday:

Our last day was a time to take the lessons we learned and apply them to see the panels we wanted.  We got in line an hour early, but we were able to get into the panel with all the writers from The Big Bang Theory, hosted by Adam Savage!  So we finally did get to hear Adam talk and interact on stage!  This was a great panel.  I was very impressed that of the five writers, two were women!  They had lots of great stories to share about guest stars and how they got ideas for the stories on the show.

Then we were able to be in the next panel, Webcomics Of The Universe (with special guest Andy Weir).  Again, the writers of these web comics were very insightful about their processes.  After the panel, Andy Weir stayed on and signed autographs!  He was very gracious and nice.


After that, we went for our autograph signing and photo with Christopher Lloyd.  Again, you don't really have time to do more than say 'Hello" to the guy, but it was still fun.  The photo was extra cool because it was with the Delorian Car from the movie!

After more shopping, we finally heading home.  What a fun weekend.  I only wish my husband could have shared it with us.  But I am sure we will attend next year's event, so he WILL make it to the next one.

Have you been to one of these events?  What was your favorite part?  Let me know in the comments.
 


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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Stacking The Shelves #22

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  Each week nearly 100 blogs participate, showing their latest book acquisitions and other doings.  Go to their blog for all the links and check out as many blogs as you like.


Oh, my illness continues!  Man, this is the longest I have been sick in a long time.  But I was still able to get a lot of reading in, which I am thankful for because I got through three ARCs and this brought my NetGalley rating up to over 80%!

Read This Week:



The book I loved the most this week was The Last Painting Of Sara De Vos, by Dominic Smith.  This is an epic story of Art in the Dutch Golden Age, and a painting that spans the centuries.  The story takes place in the 1600's, the 1950's and the year 2000.  It will come out in April, and I highly recommend it.

Borrowed From a Friend:




I am probably the LAST person on earth to get this book!  But I will try to read it soon.


Free E-books!






 I follow a wonderful blog by Derek Murphy called Urban Epics  You can access it here.  He is also a writer and had two of his books free on Amazon a few days ago.  Score!  They both look like fun.

What books did you get this week?  Let me know what you're excited to read in the comments.


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Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: A Night Divided

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22024488-a-night-divided?ac=1&from_search=1&from_nav=true




Synopsis (From GoodReads):

With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family divided overnight. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can't help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.

But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?


Review:


I read A Night Divided, by Jennifer A. Nielsen,  because several students in the fourth grade class I work in were reading it for book club.  Everyone was talking about what a great book it was, so I decided to see for myself.  I am fascinated with stories of this era.  How would I react in this situation?  Would I be indifferent or defiant when faced with oppression?  

The story centers around Gerta and her brother Fritz.  When the Berlin Wall goes up, her other brother and her father are in West Berlin.  What starts out as a few nights away looking for work turns into years of separation for the family.  Along with the erection of the Wall comes more and more oppression in East Berlin.  Apartments are bugged so the government can listen in on conversations.  Neighbors are paid (and blackmailed) to spy on each other.  If the government thinks you (or members of your family) are disloyal, opportunities such as college and good jobs vanish.

Most people accept that this will be their lives from now on and don't fight it.   But Gerta and Fritz can't fathom living out their lives on the whims of the Stasi (the secret police).  One day, they see their father looking at them from across The Wall.  He is pantomiming digging.  What does this mean?  Does their father want them to dig under The Wall to escape?

Many years ago, I was able to take a trip to Moscow during the Soviet era as part of a British tour group.  I saw first-hand how empty the shops were.  I witnessed secret dealings where people were buying and selling contraband goods.  These people were desperate to have normal things like blue jeans and books from the West.  As I read A Night Divided I remembered how strange it was in Moscow.  I felt like we were being watched, even in our hotel rooms.  If that was the feeling of a tourist, imagine what it would be like to live day-to-day in that kind of pressure cooker?  This book has all those little details right.  You can feel the weight of prying eyes on the characters.

This story is so intense, I could not put it down.  Will they get caught?  Who will sell them out, or help them?  I loved the suspense of the story and all the minor characters such as the nosy neighbor and Gerta's classmate (or is it her enemy?).  The reader doesn't know who is friend or foe until the very end of the story.  Frankly, I was surprised that fourth graders were reading this as I was getting nightmares over reading it!  But, given that the main character is 12 years old, I can see that it would be a great book for a mature fourth grader.

Rating: 


Release Date:  August 25, 2015

Source:  Public Library

Format:  Hardcover book

Recommendation:  An intense novel about East Germany.  I think this would be a great book for middle grade readers or even mature fourth and fifth graders. 

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2017 Reading Challenge

MsArdychan has read 2 books toward her goal of 180 books.
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MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

The Hummingbird's Daughter
Joseph Anton: A Memoir
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
The Help
The Fry Chronicles
A Clash of Kings
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
A Game of Thrones
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay
The Giver
Savvy
The Red Pyramid
Anne of Green Gables
The Complete Novels
Slam!
Slam
Hatchet
Scorpions


MsArdychan's favorite books »

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