Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Update (Hurricane)

Due to hurricane preparations (and then possibly hurricane happenings/aftermath) Book Sp(l)ot
Reviews will be on a mini hiatus-ish.  

I hope that it will just be a few days and then everything will be back up and on schedule.

Stay safe everyone - and be careful!

(Remember, you can donate $10 to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts by texting REDCROSS to 90999.)

Waiting On Wednesday [@tricialevensell @FierceReads @FeiwelFriends]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:



DAUGHTER OF THE SIREN QUEEN by Tricia Levenseller

The capable, confident, and occasionally ruthless heroine of Daughter of the Pirate King is back in this action-packed sequel that promises rousing high seas adventures and the perfect dash of magic.

Alosa's mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he's under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father's justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.

In Daughter of the Siren Queen, Tricia Levenseller brings together the perfect mix of thrilling action, tense battle scenes, and a heart-pounding romance.


published February 27th by Feiwel & Friends

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


Why?


I loved, loved, loved Tricia Levenseller's Daughter of the Pirate King (my review) and am absolutely thrilled that we are getting more of Alosa's story!

The ending of the first book, both where the action itself ended and what we knew by the end of the characters, their relationships and their past (including Alosa's parents) really has me curious about what the second book has in store for us.





That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Hard to Get Into Books


This week's Ten:
10 Books I Struggled to Get Into
(Some/Most of Which I Ended Up Loving)


It's Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell
review + book info


The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon
Goodreads

Sanctuary Bay by Laura J Burns & Melinda Metz

Gathering Deep by Lisa Maxwell

City of Fae (#1) by Pippa DaCosta

Undertow (#1) by Michael Buckley

The Last Boy & Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

Alive by Chandler Baker

Joyride by Anna Banks


I only wanted to include books I had finished on this list so the tenth spot is for one of a few books I am stil reading right now!



Please leave a comment and let me know what books took you a while to get into but were worth it (or not) in the end!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Click'd ~ Tamara Ireland Stone (earc) review [@tamaraistone @DisneyHyperion]

Click'd
Disney Hyperion
September 07, 2017
208 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Allie Navarro can't wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. CLICK'D pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it's a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about CLICK'D.

Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone's making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone's secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt-all before she steps on stage to present CLICK'D to the judges?

New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone combines friendship, coding, and lots of popcorn in her fun and empowering middle-grade debut.

Click'd was such a fun but also heartfelt middle-grade novel. There is a great portrayal of Allie, a girl who loves her friends and their soccer tournaments but is willing to leave a summer of that behind to attend her 'computer camp.'  CodeGirls is even more than she had hoped it would be and she comes away from it not only with new friends, but also a great game: CLICK'D.

I loved that Allie loved coding and wasn't afraid to express that fact. It was something she enjoyed and, even if her school friends didn't understand it, she wasn't going to dial back her enthusiasm or pretend. For a seventh grader, really embracing something different that you like could be heard but she really was herself.

Allie's reaction to finding the glitch in CLICK'D was realistic but also made for a good story. The choices she made were understandable and, as a reader, you can agree with her or not, but see why doe did it.

I appreciated that Click'd was not full of quick fixes or instantly corrected wrongs. Both with relationships and when it came to the coding, solutions had to be figured out, tested and attempted. Sometimes they were the right and things were fixed. Sometimes it was more complicated. They was that the error in the coding might bring about a problem between people was smart and well done. All of the coding, the talk around the glitch, and how things work, etc was done well and used enough terms but without being overwhelming or losing readers who don't know code.

Click'd is a great middle grade debut from Tamara Ireland Stone with a great depiction of a girl who unabashedly loves coding - and is good at it. The author does a great job having the characters and their relationships and growth happen around and because of CLICK'D and its coding.










digital review copy received, from NetGalley, via publisher

Book Trailer Friday [@harperchildrens @isabelgreenberg @sethasfishman]

So, sure I'm nowhere near the target age of A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman and illustrated by Isabel Greenbery but I still love books that show us (and the littlest kids) just how large, how infinite the universe is. It may be impossible to really grasp the idea of a hundred billion trillion stars but isn't that why it's so amazing?




