Month: July 2017

If I Should Die Before I Wake (SPOILER FREE)

Author:Han Nolan | Published: May 1st 2003 by HMH Books for Young Readers | Series: N/A | Length: 293 pages | Genre: Historical Fiction| ISBN:9780152046798|Source: Amazon (Book)

Hilary hates Jews. As part of a neo-Nazi gang in her town, she’s finally found a sense of belonging. But when she’s critically injured in an accident, everything changes.
Somehow, in her mind, she has become Chana, a Jewish girl fighting for her own life in the ghettos and concentration camps of World War II.
Han Nolan offers powerful insight into one young woman’s survival through the Holocaust and another’s journey out of hatred and self-loathing.

This chilling tale revolves around two young women and their desire to live beyond their circumstances. Hilary is a young teenager who gets recruited into a neo-Nazi group as an outlet for the hate, anger and rage she feels as a result of how her life has gone up to the point of the accident. Chana is a young Polish Jew who describes the trials her family and friends face at the hands of the Nazi’s during the course of World War II. Hilary ends up living the life of Chana through a series of dreams/visions as she fights for her own life in a hospital bed in her home town. As Chana recounts the evils she had to face over the course of about 5 years Hilary comes to realize that her and Chana have much in common and together these young women battle death itself.

I don’t know where to begin about how this book took me on a roller coaster of emotions. First and foremost I read it twice back to back to make sure I absorbed the pull impact of the story. There are so many topics that are touched on here. From postpartum depression to feelings total abandonment and despair this story really captures the hopeless that could potentially dwell in each one of us. On the other spectrum it also touches on a strength that we all have to not let the circumstances of our life be an excuse to not push on for better. As I read this tale I found myself questioning my own relationship with God and my faith. As I did so I began to think about where I am in life and as a result of any circumstance could easily be in a different place.

I started off stating that this book is about two women who make the choice after gaining understanding and perspective to live beyond the hand that was dealt to them by life. It really is so much more than that. It is a dark tale of two women finding strength to get to their next in life instead of succumbing to the overwhelming odds stacked against them.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of history. While it is geared toward readers 14+ I would say those who have an understanding of World War II and possible some knowledge of Jewish culture will fare much better with this read. As always a link to the book has been added in the book information section at the top of my review.

I rated this book a 5/5. Everyone should take the time to read this.



Stowaway Launch

Well after years of telling myself that I couldn’t do this I finally made the leap and started a book blog. Oh yeah, all by myself like a grown up and everything! Like any real stowaway my blog will be stocked full of book reviews, book hauls, random nonsense, and anything else I care to talk about. Are you all ready to set sail?


Well let me show you around since you’re here. First things first you’ll see all my recent posts when you first arrive on the page. Here I’ll talk about whatever my heart desires at the time.

The next stop is the About Me section where you can find all you need to know about your humble blog host. Any additional questions can be sent through the Contact Me section where I will answer them at my discretion within 48 hours.

Next we move on to the Book Reviews section which at some point will be full of beautiful and articulate reviews for you to all feast your eyes on. Look out because my first review will be posted July 17, 2017 about The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg.

Then we have our Bookish Stuff section which contains information about book haul, reading suggestions, my monthly wrap up, and my random rants which are sure to pop up.

If you are an author or publisher pay special attention, the Review Requests section is all about you. If you would like your book reviewed I have all the information you need to get it done there as well as information about how I rate my reads.

Well there you have it. I look forward to posting and filling my blog with fun book stuff for everyone to enjoy.

The Paper Magician Review (Spoiler Free)

Author:Charlie N. Holmberg | Published: September, 1st 2014 by 47North | Series: The Paper Magician Trilogy #1 | Length: 224 pages | Genre: YA fantasy| ISBN:9781477823835) |Source: Amazon (Book)

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

The story revolves around Ceony Twill and her absolute distaste for the magic that she is assigned too. The setting of the story begins somewhere on the outskirts of London, England where she is being shown to the door of the man who will be teaching her paper magic. I noticed very quickly in the beginning that the writer choose to harp over and over on the fact that paper magic was not something the protagonist had any resolve to do. In her mind it was just short of a death sentence, but he talked about it so much that even after finishing the book I have very little care for paper magic myself. It also make the first five chapters incredibly hard get through. In saying that the story definitely starts to pick up after Magician Thane is attacked and Ceony goes after the heart thief.

I will say that the wording used throughout the book is definitely easy to follow while still providing a challenge to the more advanced reader. If I had to pick one line that really sums up the book it would be “What about my mistakes? I think about them, too, but where would I be if I thought of nothing else? What sort of person would I be if I drowned in them?” The two major protagonist both carry dark secrets with them and has an affect on how they choose to interact with others and each other.

As I approached the end of this book I was left wanting. There was a lot of filler material that I felt could have been left out and instead replaced with something else. There was a lot of opportunity to develop Ceony which I felt was not done very well. The story was very dry and repetitive at times which really disappointed me because I felt that there was so much potential for this book to really take off. I was happy with how the book ended because it definitely set the sequel up to be very engaging. I hope that it does not disappoint. It is definitely worth a read if you can forge through the dry material and repetition.

I rated this book a 3/5. The ending really saved it.

Mid July Book Haul


What better way to get over the mid July reading hump then to start it off with a beautiful book haul? There is no better way is the correct answer. While some of these books have been out for quite a while I’ve had such a back log of other things to read that I forgot to pick these books up. Without further delay here they are:

  • The Mermaid’s Mirror by L.K. Madigan
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell
  • Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

I’m so excited to finally own these books although knowing me it might be awhile before I get around to reading them.