Book Review – The Book Thief

Hey ya’ll!! Welcome back to my first book review of the year (and my first one since November)! I’ve said it a few times now, but I’m going to start working on posting reviews more frequently maybe if I say it enough it’ll become reality. Honestly, I kind of miss writing them, and hopefully I’ll keep it up from here.

Today, I’ll be reviewing one of my favorite books of 2019, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Published: December 18th 2007

Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, Coming of Age

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary: It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Review Summary:

This was a really emotional coming-of-age book set in Nazi Germany during World War II. It has a really unique narrator who follows the life of Liesel, after the death of her little brother, and her placement in a foster home. Originally, it was slow, but towards the second half, I was really attached to all the characters, and I loved the story. The ending hit me so hard even though I knew it was coming.

Quote: “The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.”

*Characters. I love the characters. They were real and so wholesome. Liesel, Rudy, Mama, Papa, the Mayor’s wife, all the characters on Himmel street played a role in making this book what it is. Death as well, was a phenomenal narrator, and it was so interesting seeing the story from his point of view. I loved the relationships between each of the characters, and how they loved each other, despite Mama seeming really harsh. She still loved Liesel so much, and it made me feel so warm and happy to see all of their interactions with one another. Rudy was hilarious, mischievous, and very much a saukerl. Papa was kind, patient, and adoring. Mama was harsh, loud, but still loving underneath. The Mayor’s wife was quiet, kind, and so lonely. All of them supported Liesel in their own way, and I loved reading about their lives.

*Death. Having death as a narrator was different and really interesting. It was sad, it was painful, and I sympathized with him so much. One thing I didn’t expect was for me to like having him as a narrator. He’s not this gloomy cruel thing that loves death. He had feelings. He was real. You could feel the sorrow and sadness coming from him. It made me sad that he had to see so much horror and that he had such a depressing job.

*Story. I like how the story moved through the years, pointing out the big events, and mentioning the small ones as well. It was a coming of age over several years, and even though the pacing was slow to start, I got used to it later on and I didn’t want it to end. I just wanted their story to continue, to see all the mischief and adventures that Rudy and Liesel would have, to see them grow up and grow old. It was so heartfelt and I loved it.

Quote: “I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

*Max. Max was really interesting. What happened to him was horrible, but I’m glad that he still survived, that he found a family with the Hubermanns. I’m also glad that he found a way to express himself, and that he became Liesel’s reading companion. There’s so much power and beauty in words, and instead of falling into depression, or chronically over stressing, he wrote his story and stayed the strong despite the bleakness of his situation.

*Books. The book starts off with Liesel stealing a grave digger’s handbook, and it becomes a passion of hers. She has Papa teach her how to read, and as the years pass, she swipes books when she can to read some more. She meets the Mayor’s wife while doing laundry for her, and discovers a library full of so many books. The best thing is that the Mayor’s wife lets her come and read, which makes Liesel’s knowledge and power with words grow. I’m glad that books held such a special place in Liesel’s heart.

*Message. This book has several messages, and all of them are so important. Nazi Germany was a horrible time, and I loved how the Hubermanns, and Liesel, fought Hitler in their own way. They hid a Jew, showed sympathy to other Jews despite the severe consequences, and used Hitler’s own powerful device, words, to fight and tell their own story. This was about giving them a voice, when they didn’t have any. This was about doing what’s right, even when your whole country, your own son, is against you. It also offered a new perspective, because this was the first time that I’ve read a book about a non-Jewish German family hiding a Jew in their own home. It’s about the horrors of war, of the Holocaust, and how it can affect one small family that just wants to stay far away from it. And I absolutely loved it.

*Ending. That ending punched me so. hard. It still hurts to think about it. You know it’s coming, you get warned beforehand, but I still spent a few hours crying, feeling so much pain and sadness for all these amazing characters.

Quote: “Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”

*Slow. Starting out, it was slow, and I was a little impatient because of it. But once I got used to the pacing, and I began to like the characters, I didn’t care that it kind of dragged anymore.

Quote: “He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.”

In the end, I loved this, I would highly recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! The characters are so interesting, and it was so heartwarming to read about their lives. The ending shattered me. Great job to Zusak for absolutely destroying my heart.

One sentence summary: A heartbreaking and important historical fiction novel with amazing characters and books.

Overall, 5 shining stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

That’s it for today! I’m working on my Monthly Wrap-Up post, so you can expect that either tomorrow or Thursday.

