Tag Archives: Pam Jenoff

Deals of the Moment- August


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. This in the post where I talk about any books which are of interest.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews. Amazon links are affiliate links but any money made goes back into the blog (e.g. for giveaways)

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Hunter S Thompson

I may buy this one because it’s on The Rory List, although I’m not sure how ‘me’ it is.  Plus it’s very popular. It’s about drugs and the ‘American Dream’

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Virgin Suicides- Jeffrey Eugenides

I love Jeffrey Eugenides writing, and especially liked Middlesex. The Virgin Suicides is a sort of modern classic. About a family of girls who all commit suicide.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet- Jamie Ford

This is one of my favourite World War novels. It’s about the Japanese community in America during WW2.

You can buy it…here. (only £0.99)


The Happiness Project- Gretchen Rubin

I’ve heard some fantastic things about this book, but again I’m not sure if it’s one for me, it seems a bit self-helpy for my taste. However I may give it a go. It’s a sort of autobiography showing the various methods Rubin used to gain happiness and how they worked out for her

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


Keeping Faith- Jodi Picoult

I am a big Picoult fan, I’ve read all her books. Keeping Faith is about a kid who starts hearing God. She ends up with a lot of attention, but so much rubbish is going on in her life, is she really hearing God?

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult

Yes another Picoult one. This is about an ex-Nazi SS solider who wants forgiveness. Not a ‘usual’ Picoult but very good

Buy it…here (only £1.49)


Anita and Me- Meera Syal

Anita and Me was one of the first ‘adult’ books I read. It’s about an Asian girl growing up in a predominately white town, and wanting to fit in.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao- Junot Diaz

This is one of those books everyone says you ‘have’ to read. It’s about a geek who lives in a dream world- basically.

Buy it…here (only £2.59)


Charlotte Street- Danny Wallace

I loved this book when I read it. It’s a bit like Nick Hornby in style. About a man who tries to find a woman whose disposable camera he accidentally took.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


Kommandant’s Girl- Pam Jenoff

Kommandant’s Girl is probably my favourite Pam Jenoff (at least so far). It’s about a girl who gets together with a German Kommndant to help the resistance during WW2.

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


The Ocean at the End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman

I just finished this one (it’s a Summer deal rather than a monthly). I highlighted a lot of quotes (see a few on my tumblr). It’s sort of insightful, a coming of age novel, but with the usual Gaiman fantasy element (yeah, can you tell I still need to write my review?)

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


Still Alice- Lisa Genova

A very moving book, and sad. About a woman with early-onset dementia.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

If anyone doesn’t already have it! It’s a dystopian book about a ‘game’ played every year where basically kids have to kill each other off, sort of based on Battle Royal. I really liked it.

Buy it…here (only £2.19)


Eleanor and Park- Rainbow Rowell

Not my favourite Rainbow Rowell, but still great. Geeky. It’s a love story, but more too.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

 

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The Winter Guest- Pam Jenoff


Synopsis (from amazon)

Helena and Ruth Nowak are like chalk and cheese: one staunchly outspoken and independent, the other gentle and caring. Caught up in the struggle of Nazi occupied Poland, the sisters have bound together and created an enviable bond that can’t be broken. Or so they thought…

When Helena discovers a Jewish Allied paratrooper, wounded but alive, she risks the safety of herself and her family to hide him. As her feelings for the solider grow deeper, she finds her loyalties torn.

Review

Why yes I have been reading a lot of Pam Jenoff recently (and I have ‘A Hidden Affair’ still to review too). There are things I like about her writing. It’s often set during world war two. It’s exciting. It’s easy to read without feeling ‘fluffy’. This one. Well, I liked it, but it didn’t have quite the same excitement as the others by her that I’ve read.

Don’t get me wrong there was excitement there, but it was a long time coming, and whilst there was always some promise of it most of the time it was unfulfilled.

Actually I would say that this story is less an excitement based story, or even a war based story as a story about people. It’s a story of the relationships between Helena and Ruth, between Helena and Sam, and the girl’s family. It’s also a story of self-discovery. Both girls learn more about themselves.

Both become stronger in their own ways.

It didn’t hook me in the same way as some of Pam Jenoff’s other books have, but I think it showed a more sophisticated writing style and plot than her others have.

The others may have been more enjoyable at the time of reading, but The Winter Guest is more likely to stay with me.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.03)

Paperback (£7.99)

Other Reviews:

Silver’s Reviews

Have I Missed Your Review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

 

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The Diplomat’s Wife- Pam Jenoff


The Diplomat’s Wife is a follow up to The Kommandant’s Girl. However you do not need to read The Kommandant’s Girl to understand The Diplomat’s Wife.

Synopsis

1945. Surviving the brutality of a Nazi prison camp, Marta Nederman is lucky to have escaped with her life. Recovering from the horror, she meets Paul, an American soldier who gives her hope of a happier future. But their plans to meet in London are dashed when Paul’s plane crashes.

