Outcry by Manny Steinberg

Manny Steinberg spent 6 years, from age 13 to age 19, in a ghetto in Poland and then in various concentration camps. Outcry is his story. I’ve read a lot of Holocaust survivor memoirs and I always ask myself how in the world did they survive. There are two common threads. One, they are determined to make it to liberation for some specific reason. For some that is to help a younger sibling, for others, like Mr. Steinberg, it is to be a witness about what happened. Two, there is always a kind German. A German who was only a Nazi because of the country where he was born. A German who disagreed with the Nazi philosophy, but knew they’d be shot, and maybe their family, too, if that was made known. And, so, they gave a few extra crumbs of bread or stopped a beating when no more could be withstood. I think that’s one of the most important takeaway from these memoirs and why they are so important. We need to be that kind German. In writing Outcry, Mr. Steinberg succeeded in his goal to be a witness. Well-written and quick to read, this is a book everyone should read so we will remember and never let such a thing happen again.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 137
Pages Read in 2017: 37,185
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (O in OPAL)

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Filed under Memoir

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson

Emma’s just moved to a new state with her nieces. She’s struggling but can’t handle taking help from others. Kevin is a pediatric dentist who likes things just so and jumps to conclusions about people. When Emma and the girls move in next door, his life totally changes.

Prejudice Meets Pride is an excellent mind vacation book. It’s predictable in all the ways you want a beach read to be predictable. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read something fast and fun.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 136
Pages Read in 2017: 37,009
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (P in OPAL)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction

My School is a Spy Factory by Steven Stickler

Nate Fischer can’t even tell his parents what he’s learning in school. He’s a sixth grader at a school that secretly trains spies. He gets sent on a critical mission to save his school from the Syndicate, but there’s a double agent on the mission, too.

My School is a Spy Factory is a pretty exciting book. My 9-year-old especially enjoyed it. It’s great for kids to read on their own and also makes an excellent family read aloud.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 135
Pages Read in 2017: 36,762
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Bedtime Story for the Boys

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Appaloosa Summer by Tudor Robins

Meg is devastated when her horse dies of a ruptured artery right under her. She decides to spend the summer on an island working at a B&B. There, she begins training an appaloosa mare and meets an amazing guy, too.

Appaloosa Summer is a sweet story. Sometimes the conversations didn’t sound realistic and there were a handful of editing mistakes. I didn’t enjoy the parts giving the details about training the horse, but I am sure a horse lover would like it. I recommend this book to YA fans and people who love horses.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 134
Pages Read in 2017: 36,590
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (A in OPAL)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Young Adult

Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco

Jodee Blanco was bullied through about half of her school years. She was told kids will be kids and that there was something wrong with her. Years later, she went to her high school reunion and discovered, like many bullies, her tormentors had no idea that what they did was a big deal or how it had affected her. Please Stop Laughing at Me is Jodee’s story. It’s sometimes shocking, but also sometimes familiar. It’s a huge reminder that our actions affect others, and often in ways we never realize. I recommend this book for anyone who has children or deals with kids on a regular basis.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 133
Pages Read in 2017: 36,342
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (P in SAPPHIRE)

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Filed under Non-Fiction

Salt to the Sea by Ruth Sepetys

The sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff near the end of World War II was one of the worst maritime disasters in history. Salt to the Sea tells the story through four different points of view. Joana is a Lithuanian nurse, Emilia is a pregnant Polish teenager, Florian is an injured Prussian opposed to the Nazis smuggling a treasure, and Alfred is a Nazi soldier who thinks he is more important than he really is. The characters are very well-developed and I really cared what happened to them. I very highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in World War II and people who enjoy historical fiction.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 132
Pages Read in 2017: 36,036
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (S in SAPPHIRE)

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Filed under Historical Fiction

Embryo by JA Schneider

Jill, an obstetrical intern, discovers a pattern among maternal and newborn complications at the hospital where she works. Her superiors tell her in no uncertain terms she is wrong and to give up her search to find what is going on.

I literally could not put Embryo down and so I finished it around 1am. It is fast-paced and well written. I was pretty surprised at who the culprit was, though looking back I could see the signs. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys medical thrillers!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 131
Pages Read in 2017: 35,634
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (E in SAPPHIRE)

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Filed under Thriller