Have you read The Book Thief? What did you think? Am I the only one who fell in love with Mama as the story progressed? What are some of your favorite World War II books? Chat with me in the comments below!!

Vengeful by V. E. Schwab – Review

Good morning everyone! Welcome back! I hope you are having a great week so far. Today I’m going to be reviewing Vengeful by V. E. Schwab. This was an amazing sequel with wonderful characters and an intriguing plot.

Book: Vengeful

Author: V. E. Schwab

Rating: ★★★★★

Summary: Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.


Quote: “I don’t want to survive. I want to thrive.”

*Victor. I’ve always loved Victor because he’s not necessarily the good guy. He’s more like the lesser of two evils, which makes him a very interesting character. He doesn’t have the same views of what is right and wrong, nor does he particularly care about the suffering of others at his hands. But he’s still a good guy, with a good heart, no matter how small it is. He cares and loves certain people, and he isn’t drawn by a desire to kill just for the fun of it, or to rule, or whatever it is that makes people become evil. And that is what makes him a phenomenal anti-hero. This was much more evident in this book, and I loved seeing what he does and why, and seeing him care about Mitch and Sydney.

*Eli. We get a whole new side of Eli in this book, and despite the fact that I want to hate him viciously (no pun intended lol), I really can’t because we get his backstory. We learn what happened to him as a kid, what made him what he is today. It’s traumatizing, and it made me want to sympathize and feel sorry for him.

*Sydney & Mitch. The small family moments were amazing, and I love how much of a dad Mitch is. He may be big and intimidating, but he is such a softy on the inside, and his love for Syd is so heart-warming. Sydney was also pretty interesting, and I understood her want to have a friend, to have someone to talk to and trust. It broke my heart to see how much she missed Serena and wanted her back.

*Marcella and June. Marcella is terrifying. Terrifying. She’s probably insane and a little too vengeful. I’m pretty sure the book was named after her desire to take revenge on all the men who’d belittled her in life. June was an interesting character, and there were many unanswered questions about who she was. I loved her ability (she’s a shape-shifter), and her loyalty to Sydney even though it isn’t explained why. Hopefully it will be in the third book! if there is a third

*Plot. This was so fast paced especially at the end and I loved the suspense through-out. That ending was amazing, and also pretty sad.


Quote: “Perhaps she was glass. But glass is only brittle until it breaks. Then it’s sharp.”

*Timelines. This confused me in the first book, and it still kind of confused me in this one as well. It’s a little hard to keep straight when it’s flip flopping over the years, but once you get the hang of it, it makes a lot of sense.


Quote: “Maybe we are broken. But we put ourselves back together. We survived. That’s what makes us so powerful. And as for family—well, blood is always family, but family doesn’t always have to be blood.”

I really loved this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! The characters and plot were amazing, and I love how we got to see another side of Eli, while also being introduced to a new and terrifying villain.

One sentence summary: A great sci-fi thriller with amazing characters and an intriguing plot.

Overall, 5 splendid stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Chat with me

That’s it for this review! Have you read Vengeful? What did you think? Did Marcella terrify you, while making you feel some respect for her? What’s your favorite V.E. or Victoria Schwab book? Chat with me in the comments below!

Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle – Review

Hello and welcome! Today I’m going to be reviewing Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle. This was a good thriller, but I was also disappointed since it was pretty obvious who the bad guy was.

Book: Three Days Missing

Author: Kimberly Belle

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: the call that comes in the middle of the night.

When Kat Jenkins awakens to the police on her doorstep, her greatest fear is realized. Her nine-year-old son, Ethan, is missing—vanished from the cabin where he’d been on an overnight field trip with his class. Shocked and distraught, Kat rushes to the campground where he was last seen. But she’s too late; the authorities have returned from their search empty-handed after losing Ethan’s trail in the mountain forest.

Another mother from the school, Stef Huntington, seems like she has it all: money, prominence in the community, a popular son and a loving husband. She hardly knows Kat, except for the vicious gossip that swirls around Kat’s traumatic past. But as the police investigation unfolds, Ethan’s disappearance will have earth-shattering consequences in Stef’s own life—and the paths of these two mothers are about to cross in ways no one could have anticipated.

Racing against the clock, their desperate search for answers begins—one where the greatest danger could lie behind the everyday smiles of those they trust the most.