Devastated and pregnant, Marta marries Simon, a caring British diplomat, and glimpses the joy that home and family can bring. But her happiness is threatened when she learns of a Communist spy in British intelligence, and that the one person who can expose the traitor is connected to her past.

Review

I really wanted to read this after finishing The Kommandant’s Girl. I’m fairly certain I didn’t even read the blurb (which I always do) before I read it. When I found out that it was about Martha I was a bit disappointed, I wanted to know what happened to Emma next. It’s not that I hadn’t liked Martha in The Kommandant’s Girl, I was just satisfied with how her story had been left, I would rather have known what happened to Emma when she left for the mountains.

I would still like to know what happened to Emma, but it didn’t take me long to get dragged into Martha’s story, and then I mainly forgot that she was even connected to Emma. Her past was important, so in that sense it was good to have the knowledge from The Kommandant’s Girl, but it wasn’t crucial.

The Diplomat’s Wife is less of an overtly political novel than The Kommandant’s Girl, and a lot of the time it felt more…normal. I wasn’t really expecting anything exciting, and the best bits of the story were at the beginning and the end, with the story carrying on well enough in the middle to keep me going.

I liked Martha more by the end of The Diplomat’s Wife than I had at the end of The Kommandant’s Girl. I admired her at the end of The Kommandant’s Girl, but she felt more real by the end of her own story.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.79)

Paperback (£6.99)

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The Kommandant’s Girl- Pam Jenoff


Synopsis (from amazon)

Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma’s husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city’s decrepit, moldering Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Taken to Krakow to live with Jacob’s Catholic cousin, Krysia, Emma takes on a new identity as Anna Lipowski, a gentile.

Emma’s already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant. Urged by the resistance to use her position to access details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety–and her marriage vows–in order to help Jacob’s cause. As the atrocities of war intensify, so does Emma’s relationship with the Kommandant, building to a climax that will risk not only her double life, but also the lives of those she loves.

Review

Since reading The Officer’s Lover I’d really wanted to read another book by Pam Jenoff. The Kommandant’s Girl seemed perfect, set in the war (and we all know about my penchant for war stories), with Jews, and Nazis, and the resistance, and love.

I really liked The Kommandant’s Girl. I liked Emma, she started off a bit naive, but love made her strong, and made her take risks. A heroine in the end anyway.

There was even a little bit of me that liked the Kommandant. Not the Jew killing bit (obviously) but the bit where he was genuinely caring towards Emma.

It was dramatic, and emotional, really kept me turning the pages (or pressing the buttons I suppose as I read it on kindle).

4/5

Buy it from amazon:

Kindle (£4.79)

Paperback (£5.99)

 Other reviews:

Between the Pages

Have I missed your review? Post a link in comments and I will add it here

 

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Deals of the Moment


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Usually I tweet about the interesting deals and leave it at that, but this month I would like to do something different and share them more widely. If the idea seems to appeal I may make it a monthly feature.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


 

The Diplomat’s Wife- Pam Jenoff

This is one I bought. It follows Marta who survived a Nazi prison camp. She looses one love and gains another, but something from her past threatens her happiness.

I bought this one because I’ve really enjoyed the other Pam Jenoff books I’ve read. I reviewed The Officer’s Lover some time ago, and loved The Kommandant’s Girl which I read a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t resist another, especially on offer! You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



Keeping Faith- Jodi Picoult

This is one I read in my pre-blogging days. It is the story of a girl who says she can hear God. There is lots of fuss from the media, from religious people, and from doctors but nobody knows the truth, and in the middle of it is a little girl.

Although not my favourite Picoult book it still holds some of the best features which I would expect from a Picoult book. It really gets you thinking and it’s very emotion, and even at the end it keeps you guessing, I always like a story which lingers with you. You can buy it…here (only £2.49)


 

QI books

Ok this is two books not one but they are safe to clump together. I’ve read both and they are both very interesting (or should I say Quite Interesting) books with lesser know facts. The QI Book of the Dead focuses on people whereas the QI Book of General Ignorance is more general knowledge. They are both equally as entertaining as the other although The QI Book of the Dead is probably easier to read cover to cover whereas you could easily flick through the book of general ignorance. Buy the QI Book of the Dead…here (only £2.29) and The QI Book of General Ignorance…here. (also only £2.29)

 



Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury

Another one I bought. This has been on my wishlist for years, and it’s on the Rory List. It’s one of those sort of ‘required reading’ books for bookworms.

