Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar – BOOK REVIEW

36576005Title: Auschwitz Lullaby
Author: Mario Escobar
Publication Date & Publisher: August 7, 2018, Thomas Nelson
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Length: 304 pages
ISBN: 9780785219958
My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

In 1943 Germany, Helene is just about to wake up her children to go to school when a group of policemen break into her house. The policemen want to haul away her gypsy husband and their five children. The police tell Helene that as a German she does not have to go with them, but she decides to share the fate of her family. After convincing her children that they are going off to a vacation place, so as to calm them, the entire family is deported to Auschwitz.

For being German, they are settled in the first barracks of the Gypsy Camp. The living conditions are extremely harsh, but at least she is with her five children. A few days after their arrival, Doctor Mengele comes to pay her a visit, having noticed on her entry card that she is a nurse. He proposes that she direct the camp’s nursery. The facilities would be set up in Barrack 29 and Barrack 31, one of which would be the nursery for newborn infants and the other for children over six years old.

Helene, with the help of two Polish Jewish prisoners and four gypsy mothers, organizes the buildings. Though Mengele provides them with swings, Disney movies, school supplies, and food, the people are living in crowded conditions under extreme conditions. And less than 400 yards away, two gas chambers are exterminating thousands of people daily.

For sixteen months, Helene lives with this reality, desperately trying to find a way to save her children. Auschwitz Lullaby is a story of perseverance, of hope, and of strength in one of the most horrific times in history.

My review:

I could summarize my reaction to this story only one way:  SOOOOO MANY TEARS!!!

Auschwitz Lullaby is such an emotional story! I was an emotional mess the entire time I was reading it! I know that doesn’t sound like a good time to everyone, but I was ready to re-read this one as soon as I finished it… and put myself through the misery all over again!

Helene is a wife and mother we can all look up to. She loves her family fiercely. She’s been supporting them for some time now since her Romani husband is no longer able to work in Nazi territory. And she doesn’t show fear when the Nazi’s come! When faced with the decision to either stay behind and live a comfortable life or follow her husband and children into the Nazi’s camp, she makes it clear there was only one choice:

“There’s no need for you to come, Frau Hannemann,” the sergeant insisted.

I looked straight into his eyes and asked, “Do you think a mother would leave her children in a situation like this?”

“You’d be shocked if I told you all I’ve seen in the past few years,” he answered. “Very well, come with us to the station. We have to get them to the train before ten o’clock.

This wasn’t the only time Helene was given the chance to leave. But she won’t abandon what she knows is right. She ends up protecting not just her own family, but every child in the camp comes under her protection. At one point, she tells the doctor this:

“My family is here. I can’t leave without them. I’m a mother, Herr Doktor. You all wage your wars for grand ideals, you defend your fanatical beliefs about liberty, country, and race, but mothers have only one homeland, one ideal, one race: our family.

One of the hardest things to read in this story centered around the experiments Dr. Mengele was performing on twins. Helene has a set of twins and she lives in constant fear of someone showing up to take them. Mengele uses this on more than one occasion to force Helene to bend to his will.  We’re currently fostering twins and I’ve become a huge fan of all twins! I find myself automatically drawn to and loving every twin I meet (real or fictional). So this aspect of the book drew me in and caused an even deeper emotional wound for me.

There isn’t a single character in Auschwitz Lullaby that I didn’t feel some connection with. I either loved or hated them, but don’t expect to get a lukewarm feeling about anyone! That being said, there were times when I was confused on how I felt about a couple characters. In a situation like this it’s easy to think of the guards as less than human. It’s really the only way to rationalize what they do. But somehow, Mario Escobar managed to keep reminding me that they’re real people, with real feelings (good & bad), and no one is purely evil or purely good.

This truly is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Helene’s journey and sacrifices to protect her family and others around her is amazing and will stick with me for a very long time!

I received a free review copy of this book through BookLook Bloggers. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!

Are you planning on purchasing Auschwitz Lullaby? Please consider supporting this blog by using one of these affiliate links:

36576005Amazon Paperback

Amazon Kindle

BookDepository Paperback

Advertisements

A Home for the Redeeed by Sue Behnke – BOOK REVIEW

31164677-_sy180_Title: A Home for the Redeemed
Author: Sue Behnke
Publication Date & Publisher: July 13, 2016, WestBow Press
Genre(s): Christian Fiction
Length: 206 pages
ISBN: 13: 9781512748406
My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

“He remembered with bitterness how much he had aspired to become a pastor. He had assumed that somehow it would change him. It would make him a different person, a better man. When he earned the title pastor, it seemed everyone else also assumed he was some super being, above the rest, with keys and answers to all life’s problems-the voice of God no less.

He had to admit he believed his own publicity for the longest time.”

Carl is a disillusioned pastor, toying with despair, watching his marriage fall apart. Leading the flock, he still has to counsel those who knock at his door, deal with an attack of the media, and still find a way to love a church that is no longer confident in his leadership. Benjamin is an atheist. His life is shaken by encounters with angels and supernatural happenings. He believes he has a divine message for Pastor Carl. Brendan, a member of the church, used to be a street urchin and an addict. He is a babe in Christ. His transformation is still rocky, and his relapse threatens to shatter those who love him. Can an imperfect pastor shepherd a church? Can the grace of God prevail in brokenness?