*Thriller. This is every parent’s worst nightmare: getting a visit from the cops in the middle of the night telling you that your child is missing. And that’s what happens to Kat Jenkins. I liked how the plot was instantly tense from the beginning, even if it was a little slow, and created a lot of anticipation as the clock ticked and Ethan still remained missing. It was also interesting to see how Stef and her family fit into the story. It made me want to continue reading, to find out what happens, even though I was pretty sure I knew the identity of the kidnapper.

*Characters. I really felt so much for Kat, and I actually grew to like Stef, even though at first she annoyed me. Kat’s fear and emotions were so real and I understood her struggle and frustration with everyone. Stef’s role in the matter, combined with her anxiety and struggle to connect with her son, were also very interesting and heartfelt to read. I also really liked Lucas and his loyalty and love for Kat and Ethan. He truly is Kat’s brother in ever way but blood.


*The reveal of the kidnapper. It was really disappointing because the moment the character was introduced earlier in the book, I knew it was them. So the reveal was pretty underwhelming. But, it was still interesting to know why Ethan was taken and how everything had gone so horribly wrong.

*Ethan. I actually liked Ethan and his relationship with his mom, but it kind of annoyed me that he had such a high IQ. Lately, it seems like most thrillers that involves a kid, is about a kid who is “different” or really “smart” or unlike other kids. It’s starting to become cliche at this point, and I don’t see why Ethan couldn’t be a regular kid. And even if he had a high IQ, it didn’t need to be mentioned so many times.


I liked this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! The characters were interesting, the plot build-up was great, and even though I knew who the kidnapper was, I was still a little thrilled by the ending.

One sentence summary: An interesting thriller with great characters and an underwhelming reveal.

Overall, 4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Chat with me

Have you read Three Days Missing? What did you think? Have you read any other books by Kimberly Belle? Do you find it annoying when the main kid in the story has a high IQ or is “unlike other kids”? Chat with me in the comments below!

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – Review

Good morning and welcome my friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. Today, I shall be reviewing Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. This was an interesting retelling of Mulan, I really liked Maia and Edan, and the plot was really good.

Book: Spin the Dawn

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.


Quote: “Seize the wind,” I whispered. “Don’t become the kite that never flies.”

*Maia. Maia was fierce, independent, and determined to make a place for herself in a world dominated by men and I loved her. Her loyalty to her family, her strength in the face of all those who tried to end her, and the lengths to which she went to save her father’s business and become the Imperial tailor were extraordinary and I was so proud of her for that. The flashbacks that she had of her family before the war were so sad, and I missed them as much as she did.

*Edan. Edan is over 500 years old, but who cares? He still seemed to be an annoying teenager, and I loved him for him for being that obnoxious and annoying but also pretty wise guy. Him and Maia bickering and arguing was amazing, and the lengths that he went to save and protect her was so sweet. His past was also heartbreaking, and it just made me want to hug his annoying self and make everything okay.

*Lady Sarnai. We don’t get much of her, but I think she’s an awesome character. Yes, she’s the villain, yes, she’s beyond cruel, but I felt so sorry for her, especially after Maia found her crying, and I really hope that she has some sort of character arc in the next book. It would be awesome, because she also kind of challenged the patriarchy in her own way, creating terror wherever she went, and I secretly wish that she and Maia become friends.

*Book in general. I loved the plot, the world-building, and the writing. I’m not one for flowery writing, but I really liked it here. The world was beautiful, and I liked the inclusion of magic and demons, and how everything was set up (minus the scissors, more on that below). It was really interesting and new. The plot, and Maia’s quest to sew three gowns from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars was super amazing. The ending didn’t really shock me, but I’m kind of excited to see what happens in the next book.

*Mulan Retelling. This had so many elements of Mulan and I loved it. Mulan is probably my #1 favorite Disney movie, and there are a bunch of similarities between Spin the Dawn and Disney Mulan (in my opinion). Some people have said that it’s not really that similar beyond Maia dressing up as a boy, BUT, a friend of mine has pointed out that it is more similar to the original ballad and she listed the evidence in her review.


Quote: “Sometimes we must let go of what we value for the future of our country.”

*Calm down please! Maia and Edan couldn’t get their hands off of each other after ~60% and it was a bit annoying to continuously read about. I mean, I’m glad they’ve finally confessed all these feelings, and all that tension is over, but calm down a bit please??

*Magical Scissors. How the scissors work is beyond me. Maia paints with scissors, sews with the scissors, and cuts, and creates completely different things with the scissors. How? Does she cut the fabric and it stitches and paints itself in its wake? Or does she wave the scissors over it and it creates on its own? How does the scissors sew?? I’d have loved for this to be explained a bit more.