Fahrenheit 451 is set in a world where books are burnt as routine, and TV is the entertainment of choice. You can buy it…here (only £1.49)


Still Alice- Lisa Genova

Over the last year I’ve read two books which have a protagonist called Alice who looses her memory. Still Alice was the best of the two (The other is What Alice Forgot, if you were wondering). In Still Alice, Alice is a professor who has early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s a very emotional story, but beautiful too. You can buy it…here (only £2.49)



The Crimson Petal and the White- Michel Faber

This is one of those books I just love to recommend. It’s difficult to put into words what makes The Crimson Petal and the White so good, just read it! I bought it for my sister after I read it, and I recommended it to my Mum’s book group (although tentatively because the main character is a prostitute, and they didn’t like the sex in The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts). It follows Sugar as she goes from ‘admired’ prostitute to kept woman, to secret live in mistress. It’s about the underside of 19th century London, basically. You can buy it…here (only £1.29)


 

Under the Skin- Michel Faber

This is neither one I have bought nor one I have read. I am tempted by it simply because it’s by Michel Faber. It sounds sort of interesting, but I’m unsure. It’s about a woman who likes picking up handsome hitch-hikers. Has anyone read it? What did you think? You can buy it…here (only £1.29)


Tampa- Alison Nutting

I bought this one because I’ve heard really good things about it. It’s been describes as a modern day Lolita with a woman. I think it could be disturbing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be good. You can buy it…here (only £1.99)

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Changing Book Titles


US cover

UK cover



In my recent review of The Officer’s Lover I mentioned that in America The Officer’s Lover has the title Almost Home. I also briefly said that I believed the American name was better. I certainly think it reflects the story better. Whilst The Officer’s Lover does have a slight baring on the story I feel it doesn’t reflect the main content of the story at all. However I an see Almost Home working. The main character, Jordan, had been floating since the death of her boyfriend. Making few connections, moving frequently, but never returning to England where she dated, and lost, him. I can see that her search for closure could make her ready to settle and get ‘home’.

So why was the novel name changed? Well I can see a little that it may have been changed to fit with other books by Pam Jenoff. It fits with the pattern of Kommandant’s Girl, The Ambassador’s Daughter, and The Diplomat’s Wife.

That’s what it often comes down to, marketing. It’s similar to changing book covers to film covers. Generally speaking I don’t like film covers- and them often being cheaper suggests to me that many people feel the same. However I can understand why the covers are changed- to make a link for people who have seen, or want to see, the film.

UK cover

US cover


Another notable time that a book title has been changed is the changing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in America. Apparently because American’s won’t understand the word philosopher. If I was American I think I would be offended at the assertion that I wouldn’t be able to understand a word- or even have the sense to look up a word I didn’t understand in the dictionary. I’ve heard of a few books being ‘dumbed down’ in this way for America.

 

UK cover

US cover

There are times when it works of course, when a word is something which is not used internationally. I did think that Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging had been changed to take out snogging in America, but apparently not. Some of the others have been changed however (USA list, UK list) I had heard it was due to the UK titles being too racy, although someone in America will have to tell me if they actually appear to be racy!

Generally speaking I think authors chose to title books by a certain name for a reason. And whilst other titles may work well on a marketing point of view I think really the author’s title should be stuck with. What do you all think?

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The Officer’s Lover- Pam Jenoff



Note: In the US this book is sold as Almost Home, which was changed for the UK sale. Personally I think the US name is more appropriate for the story (which is really a discussion for another day) but I’m referring to it as The Officer’s Lover because I’m based in the UK, and my Amazon links are for Amazon UK.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Ten years ago Jordan Weiss suffered the devastating death of her boyfriend Jared, a gifted rower at Cambridge. Since then work as an intelligence officer has taken her to the world’s hot spots where she has faced terrible dangers. However, it’s the thought of returning to England that haunts her most. But when Jordan learns that her best friend, Sarah, is terminally ill, she transfers to the State Department’s London office to be close to her. In London, she and rakish agent Sebastian Hodges are assigned to an investigation into mafia activities that quickly throws Jordan into a whirlwind drama of lies, cover-ups and corruption. Who can she trust? As she desperately tries to pull the pieces together, secrets start to emerge that are strangely connected to her past and will ultimately shape the course of her future …
Review
The Officer’s Lover had been on my wishlist for a long time, and on my shelf for almost as long and, you know what? I really wish I had picked it up sooner. I really didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.
The story really got me hooked, with all it’s twists and turns. I thought I knew what was going to happen at several points, but then something else would be revealed and throw me right off track again. However one big thing that I expected, but thought might be  bit too clichéd did happen. I was happy because I wanted it to, but it was a little too perfect.
The end was rather open however, which I liked. It took away some of the perfection and meant you could make your own end up. However some people might like more of a sense of closure.
I really liked the main character, Jordan, and I wanted things to turn out well for her. There were a few points where I wanted to give her a shake, but that just made her all the more realistic. Seeing the story through her eyes was good too. It meant that we saw things as she saw them so we got all the same surprises as she did, and understand her judgements (even when I didn’t agree with them).
4.5/5
Buy it:
Paperback (£5.59)
Kindle (£5.51)
Other Reviews:
I’m sure I added this book to my wishlist because of a blogger’s review, but without a search function on my feed reader I have next to no hope of finding it 😦
If you have reviewed this book leave me a link in comments and I will add it here.

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