“This picture book is one in a gazillion.”—Jane O’Connor, the New York Times–bestselling author of the Fancy Nancy series

Did you know that the earth is covered in three trillion trees? And that seven billion people weigh about the same as ten quadrillion ants? Our world is full of constantly changing numbers, from a hundred billion trillion stars in space to thirty-seven billion rabbits on Earth. Can you imagine that many of anything?

The playful illustrations from New York Times–bestselling artist Isabel Greenberg and the friendly, straightforward voice of author Seth Fishman illuminate some of the biggest numbers in the universe—a hundred billion trillion stars—and the smallest—one unique and special YOU. Here is a book for story time, for science time, for math time, for bedtime, and all the times in between.

Perfect for curious children, classrooms eager for STEM content, and readers who have devoured Ada Twist, Scientist and How Much Is a Million?



September 12, 2017 // Greenwillow Books // 40 pages // Goodreads // Book Depository  // Amazon

Thursday, August 31, 2017

This Body Won't Break ~ Lea McKee (earc) review [@LeaLately @weapenry]

This Body Won't Break: Part One (O-Negative #1)
Amazon Digital Services
September 05, 2017
109 pages
add to Goodreads/buy Kindle edition


The truth doesn’t always set you free.

Orphaned as a child, Joanna has lived her entire life in the care of the New Terra Alliance. On the verge of turning eighteen, Joanna eagerly awaits her release into what remains of society.

It was a beautiful lie.

Joanna was never meant to leave. She is part of the August Harvest, slated to die before the month’s end. With a rogue soldier’s promise to find her a way out, Joanna dares to hope. But if the NTA finds out what she knows, it won’t only be her own life at stake, but the life of the handsome soldier who has vowed to set her free.

Fans of Divergent, The Darkest Minds, and The Handmaid’s Tale will love this dystopian story of twisted secrets, romance, and page-turning suspense.

This Body Won’t Break is Book One of The O-Negative Series and will be published in 3 Parts (each approx. 25k words in length). Parts will be published on the first Tuesday of every month.

Lea McKee's This Body Won't Break is the first of the O-Negative Series, with each of the three installments being approximately 25,000 words and each release the first Tuesday of the month (September through November). Part One if more like a Part One of a larger, longer novel than most first novels in a series. (Though if you have read Tomorrow Girls: Behind the Gates by Eva Gray, you'll know what to expect in terms of length and ending style.)

I was a bit curious how the shorter length would work, if it would really feel like a full story  and be enough to really get me invested in the story and characters. It absolutely was. We are introduced to Joanna, find out that she is an orphan and so was brought up the New Terra Alliance in Zone Three.

Jo's 'room' seemed a bit like the cell's on The 100 (but with less art)

Through Jo's preparation for release, we learn a bit about NTA and how it operates -- and it definitely left me wanting to see more of the society.

Jo is unaware of most of what we learn just by reading the book's description but being there as she discovers it makes for a great start of the series. The setting of the book, as Joanna is turning eighteen, leaving the place she's lived as long as she can remember, feels very natural and the transition makes a great place to start the O-Negative Series.

This Body Won't Break seemed very well written and does a really nice job of introducing us to the characters and the society but without any info dump. We learn little bits through things Jo does or thinks or says - and what she discovers or is told later on. It's both satisfying and leaves you wanting more. The basis of their world is logical and sensical enough that you can understand it but still unique and creative. The only, small, complaint I might have was that, at times, the book could be a little heavy on the metaphors. They were good ones, but there were places where there were a lot of them.

Between what Jo has learned about the NTA and her planned role, the characters we've met and how the story ended, I am very much looking forward to Part Two,  out October third.









review copy recieved, via NetGalley thanks to author and Weapenry

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@elsiechapman @abramskids]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:



ALONG THE INDIGO by Elsie Chapman
The town of Glory is famous for two things: businesses that front for seedy, if not illegal, enterprises and the suicides that happen along the Indigo River. Marsden is desperate to escape the “bed-and-breakfast” where her mother works as a prostitute—and where her own fate has been decided—and she wants to give her little sister a better life. But escape means money, which leads Mars to skimming the bodies that show up along the Indigo River. It’s there that she runs into Jude, who has secrets of his own and whose brother’s suicide may be linked to Mars’s own sordid family history. As they grow closer, the two unearth secrets that could allow them to move forward . . . or chain them to the Indigo forever.


published March 20th by Amulet Books

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


Why?