*Ending. The ending didn’t wow me, which was pretty disappointing. I didn’t really feel anything, and just continued reading, and was like “oh well, it’s over”. But I am a bit excited for the second book, so it wasn’t completely horrible. I was kind of expecting something that would hurt and rip my heart out, but it was nothing like that for me.


Quote: “You will hold the seams of our family together, Maia. No other tailor in the world can do that.”

In the end, I really liked this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! Maia’s courage, Edan’s obnoxiousness, Lady Sarnai’s cruelty, and the plot were super great. Besides the scissors, the disappointing end, and the excess touching and kissing, this was a pretty great fantasy, and I wouldn’t mind reading more about these characters in the next book.

One sentence summary: A great fantasy with awesome characters, and a few flaws.

Overall, 4 amazing stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read Spin the Dawn? What did you think? Were you also intrigued by the great Lady Sarnai? Do you think she and Maia might somehow become friends? Did the huge age difference between Edan and Maia bother you? Am I the only one who was disappointed by that ending? Chat with me in the comments below!

The Victim of the System by Steve Hadden – Review

Welcome back friends! I hope you are having a great day! Today, I’m going to be reviewing The Victim of the System by Steve Hadden. This was an okay thriller, but I didn’t really like the characters, and I found some the twists unbelievable. I was given a free copy of this book by Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.

Book: The Victim of the System

Author: Steve Hadden

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Summary: Twenty-two years ago, Ike Rossi’s life was shattered when his parents were murdered. He surrendered his football scholarship and returned home to find their killer and raise his sister. Now, the crime of a local ten-year-old genius, Jack Cole, threatens to unearth old wounds.

When Ike meets Jack inside the Pittsburgh courthouse, he doesn’t see a murderer but instead a boy who’s been victimized by a system that’s left them both without justice. Despite knowing the case will resurrect the painful demons of his parents’ unsolved murders, Ike agrees to clear Jack’s name. The court of public opinion and the district attorney have an airtight case. Worse, taking Jack’s side thrusts Ike into the crosshairs of the most powerful family in Pittsburgh, the Falzones.

Now, with only days before the trial, Ike confronts the Falzones’ crumbling empire to find the shocking evidence that could save Jack. At the same time, he races to decipher a series of cryptic clues from Jack’s dead father that could hold the key to his son’s freedom. But each step closer to the truth draws them further into danger, and as three fractured families collide, Ike is forced to choose between saving Jack—and saving himself.

This was a disappointing book. I liked the thriller aspect and the mystery of what Nick Falzone was trying to hide, and how the pacing picked up towards the end. However, I felt that some of the characters were unrealistic, the really minor romance aspect was predictable, and some of the twists at the end were really unbelievable.

Ike Rossi is a former, yet still famous, quarterback who is currently a private investigator. He also has a secret career as a formidable boxer. I was a bit skeptical of Ike and never really warmed to him. I liked his sister and Mac a little bit, but as the story continued, they became less involved in the story. I felt like the fact that Ike is famous, and apparently one of the best PIs (so much so that he frightens the Falzones), and also a tough unbeatable boxer was unnecessary. It seemed kind of convenient for him to be this super hero guy who never backs down and always does what is right. When he meets Jack, he has an internal battle because he wants to help him, but already has a prior contract. But he ends up doing the right and honorable thing and helps Jack out.

Jack was okay, I didn’t really care about him, and I was a little annoyed by the fact that he is “special” and very smart. His aunt, Lauren, really annoyed me. She is demanding, rude, and I absolutely loathed her when she yelled at Ike for refusing to take the job, and when he left later on. She had no right to do so, especially when he had a prior commitment, and it annoyed me that her self-centered (or well, it’s more for Jack) attitude, and little speech about “real commitment” was one of the reasons why Ike took the case. I really hated her character. The tiny romance aspect between Ike and Lauren did not help matters at all. It could have been eliminated, and the story would have been fine.

The Falzones were interesting, and I kind of liked Shannon. The dynamics between the two halves of the family and the increasing tension added to the suspense and intrigue.

The ending was okay, however, some of the twists thrown in did not make sense at all and they weren’t fully explained. The ending was going really great until those twists happened.

In the end, this was a meh thriller with disappointing characters, and some unbelievable twists.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

You can read a much more positive review here before deciding! Have you read The Victim of the System? What did you think? What was the last thriller that you read? Chat with me in the comments below!