My review:

This story is CRAZY!!! It follows a number of people who either attend or are led to a  church led by Pastor Carl, who seems to have been in a funk for quite some time now. His dedication to his faith, his church, his marriage, and even himself is put to the test.

Brendan is a member of the church who used to be a homeless drug addict. After getting saved, he married his ex and now raises their child together. Brendan’s faith seems strong, until he’s really tested…

Benjamin is an atheist married to a woman who prays privately, multiple times a day, in her prayer room. She hasn’t been to church since being driven away after her previous marriage fell apart. Her faith is strong, but she’s been trying to do it all on her own and her new husband doesn’t even talk to her about her beliefs… until they’re both tested to the point of worrying Benjamin may be crazy…

There are many stories and lives woven together in A Home for the Redeemed. Real issues are dealt with and just when it seems everything is going to e okay… BAM! The church and all it’s members are suddenly thrown back into chaos.

I really enjoyed this story, but I got a little confused at the beginning. There are so many characters thrown at you and Brendan and Benjamin’s names are a little too similar for me… I got them mixed up more than once!

Definitely recommend picking this one up!

I received a free review copy of this book through Harper Collins Christian Publishing’s BookLook Bloggers Program. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think of A Home for the Redeemed? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!

Are you planning on purchasing A Home for the Redeemed by Sue Behnke Please consider using one of these affiliate links: Amazon, Book Depository

WWW Wednesday -September 26, 2018

img_1384-0Hello everyone! It’s time once again for WWW Wednesday ! WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

Don’t know what WWW Wendesday is or how to participate??? All you need to do is answer the following three questions and link back to Taking on a World of Words, or you can put your answers in the comments on her blog! (You can also leave your link in my comments to be sure I don’t miss your post!)

The three WWW questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

I just started reading Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek by Anthony O’Neill today… As you probably know by now (assuming you read my WWW Wednesday regularly), I never say what I think on a book until I’m pretty far in so nothing to report so far on this one!

I am really enjoying The House By the Cemetery by John Everson!!! I’ll probably be finishing it up today (assuming the migraine I’m trying to keep at bay allows it). This has been a great start to my list of books I want to post about for Blogoween.

(No, I haven’t “officially” signed up for Blogoween yet… Yes, I’m going to… At some point before October 1! Yeah, I know that’s in 4 days, stop pestering me…)

I recently finished:

I CANNOT WAIT to gush about these three books I recently finished reading!!!

Not the girls you’re looking for by Aminah Mae Safi… seriously, I NEEDED a book like this when I was younger!

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar had me sobbing most of the time, but I know I’m going to be reading it over and over again and forcing anyone I can get to listen to me to read it!

A Home for the Redeemed by Sue Behnke was also a great read!

Stay tuned for the reviews for all these to be posted over the next week!

What I’ll be reading next:

 

What’s your WWW? Any thoughts on the books above?  Leave a comment or send me a message through the Contact Me page.

Want to support my laziness??? Feel free to leave a link to your own WWW Wednesday post in case I miss it over on Taking on a World of Words. (The link list is long over there guys, and I’ve got a lot of books to read…)

That’s a Wrap(Up): 2018 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon

tackle2byour2btbr2breadathon2b2018Well, the 2018 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon hosted by Wishful Endings has officially come to an end. I didn’t get a chance to post for the last couple of days, but I didn’t get to read much either so I guess it’s okay. I had a great time participating and am excited to do so again next year!

I was able to get 5 books, which is short of my original goal of reading 6 books during this week. However, knowing how difficult it was going to be with the babies and birthday parties happening I was smart… I set a secondary goal of 100 pages per day, which I definitely managed to pull off!!!

Here’s my wrap up:

Total Books Read: 5
Total Pages Read: 
1,399
Finished Books: Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard, Get Weird by CJ Casciotta, A Home for the Redeemed by Sue Behnke, Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar, and Not the girls your looking for by Aminah Mae Safi

Thanks everyone that wished me luck during the week and cheered me on!!

WWW Wednesday -September 19, 2018

img_1384-0Hello everyone! It’s time once again for WWW Wednesday ! Since this week is also the 2018 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon over at Wishful Endings, I was super excited! But I’ve only finished two books so far so hopefully next week’s WWW Wednesday will make me look like a super productive reader even though this week doesn’t! (Check out my progress with the Read-a-thon… Day 1, Day 2)

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

Don’t know what WWW Wendesday is or how to participate??? All you need to do is answer the following three questions and link back to Taking on a World of Words, or you can put your answers in the comments on her blog! (You can also leave your link in my comments to be sure I don’t miss your post!)

The three WWW questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

31164677-_sy180_

36576005

 

 

I recently finished:

cover135697-medium40947713

What I’ll be reading next:

 

What’s your WWW? Any thoughts on the books above?  Leave a comment or send me a message through the Contact Me page.

Want to support my laziness??? Feel free to leave a link to your own WWW Wednesday post in case I miss it over on Taking on a World of Words. (The link list is long over there guys, and I’ve got a lot of books to read…)