Elsie Chapman is one of those authors who I checked and checked for any new release from. I really enjoyed both Dualed and Divided and have been eager to see what there would b to read from her next.

I'm not quite sure what to make of the town of Glory - it sounds a bit like the Old West mixed with something dystopian mixed with a contemporary town. I loved the setting and atmosphere of Divided, that it was a recognizable environment but had an almost noir feeling at times. I am excited to read Along the Indigo, to see how the town operates, find out who Mars and Jude are and see how their story goes.



That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday ]@Merit_Press @EpicReads @seecatwrite @bloomsburykids @alyxandrah]


This week's Ten:
Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre:
for my picks X is YA Books


Court by Cat Patrick
Goodreads // review

Where People Like US Live by Patricia Cumbie
Goodreads


Love Me, Love Me Not by Alyxandra Harvey
Goodreads // review


Providence by Lisa Colozza Cocca
Goodreads // review


Bomb by Sarah Mussi
Goodreads // review

Silent Echoes by Carla Jablonski

The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett

One Life (Only You #2) by AJ Pine


Until We End by Frankie Brown


Fancy White Trash by Marjetta Geerling




Please leave a comment and let me know what 'hidden gem's you wish everyone else would read!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Moo ~ Sharon Creech review [@HarperChildrens @ciaobellacreech]

Moo
HarperCollins
August 29, 2017
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Fans of Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog and Hate That Cat will love her newest tween novel, Moo. This uplifting tale reminds us that if we’re open to new experiences, life is full of surprises. Following one family’s momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow.

When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna—and that stubborn cow, Zora.

This heartwarming story, told in a blend of poetry and prose, reveals the bonds that emerge when we let others into our lives.

Even if you are beyond the Middle Grade novel reading age, you really may want to read Sharon Creech's new release, Moo.

Moo alternates between verse and short chapters of prose to tell Reena's story. A city girl who is used to the bustle of urban life, of museums and public transportation and people all around, Reena isn't expecting her family to decide to move to rural Maine. Even if it may have, technically, been her idea.

Things in their new home are quite different - and not exactly like what she's read about or seen in books. Reena and her brother Luke don't know what to do when their parents volunteer them to help Mrs Falala - and her animals.

One of the things I most appreciated about Moo was that it gave readers a look at both city life and r rural life but without making one look better than the other. If you are more familiar with open fields and livestock than subways, you can enjoy seeing Maine, the cows, the animals and that life through someone just experiencing it. If youwith two're like Reena and may not have ever seen a cow in person, you can experience things with her.

The author does a really fantastic job putting her characters into a new, very unfamiliar setting, with equally new and unfamiliar experiences but Reena's enjoyment or discovery of the new is not at the expense of the old.

Moo is a sweet, funny, possibly educational (depends how much you knew or didn't know about cows) read. Reena's relationships with her parents and her brother Luke, the beginnings of her life in Maine, and caring for Zora all make for a great read for MG readers and beyond.








finished copy received, for review consideration, from publisher

Friday, August 25, 2017

Book Trailer Friday [@katharinemcgee @epicreads]

This week I wanted to share the 'Epic Reads Explains' trailer for The Thousandth Floor Series by Katharine McGee. The Thousandth Floor was released last August and the second book, The Dazzling Heights will be out on Tuesday, the 29th.



about The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2):

New York City, 2118. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible – if you want it enough.

Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a beacon of futuristic glamour and high-tech luxury… and to millions of people living scandalous, secretive lives.

Leda is haunted by nightmares of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’s afraid the truth will get out – which is why she hires Watt, her very own hacker, to keep an eye on all of the witnesses for her. But what happens when their business relationship turns personal?

When Rylin receives a scholarship to an elite upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being here also means seeing the boy she loves: the one whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is grappling with the reality of her forbidden romance – is there anywhere in the world that’s safe for them to be together?

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who’s arrived in New York with a devious goal in mind – and too many secrets to count.

Here in the Tower, no one is safe – because someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, you’re always only one step away from a devastating fall….



August 29, 2017 // HarperCollins // 432 pages // Goodreads // Book Depository // Amazon

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@goelman @mackidsbooks]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:



THE INNOCENCE TREATMENT by Ari Goelman

You may believe the government protects you, but only one girl knows how they use you.

