The Trumpets of Jericho by J. Michael Dolan 📚 BOOK REVIEW

My review of The Trumpets of Jericho by J. Michael Dolan.

I read a digital edition of The Trumpets of Jericho that I received for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Historical fiction

Publisher: Bookbaby, under the imprimatur Monochrome Books

Originally published: July 22nd, 2015

Pages: 552 (paperback)

Synopsis by the publisher:

Imagine the horror that was Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest and most lethal of the six Nazi annihilation camps.
Imagine it 1944 and a prisoner uprising at this terrible place, the rebels blowing up one crematorium, damaging another, and killing many of their SS masters.
Imagine it Jews leading this revolt, a people those same SS thought incapable of fighting.
Now imagine one of those leaders a 22-year-old girl, arguably the fieriest Jewish heroine to come out of the Holocaust.
Finally, following the revolt, imagine her and three other young female inmates tortured for weeks by the Gestapo without giving up a single fellow conspirator.

Imagine all that and more and you have The Trumpets of Jericho, the only novel to tell this extraordinary, true-life story in its entirety.

My thoughts:

When I was a little girl, my father told me about my family heritage. That we came from Jewish descent and because of the Holocaust that is why a lot of our family now lives in Sweden. He got me to read The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, and ever since then I’ve been fascinated by the stories of World War II. 

So, when I saw The Trumpets of Jericho up for review, a story of an Auschwitz revolt that I had never heard of before, I knew I had to read it. 

Little did I know what I getting myself into. 

The Trumpets of Jericho is a chunker of a book, but to tell the story that needs to be told, it has to be. 

It’s a story of people with hope for freedom, an underground community seeking justice, true heroes, pure evil, excruciating pain, death, and love. 

We get to see Auschwitz from the view of those who are seeking justice, those who run the camp, and those who are merely trying to survive. 

The Trumpets of Jericho is a hard book to read, but for all the right reasons, and it’s even harder to put down. It’s hard to read because we know that it’s based on true events. Knowing that the cruelty and evil that is told in this story really did happen makes it into an absolutely heartbreaking story. 

It is not for the faint of heart as it tells a very graphic tale of war, torture, and death. 

There are some truly remarkable characters in this story. People who did everything in their power to get justice for their people and their loved ones, and I’m so grateful for Mr. Dolan to give these heroes a spotlight and a voice that they truly deserve. 

The Trumpets of Jericho is an important book, and the work and research that Mr. Dolan has put into it is remarkable!

Highly recommend, but it comes with a warning; it will break your heart, over and over again. But it will also show you the strength of love, and the power of hope.

It is a must-read for the readers who enjoyed Mila 18, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Diary of a Young Girl.

It is a story that will stay with me for a very, very long time.

Click on the Reedsy Discovery logo below to get to know more, maybe get your own copy, and let me know what you think of it💛

Hard to Read

About some of the books I’ve been reading lately.

As readers there are some books we instantly fall in love with, some we fall out of love with, some are slow at the beginning, some fades into nothing, some we power through, and others we give up on. 

There are also those books that are just hard to read, be that because of the language, the story building, our own interest, or something completely different. 

I’ve read books that are 500+ pages in no time at all, and then there are books that I use weeks on even though they’re just a couple of hundred pages. 

But lately, I’ve been reading some books that really take their toll on me. 

For those of you who’s been around for a while, you know that I love historical fiction and non-fiction based on World War II. I usually get through at least 2-3 every year, but for the last 6 months or so I’ve read a lot more of it. And even though I find the stories super interesting and I still enjoy diving into them, the stories of the Holocaust are so horrific and (often) graphic that it completely drains me. Some days I get completely engulfed in the story and can’t put the book down, other days I just need to read something completely different to have a little break. 

Why I need a break? Because reading about the cruelty and hardship of the Second World War tends to send my mind spiraling into a pretty dark place where I wouldn’t like to be stuck. 

It’s hard to place oneself in the minds of those who suffered, and in the minds of the people who were the cause of the suffering.

I think my interest when it comes to reading historical fiction and non-fiction about the war is the same as why I find True Crime so interesting. It’s something about trying to understand how people can get to a place and a mindset where they are overtaken by evil. A way of trying to understand how a mind like that works. 

Maybe it’s macabre, or just human curiosity, I’m not even sure. But the truth is that I’ve had to take breaks more often lately to read lighter fiction like children’s books or comics, just to get the darkness at a distance for a little while. 

That being said, I think that it’s extremely important that we read the stories that are hard to swallow. We learn from the echos of our history.

