Title: Cilka’s Journey

Author: Heather Morris

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: St Martin’s Press

The Blurb

Her beauty saved her — and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival.

When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was send to Auschwitz when she was still a child?

In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka’s journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit—and the will we have to survive.

The Review

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a story that has stayed with me since I read it. Therefore, I was eager to read the sequel Cilka’s Journey. We met Cilka in The Tattooist of Auschwitz and we saw the terrible way she was treated and the choices that she had to make. In Cilka’s Journey we follow Cilka to a Siberian Gulag.

In my own ignorance I did not know that some of the Jewish prisoners were not freed when the war was over. Those who were given jobs in the camp – jobs they did for survival – were then seen as conspirators with the Nazi’s and ended up in prison. This story is heartbreaking. Again, it is a fictionalised account of a real events and that makes it all the more powerful.

This series of books really does highlight just how much there is still to learn about the injustice that they Jewish people suffered and how it still needs to be discussed.

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris is available now.

For more information regarding St Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Becoming

Author: Michelle Obama

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Viking

The Blurb

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America – the first African-American to serve in that role – she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it – in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations – and whose story inspires us to do the same.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

“When they go low, you go high.” – Michelle Obama.

I am a little bit in love with Michelle Obama. I think she is brilliant. I was really excited to read her biography but it took me a few months to pick it up. I am kind of glad of that because the hype had died down and I was able to enjoy reading it without everyone else’s thoughts buzzing around me.

Becoming is so deeply interesting. Michelle Obama has never stood in the shadow of Obama – partly I think that Barack Obama wouldn’t let her but more so because she is a feisty woman who is not just the previous FLOTUS but she is Michelle freaking Obama.

I genuinely loved this autobiography. Michelle is honest. She was candid about her thoughts about how she didn’t want Barack to run for president. It is lovely to watch their love story unfold. And it is one of the most inspiring reads I have read in a long time.

I really wish Michelle Obama would run for President.

Becoming by Michelle Obama is available now.

For more information regarding Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) please visit www.obama.org.

For more information regarding Viking (@VikingBooksUK) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: Nothing is Real – The Beatles were Underrated and Other Sweeping Statements About Pop

Author: David Hepworth

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Bantam Press

The Blurb

Pop music’s a simple pleasure. Is it catchy? Can you dance to it? Do you fancy the singer?

What’s fascinating about pop is our relationship with it. This relationship gets more complicated the longer it goes on. It’s been going on now for 50 years.

David Hepworth is interested in the human side of pop. He’s interested in how people make the stuff and, more importantly, what it means to us.

In this collection of essays written throughout his career, Hepworth shows how it is possible to take music seriously and, at the same time, not drain the life out of it. From the legacy of the Beatles to the dramatic decline of the record shop, from top tips for bands starting out to the bewildering nomenclature of musical genres, with characteristic insight and humour, he explores the highways and byways of this vast multiverse where Nothing Is Real and yet it is, emphatically and intrinsically so. Along the way he asks some essential questions about music and about life: is it all about the drummer; are band managers misunderstood; and is it appropriate to play ‘Angels’ at funerals?

As Pope John Paul II said ‘of all the unimportant things, football is the most important’. David Hepworth believes the same to be true of music and this selection of his best writing, covering the music of last fifty years, shows you precisely why.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

My two loves in life are books and music. Combine them and I am in literary and musical heaven. Nothing is Real by David Hepworth was a brilliant read that collected some of his previous articles. Reading his articles, I felt envious about his experiences but enjoyed getting to live vicariously through him…and I would love to go through his vinyl collection.

Nothing is Real – The Beatles were Underrated and Other Sweeping Statements About Pop by David Hepworth is available now.

For more information regarding David Hepworth (@davidhepworth) please visit www.davidhepworth.com.

For more information regarding Bantam Press (@BantamPress) please visit www.bantam.press.

Title: The Dilemma

Author: B A Paris

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: HQ Stories

The Blurb

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

One day that will change a family forever, The Dilemma is the breath-taking, heart-breaking new novel from the million-copy-selling, Sunday Times bestseller, B A Paris

The Review

Ooh this was a book with a difference. The Dilemma by BA Paris is a fascinating look at the responsibility of secrets and the duty that we have to those around us. It focuses on one family. Mum, Livia is about to turn 40; daughter, Marnie, is living abroad but is returning to surprise her mum; dad, Adam, is in cahoots with Marnie but is also finding his relationship with his son difficult. Alongside these characters lies the extended family who are also impacted by the secrets and lies.

In a weird sense nothing really happens in this book but equally lots of things happen. I think with the mix of one day of real time events with the series of flashbacks we get a fuller picture but nothing big or explosive happens throughout the majority of it which given that it is a thriller is something that we are expecting. It is exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat but it is not a thriller in the sense of high speed and guns. However, it is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The Dilemma by BA Paris is available now.

For more information regarding BA Paris (@BAParisAuthor) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding HQ Stories (@HQStories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: The Water Cure

Author: Sophie Mackintosh

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Grace, Lia and Sky live in an abandoned hotel, on a sun-bleached island, beside a poisoned sea. Their parents raised them there to keep them safe, to make them good. The world beyond the water is contaminated and men are the contamination. But one day three strangers wash ashore – men who stare at the sisters hungrily, helplessly. Men who bring trouble.

The Blurb

Ok. So I am not a huge fan of dystopian fiction. It really isn’t my go to genre. It is for this reason alone that I didn’t necessarily enjoy The Water Cure. It was well written and so this isn’t to disparage Sophie Mackintosh’s talent as a story teller because for the right audience this book will be brilliant. I think I need to stay away from dystopian fiction.

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh is available now.

For more information regarding Sophie Mackintosh (@fairfairisles) please visit www.sophiemackintosh.co.uk.

For more information regarding Penguin Books (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.