Lauren has a disorder that makes her believe everything her friends tell her--and she believes everyone is her friend. Her innocence puts her at constant risk, so when she gets the opportunity to have an operation to correct her condition, she seizes it. But after the surgery, Lauren is changed. Is she a paranoid lunatic with violent tendencies? Or a clear-eyed observer of the world who does what needs to be done?

Told in journal entries and therapy session transcripts, The Innocence Treatment is a collection of Lauren's papers, annotated by her sister long after the events of the novel. A compelling YA debut thriller that is part speculative fiction and part shocking tell-all of genetic engineering and government secrets, Lauren's story is ultimately an electrifying, propulsive, and spine-tingling read.


published October 17th by Roaring Brook Press

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


Why?

I really love novels that are told through journals or transcripts or other writings, not quite epistolary novels (though I love those, too) but not straight first or third person narration, either. I like the insight it can give us into the characters but also the things it is able to leave out that a regular narration would not. It can make for a very compelling read.

I also like stories where what the character believes or remembers so impacts how they see and react to the world.  Whether they're the only ones seeing the truth  or they're seeing things that aren't there (literally or metaphorically). It not only poses intruging questions, but you can't be sure, usually, of what hte truth really is.

I loved Angie Smibert's Memento Nora a few years ago and, while they're very different sounding stories, it also sounds like they have some similar themes so I think I'll really enjoy reading it.




That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Other Girl ~ Erica Spindler (earc) review [@StMartinsPress @EricaSpindler]

The Other Girl
St Martin's Press
August 22, 2017
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

From the NYT bestselling author comes a chilling new thriller about a ritualistic murder of a college professor that sends a small town cop back into the trauma she thought she’d put behind her.

Officer Miranda Rader of the Hammond PD in Louisiana is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis—but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from Jasper, just south of Hammond, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to leave the girl she used to be behind and earn respect in her position as an officer.

However, when Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the gruesomeness of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about a terrible night from her long-buried past. Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop, and not just any cop—Clint Wheeler, the cop who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common—except Miranda. 14 years ago.

And when her fingerprints turn up at the scene of the first murder, Miranda once again finds herself under the microscope, her honesty and integrity doubted, her motivations questioned. Alone again, the trust of her colleagues shattered, Miranda must try to trust the instincts she’s pushed down for so long, and decide what’s right—before it’s too late.


The Other Girl really surprised me. I usually love mysteries where either I do not know who the culprit is or, if I do, it's because we also get things from their point of view. With The Other Girl, it seemed like I was going to know from nearly the beginning who the killer was.

I liked Miranda, though and wanted to see how her past played into her present and the investigation so I did keep reading. Which was the absolute right thing to do because how it seemed like I had it figured out? Erica Spindler made me question that assumption more than once (more than probably a dozen times, actually).

Even as you're trying to figure out who committed the murders - and why - you are have to wonder if Miranda is going to make it through the investigation. Will she be suspected? Why? To what extent? Will she be able to pice things together in time? Is she safe? How is that night, fourteen years ago, a part of this?

I thought I knew what was coming with The Other Girl, that  I didn't. This novel makes you suspect  characters you thought you liked, like characters you thought you suspected and still surprises you when the truth is, finally, uncovered.

I enjoyed that we knew what Miranda said about her teenaged self before actually saw the events and how they unfolded. Having it from her perspective (before experiencing it) helps the reader to more connect with present day Miranda, who she is, where her head is and who she's trying to prove herself to be (and why).

The author does a great job having Miranda deal with aspects of her past - both from that night and beyond - that she thought she had left behind and moved on from. Things work together nicely to not only aid her character, but to aid the investigation as well.  Her character, her past and her present are tied together in wonderful (but painful and frightening) ways. The Other Girl is a mystery wrapped up in our main character and her past, in ways neither she, nor the reader, first realize; it is a surprising and satisfying mystery read.










digital review copy received, from publisher, via NetGalley

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Breakdown ~ BA Paris (earc) review [@BAParisAuthor @StMartinsPress]

The Breakdown
St Martin's Press
July 18, 2017
328 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

After reading B.A. Pari's Behind Closed Doors, I was excited to read her new novel. The Breakdownwas even more of a thrilling read than I had anticipated; the mystery and the tension are a step above that first book. Whereas in Behind Closed Doors you knew where the danger was coming from but not how or when (or even to what extent), here you aren't even sure if there is danger, if it's real or imagined. Nor do you know who or where it's coming from, when it'll happen or or how.