And even though some of the stories are extremely hard to read, they are amazing reads and I can’t wait to share some of them with you soon.

Mila 18 by Leon Uris 📚 BOOK REVIEW

My review of Mila 18 by Leon Uris 📚

I listened to an audiobook edition of Mila 18 on Audible.

Genre: Historical fiction, WWII fiction.

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Originally published: 1961 by Doubleday

Pages: 563 (paperback)

Audiobook length: 22 hrs and 58 mins

Narrated by: David deVries

Synopsis by the publisher:

It was a time of crisis, a time of tragedy – and a time of transcendent courage and determination. Leon Uris’s blazing novel is set in the midst of the ghetto uprising that defied Nazi tyranny, as the Jews of Warsaw boldly met Wehrmacht tanks with homemade weapons and bare fists. Here, painted on a canvas as broad as its subject matter, is the compelling story of one of the most heroic struggles of modern times.

My thoughts:

Mila 18 is one of those books that my dad has recommended to me over and over again. I’ve had it on my shelf for what feels like forever, but for some reason, I just never got around to reading it. But on the hunt for some new audiobooks on Audible it came up as a recommended book there as well (not surprising since I have listened and read my share of books about World War 2), so I decided it was time to finally read/listen to it. 

It took me a little while to get all the characters in order, but as soon as I did, I was very invested in their stories. 

Mila 18 is a slow burner, but the flame burns bright through the whole book. The audiobook is almost 22 hours long, but during these hours I never felt bored. 

The story of the Warsaw ghetto tells how war and despair bring out the very best in people, and the absolute worst. 

We follow struggling marriages, young couples in love, a resistance coming to life, German officers and families just trying to survive.

It is a heartbreaking story as much as it is one that makes you want to go utterly mad with anger. One of the things that always made WWII stories so fascinating to me, was trying to get into the minds of the people who drove the war forward and trying to understand how someone could be so cruel and act so cruel. But I have to say that for the most part, the more I read, the less I feel like I understand. I still can’t fathom how the Nazis could justify their acts, and I don’t think I ever will. 

But no matter how difficult it is to try to understand why people sometimes do the things that they do, books like Mila 18, and so many others, are so important. We need to remember. We have to remember. 

This book tells a story of immense bravery, love, and endurance. We get to follow the people in the ghetto as well as outside of it and see how they process the war and how it changes the city that they call home, as well as the people around them. 

The uprising in the Warsaw ghetto is a symbol of freedom. 

It is a powerful story, an important story, but not one for the faint of heart. It had me feeling angry, unwell and moved to tears. 

If you like historical fiction and especially historical fiction set during WWII, then I would definitely recommend Mila 18.

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3 Books that Shaped Me as a Reader

Here are three books that have shaped me as a reader through the years 📚

I’m pretty sure that all of us bookworms have certain books that shape us as readers, both as kids and later on in our adult lives as well. We change, our preferences too, and sometimes a book can surprise us into a whole new genre we never even considered being our thing.

I thought I would share some of the books that has shaped me as a reader over the years.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

My dad was the one that introduced me to Anne Frank. I was about 8 years old and I already knew quite a bit about World War II as my fathers side of the family has Jewish heritage, and actually had to get away from the Nazis by moving to Sweden at that time. So the interest in WWII came at a pretty early age for me, and The Diary of a Young Girl definitely shaped my reading a lot. It was where I truly discovered how horrific, but also interesting and fascinating that time of history was, and still is. I’m still a WWII fanatic, just like my dad. I love reading non-fiction and historical fiction, and the well-written ones (especially those who are based on true stories) always breaks my heart and fill my eyes with tears. Reading Anne Frank’s diary was also what made me start journaling back in the days, which is something that I still do.

I think every kid should read this book. It’s so important and captivating. My dad also took me to Anne Frank’s house later on, which was a really interesting but also intense experience. If I remember correctly, I believe my dad has told me that I didn’t speak for a good while after we got out of there, and it is something I will never forget. I also would highly recommend going there if you ever get the chance to.

Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Bag of Bones is not my favorite King novel, but it was my very first. I remember browsing one of my local bookstores as a teenager and coming across this particular book. I can’t remember exactly what it was about Bag of Bones that compelled me to buy it, but buy it I did, and it has been quite the journey ever since.

I remember bringing it with me on a family vacation (but can’t for the life of me remember where we went), and was so captivated by this story that I was unable at times to put it down. It’s one of those stories that just made such a lasting impression on me that I actually remember quite a lot of what happened even though it has been years, and I’m pretty sure I would be surprised to find out how much I’ve probably forgotten if I tried re-reading it today (which is something I’m considering doing).

