Book Review

Book Review: The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction
Length: 400 pages
Author: Kristin Harmel
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: July 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice Network, The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.

EMOTIONS.

I had a lot of up and down with this one, but by the end I was really invested in getting some kind of ending I could be satisfied with. And even though it took awhile, I loved the way this ended which solidified a great book for me.

One of the things I struggled with was Eva’s Mother. I could understand the grief and despair she was feeling, but kept being angered at how much she taking out on Eva. There was never a chance for them to truly reconcile and it hurt my soul watching the relationship slowly deteriorate because of atrocities outside of their control.

World War II historical fiction is common in the genre. While sometimes I find the stories repetitive, I thought this one took on new aspects. I liked the focus on the children and of a Jewish woman working to forge papers to help those around her. Not to mention the romance sub-plot thrown in was SO SWEET. I mean, definitely tore my heart out, but also the development was spot on. The action and movement kept me interested and I enjoyed reading this as an audio book. Even when you could kind of see things coming, the whole of the plot still took me by surprise.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction [WW2]
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, one little detailed open scene
  • Violence:
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, depictions of World War 2, suicide (a small paragraph with depiction of method)

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: To Sir, With Love by Lauren Layne

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 288 pages
Author: Lauren Layne
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: June 29th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Love Is Blind meets You’ve Got Mail in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy following two thirty-somethings who meet on a blind dating app—only to realize that their online chemistry is nothing compared to their offline rivalry.

Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

HOW ADORABLE.

Ahhhhh so happy I got an ARC of this one because Y’ALL.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

Okay, first I need to preface this by saying, I have NOT seen You’ve Got Mail. I will in no way be able to convey if it’s like it or not (the summary says it is). So with that skeleton thrown out of my closet, lets get into the review!

I couldn’t get enough of this couple. Gracie and Sebastian play a perfectly sweet sunshine/grump + hidden identities (a FAV) scenario that had me grinning from ear to ear. All of their interactions were spot on and they were easy to fall in love with. The whole cast was easy to fall in love with for that matter.

This seemed to play on a little bit of an insta-love, but in a realistic style. I had no issues with the progression and timeline. Everything felt so natural that Sebastian and Gracie would fall in love. If anything I would have loved even more page time with them. I love how sweet they were on each other without even trying. Gosh the chemistry was fantastic.

Aaaand the family dynamics!! This had some of the best sibling relationships I’ve read about in a long time. They were all so kind!! And supportive!! And there for each other!! Ahhhh, I loved it. It was so meaningful to see these connections along side the romantic one. Graice had a lot of solid friendships as well. I really think all of these other people in Gracie’s life made this book sing. Nothing felt lacking even with the romance at the forefront.

There was so much to this story (and for under 300 pages I am wowza impressed). I found myself absolutely invested in that final movie ending moment and how CUTE. Just gave me all of the giddy, sunshiney feelings.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of parents (happened prior to timeline in book), a side couple struggles with infertility

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