The Breakdown absolutely keeps you guessing, almost to that very last page.

From the start, the book gives you reasons to doubt characters, sometimes it seems they're up to something nefarious, others you don't know if you can trust their interpretation of things, or their memory of them. Even when it seems like pieces are coming together and some of the mystery has been solved, you have to second guess it all. When your main character is forgetting things (lots of things), you don't know how much of her deductions and recollections can really be counted on.

When you aren't sure how much you can rely on your narrator, even the most troubling seeming events or statements have to be questioned.

Are things really happening as Cas sees them? Or is there a much more innocent explanation?

B.A. Paris really put her characters through it. As soon as you think that she surely can't make them go through anything more, she does. It's that fact, that the author doesn't hold back and isn't afraid of being, really, quite horrible to her characters, that makes the mystery so thrilling - and rewarding. The characters are capable of so much more than one would think -- both in what they can do to each other and what they can survive.

The Breakdown is an exciting, thrilling read, a mystery with more twists and turns and surprises than you'll ever see coming, fantastic characters and a great title. Now, I am really looking forward to Book 3 from B.A. Paris, Bring Me Back.




Other Books You May Also Enjoy: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (buy), The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (buy) and Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson (buy)






digital copy received for review, from NetGalley, via publisher

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Trailer Friday [@epicreads @KendareBlake]

The second book in the Three Dark Crowns series (Three Dark Crowns came out last year), One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) will be released next month. Here is the book trailer:




The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.




Harper Teen // September 19, 2017 // 464 pages // Goodreads // Book Depository // Amazon

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Escape from Camp 14 ~ Blaine Harden review [@VikingBooks] (repost)

This is a repost of an earlier published Book Sp(l)ot Reviews review. (The original post.)


Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
Viking Adult
March 29, 2012
224 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

The only person known to have been born and raised in one of North Korea's prison camps and then escape* (others, brought to them have been released after some years), Shin Dong-hyuk lived more than two decades in North Korea's Camp 14.

Estimates have between 150,00-200,000 people living in North Korea's political prison camps. Isolated, starving, routinely beaten and cut-off even from the rest of their country, those living in these camps know very little (if anything) of the outside world. While most in North Korea are taught of South Korea and the United States' evil, growing up in Camp 14, though, Shin heard none of this. Expected to work long 15 hour days from a young age (10-year-olds worked together to push two-ton coal cars up a hill), prisoners subsisted (just barely) on corn, cabbage and salt.

Beatings were routine - from the guards, from family members, from other prisoners - and life was beyond hard, everyone sold everyone else out.

It would be no wonder that people wanted to escape. But few seemed to dream of it and even fewer try. Those, like Shin, who has always known this life didn't know there was a better world - with more food, something called love and friendship and trust. Not only that, the consequence for escape, attempting it, or even talking about it made it, often too dangerous: death.

Until the idea for escape did form in his mind. And he acted on it.


While the reading level of Escape from Camp 14 is not difficult (especially compared to many nonfiction books), it's the content that makes reading Shin's story hard at times.

Harden admits, quite frequently, that there is not, truly, a way to fact check Shin's story. He can't go to the camp and do interviews, he can't call anyone up and ask them questions, he can't even go into North Korea. While this does make the reader slightly dubious of Shin's story - especially when it's acknowledged that the story has changed in some dramatic places - the tale has been vetted in a way. Other memoirs have been published about people's experiences in the camps (those that were released or former guards) and different groups have led investigations/inquiries. These individuals and groups do contend that Shin's recollections are  in line with what happens in the prison camps. He has the physical scars, as well.

Harden's background as a reported and knowledge of the area adds some great extra information to the book. I learned a lot more about not only North Korea and its politics, history, and practices but also about South Korea and China as well (including their relationships with North Korea and its defectors).

While Shin's life and the life of those in Camp 14 was so separate from what was happening elsewhere in North Korea, it was very nice to know what was happening concurrently in the rest of the country.

The book doesn't wait for a nice, neat ending; it shows us how Shin's life is today. How he's adjusting to life, learning about being a regular human being whose life is not completely controlled, under constant threat of violence by prison guards. I wish him well.





*This according to the book, the synopsis on Goodreads makes it sound as if there are others, so if my review is wrong, I apologize. I'm basing it on the text of the book.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...