Blog Tour: Half in Love With Death by Emily Ross

HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH

HILWD
Half in Love with Death
by Emily Ross
Publisher: Merit Press
Release Date: December 18th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

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Synopsis
It’s the era of peace and love in the 1960s, but nothing is peaceful in Caroline’s life. Since her beautiful older sister disappeared, fifteen-year-old Caroline might as well have disappeared too. She’s invisible to her parents, who can’t stop blaming each other. The police keep following up on leads even Caroline knows are foolish.The only one who seems to care about her is Tony, her sister’s older boyfriend, who soothes Caroline’s desperate heart every time he turns his magical blue eyes on her.Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess’s disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the runaways and flower children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we’ll find her together. Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so Caroline follows, and closes a door behind her that may never open again.Inspired by the disturbing case of Charles Schmid, ‘the Pied Piper of Tucson’, Half in Love with Death is a heartfelt thriller that never lets up.

Review:
I was a little iffy on this book when I first saw it. It didn’t look like something I’d be into, so I passed on it. Later, when I looked at the synopsis, I was very intrigued.

I took a chance with this book because normally historical fiction is not what I reach for when I want to read. However, after a slow start, this book hooked me in and did not let go of me the rest of the book. It was the kind of book you need to be patient with because it was a bit slow in the beginning and I found myself frustrated at both the pacing and the characters.

I think that’s why it took me so long to read a book that’s not even 300 pages.

Caroline was a fascinating character to me. She was maddening, but she also clearly loved her sister, so she was in a near constant state of conflict. Her parents were cold and distant with her. Maybe that was part of the 60’s parenting thing, I have no clue. Caroline also had boy problems. She had Billy, but she also starts falling for Jess’ boyfriend, Tony.

But is Tony innocent?

As the book continues, things get very creepy and questions begin to arise about Tony, about his friends and about whether or not Jess is actually in California like everyone else seems to think she is.

This book was a slow start, but it ended up being very enjoyable and it left me questioning everything and even wanting more after I finished reading it. I am giving it 4 stars because outside of the slow start, it was a VERY enjoyable book and I’m really glad I took a chance on it.

About the Author
EMILYROSS
Emily Ross’s YA mystery/thriller HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH is forthcoming from Merit Press(12/2015). She received a 2014 MCC Artist Fellowship finalist award for fiction, and is a graduate of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator program. When not writing she works as a web developer and is the mother of two millennials. Find out more at http://www.emilyrosswrites.com/ or https://twitter.com/emilyross816.

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Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog #1) by Anne Blankman

Book Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog #1)
Author: Anne Blankman
Release Date: April 22nd, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA/Historical
Series: Book 1 in Prisoner of Night and Fog trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she’s ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
Normally I hate any sort of historical fiction. I hated history in both high school and college and even now I find the subject of history to be totally boring. There’s one exception to that and that is the Hitler era. Yes, I am aware of the terrible things that he did. I am aware of the concentration camps and the gas chambers that he put Jewish people through. Of course that is terrible and heartbreaking. Yet, it’s those actions that make him so fascinating. So several months ago, when I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I had to have it. I didn’t dive into it right away because I had other books to read first.

I was coming off another YA book last week, when I realized that I could pick this book up. It was time. I was ready to be wowed. I knew that this book could either be amazing or horrible. As I opened the book, I held on to the hope that this book would fall under the category of amazing.

And it did.

Holy moly, this book was amazing and perfect and just so… awesome.

When we meet Gretchen, she is fiercely loyal to her “uncle” Dolf and to the memory of her father. It is said that her father died a martyr and through his death, Gretchen and her family  have become household names. Gretchen’s mother runs a boardinghouse and Gretchen’s brother, Reinhard, is an up and coming important member of Adolf Hitler’s plans.

Reinhard has always been awful to Gretchen and ever since her father passed away, her mother excuses Reinhard’s behavior some way or another. Gretchen knows that her brother is awful but it’s not until she sees him with other boys beating up on an old man, that she realizes how awful he is.

Meeting a Jewish boy changes things. Gretchen is now being forced to face the fact that her wonderful, kind father wasn’t simply killed. He was murdered. Gretchen cannot understand why. Nothing makes sense to her. Until she starts really listening to what her “uncle” Dolf is saying. Gretchen realizes that he is a lot more dangerous than she ever knew and that Reinhard is very much like him.

I hate saying this, but the arrival of Daniel Cohen ignites feelings that Gretchen had never really had before. She had been constantly told that Jews were bad and that they must be gone. But Gretchen never realized how exactly Adolf Hitler planned to do that. She had always been told that Jewish people were dirty and unclean, yet Daniel is kind and sweet and without even meaning to, Gretchen is falling hard for him. It scares her to fall for a Jew. Not only is she disobeying her once beloved Uncle Dolf, but she’s learning about creating her own life path.

Daniel is a wonderful guy who is willing to break down all of Gretchen’s walls and her preconceived notions about Jews. He is kind, gentle, respectful and it becomes clear that he’s falling for Gretchen though I bet my right arm, he never intended to fall for her. I rooted for this couple all the way through and that’s when I know that this couple is a good one. I don’t get behind every couple, and in fact I often like them better when they’re apart. Not Daniel & Gretchen. Yes, they’re opposites but they are also really good for each other.

The world building was amazing. I honestly felt like I was in Munich and I have never even been there before. It was like I was actually in the book and that was the best feeling of all. Making someone feel like they stepped into 1930’s Munich Germany is awesome and I admire an author who is able to give her readers that feeling. I love that the author did so much research and provided her sources in the end of the book. That’s a mark of an author who is committed to the book and wants to get everything as accurate as possible. 

I was so excited to find out that this book is the first in a trilogy. Cannot wait to see what happens next. I absolutely adored this book, I thought it was perfection and so it’s getting an easy 5 stars from me. I definitely recommend it. Even if you don’t like historical fiction, you should give it a try. I’ll definitely be ordering a finished copy of this book.

Review: All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry

Book Title: All The Truth That’s In Me
Author: Julie Berry
Publish Date: September 26th, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Genre: YA/Historical/Mystery
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Barnes & NobleAmazon
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever. This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.

Disclaimer: I received this book from ARCycling.

Review:
This book is one of those books that could definitely have benefited from better publicity and less hype. A lot of fellow bloggers enjoyed this book but I did not.The writing was strange.It wasn’t in verse format though that’s what I thought it was for a long time. I’m not even sure that this particular prose has a specific name to it and if it does, could someone tell me?

This book was publicized as a YA Mystery which I was really excited about as I absolutely love YA Mysteries. Unfortunately this turned out to be much more of a historical YA book which really disappointed me.I don’t like most historical fiction so I was really bored during most of this book. 

I was hoping that Judith would be an intriguing character and that I would want to find out more about her, but that just didn’t happen.I didn’t find any of the characters compelling, though I did love that there were horses in it. Though now that I think about it, most historical fiction books do include horses.

Sometimes when a book is different, it’s good different, but not this one. I didn’t enjoy this one at all and I kept hoping that it would end soon and put me out of my misery.I think if it had been written in straightforward prose, the book could have been a lot better. The book was promising and I was so excited for it.However it fell flat for me and that is why, for many reasons, I have to give it 1 star.