Let’s call it love at first sight, and King’s writing and I have been in a happy relationship (for the most part) for many years now, and it will continue to be that way for two reasons.

1 – The man has written so many books that I hardly doubt I will get through them all.

2 – It’s first book love, and that lasts a lifetime. Everybody knows that, right?!

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Did you just roll your eyes at the screen?! Well, if you did, I don’t blame you. Twilight is not great. It’s not even really good, but never the less, it is a book that played a pretty big role in my reading life. At the age of about 20, I found myself not having really read much in a few years. I don’t know what started that massive reading slump, but I do know that the easy entertainment that Twilight offered was what got me back into reading, and with a whole new love of fantasy and paranormal fiction. And because of that, I got to discover so many great books! So, even though I fully agree with the eye roll (and I have tried re-reading it some years later and wish that I hadn’t) it still deserves a spot on this list, and it will always hold a special place in this book lover heart of mine.

These three books are not my top three of all time, but they are all very special to me. If I hadn’t crossed paths with them, I probably would’ve had a very different reading journey than I’ve had so far.

Do you have a book that defined you more as a reader than any other? I would love to hear about it💛

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 📚 BOOK REVIEW

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Heather Morris

I read a hardback version of The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Genre: Historical fiction, based on a true story

Publisher: Zaffre Publishing

Originally published: January 11th, 2018

Pages: 288 (Hardback)

 

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Blurb by the publisher:

For readers of Schindler’s List, The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas comes a heart-breaking story of the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances.

I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.

Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.

So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.

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My thoughts:

Ever since I read The Diary of Anne Frank as a young girl, I’ve had a soft spot for historical fiction and non-fiction about World War Two. Some of it is because of the fact that Jewish blood runs in our family, but mostly I find it fascinating and equally tragic.

Heather Morris spent three years listening to Mr. Sokolov’s memories of his time at Auschwitz, and what that resulted in was a beautiful, yet heartbreaking love story. And not only that but also a fascinating story of surviving through a war, in the hope of a better future.

I devoured this book! It was intriguing from beginning till end, and just knowing that it was based on a true story made it even more interesting.

I smiled when they fell in love, I gasped and fell physically ill by some of the treatment they had to endure, and I cried and cried for what they experienced and for the beauty of this true kind of love that was shared between two people, and also their friends.

To read the stories of love through war and hardship is a bittersweet experience. I am so moved by how much they would sacrifice for love, for the dedication and the beauty of something so true. And my heart also breaks when I compare that to how easily love often is thrown away in our modern society.

Lale and Gita’s story is one that will touch your heart and stay there for a long time. Heather Morris made their story come to life in the most beautiful way that felt very real and honest.

We need these stories. We need to be reminded of what happened so that we can be sure that it will not happen on that scale ever again!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a wonderful love story, but it is also so much more than that!

Highly, highly recommend!

5 stars

Do you want to make up your own opinion about the book?

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The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne – REVIEW

9781909531192I read this book on my Kindle.

Publisher: David Fickling Books

Publication date: January 5th, 2006

Pages: 224 (hardcover)

Audiobook length: 4 hrs and 56 min

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Synopsis by the publisher:

Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

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John Boyne

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The Review

“A profound and heartbreaking view on the Second World War from innocent and naive eyes.”

***

The Writing

This story is written from the perspective of a nine year old boy and Boyne did that really well. The voice was very innocent and convincing. The way he explained the surroundings and happenings throughout the book was very well written and made it easy to mentally paint a picture of it all.

The Characters

I really enjoyed Bruno as a character and the innocence of his voice. The way he sees what’s going on around him without understanding that there’s actually a war going on.

I also really enjoyed seeing the other family members through Bruno’s eyes, and especially his frustration with the older sister.

There are some other characters that really show the faces of both side of the war, but I wont say anything more about them, so that I don’t spoil the plot.

The Plot

I flew through this book, not because the pace was so fast but because the story was very captivating and interesting.

Even thought there were no very surprising plot twists it did had a nice build up, was very emotional and had a satisfiable ending.

Additional Thoughts

I’m a sucker for historical fiction (and non-fiction), and especially the ones that revolve around World War II. I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank as a little girl and it was one of those stories that grabbed such a strong hold on me that I’m still under its grip. It sparked my interest for reading and for knowing more about the war.

I think this book could definitely inspire other young readers to do the same.

A profound and heartbreaking view on the Second World War from innocent and naive eyes.

five-stars

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