Thursday, October 5, 2017

Book Review: The Girl with the Red Balloon

Title The Girl with the Red Balloon
Series The Balloonmakers, book 1
Author Katherine Locke
Release Date September 1, 2017

When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.

In the spirit of complete honesty, I was hesitant to pick up The Girl with the Red Balloon. Though I've always had an insatiable curiosity about World War II and German history, I feel lukewarm towards time travel. Something, though, kept pulling me back to this book. I was intrigued, but also worried it would be a disappointment. When I caught it on sale, I threw caution to the wind and bought it. Best choice I've made in a long time.

The Girl with the Red Balloon is easily the best book I've read this year. It's a darker venture into YA that definitely pays off. This was a beautifully written fictionalized piece of Berlin history.

Skipping over how beautifully this was written and the interesting story line (because there are plenty of reviews that can talk about that stuff better than I can), this book made me feel things. That ending! My heart can't handle that kind of ending without a few tears. I want more. Like, I need more. Please.

I'm both glad to see that there's going to be a sequel, but also a bit sad as it's not a continuation of Ellie's story. If it's half as good as The Girl with the Red Balloon, though, it's going to be amazing. I can't wait.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Book Review: Only Wrong Once

Title Only Wrong Once
Author Jenifer Ruff
Release Date September 30, 2017

A sinister experiment outside Aleppo.

Two deaths: one in LA, one in Boston, each with the same horrific symptoms.

A powerful ISIS leader chooses an American-born microbiologist from the University of Damascus and manipulates him into doing the unthinkable: weaponize a deadly virus and recruit American citizens to disperse the disease.

In Charlotte, a lonely banker desperate for a more meaningful life receives increasingly urgent requests of Come Visit from his cousin in Syria. After losing his job and traveling overseas, will he become a willing participant in the inevitable terrorist plot?

In Los Angeles, FBI counterterrorism agent Quinn Traynor and his team receive a call from CDC agent, Madeline Hamilton. She’s discovered the first victim of a lethal, unfamiliar virus. Their joint investigation uncovers evidence of the imminent bio-terror attack and their only hope is to identify the terrorists carrying the disease. With just two days remaining before it’s too late, the FBI and the CDC race to prevent a pandemic. The ensuing nightmare will hit closer to home than they ever anticipated and one of them will pay an unimaginable price for protecting the country.

From secret jihadist bunkers in Syria to the city streets of Los Angeles, Boston, and Charlotte, Only Wrong Once is a chilling, internationally relevant suspense novel that will leave you reeling from the too-real prospect of a global terrorism nightmare.

Upon reading the blurb for Only Wrong Once, I was reminded of a book that I read last year called Phage. While the story is different in many ways, there's the common thread of bio-terrorism.

Only Wrong Once feels relevant in today's society. Jenifer Ruff expertly weaves a tale of religious men corrupted by hate with the personal tales of  the story's characters.

It took a few chapters for the story to find its momentum, in my opinion, but when it did it certainly took off. The desire to know what happens next kept me glued to this book. From beginning to end, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Just like Phage, I definitely recommend Only Wrong Once if you're looking for a realistic thriller.


* This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. *

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thursday Quotables (#5)

Thursday Quotables is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week. Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, you’re invited to join in! This weekly feature is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Dark Matter
Blake Crouch
“No one tells you it’s all about to change, to be taken away. There’s no proximity alert, no indication that you’re standing on the precipice. And maybe that’s what makes tragedy so tragic. Not just what happens, but how it happens: a sucker punch that comes at you out of nowhere, when you’re least expecting it. No time to flinch or brace.”
What were your favorite lines this week? Share your Thursday Quotables in the comments below and I'll be sure to stop by!