Close Watch by Signe Christensen

#BookReview
Thriller|Fiction|Suspense

Nobody likes the feeling of being closely watched or followed but it’s terrifying to know when somebody actually breaks into your house!

Close Watch by Signe Christensen is a fictional story about Amber, a normal person trying to live a normal life. After her recent breakup with her boyfriend, Sam, she feels like she is constantly being followed to a point where she feels creeped out in her own house. When she reaches out to the police, it leads nowhere because of the lack of information. However her two friends, Karen and Maya, are a great support. Amber relies on them the most, they are always by her side and try to keep her safe. But after Amber’s several attempts to ignore the feeling of being stalked and being threatened, she decides to escape from the city for a while and spend a few days in her aunt’s cottage in Dorset. What happens if this turns out to be a wrong decision?

Close Watch is a entertaining thriller that is easy to read. The story is well narrated, the element of suspense and character building is strong. As a reader I felt dragged into the story right from the start. The book is lighthearted and not too intense. Even though, you might get the feeling that you know who the stalker is going to be, it is a nice read right till the end.

Also, find my review on this website: Reedsy

The Champion by Wayne Rajah

#BookReview
Fiction | Fantasy | Relationships |

A painfully sweet story of a mother and a child set in a fantasy world of monsters and magic

The Champion is a fantasy fiction novel written by author Wayne Rajah. The protagonist of this story is a twelve-year-old boy named Calvin with a superpower that allows him to fly. Calvin’s mother, Miss Khumalo is diagnosed with a terminal illness. When he finds out that his mother is suffering, Calvin uses his superpower and the help of his mentor, Athwall, and decides to take his mother on a mythical journey in an attempt to save her life.

The story begins with Calvin waking up after seeing a dreadful nightmare. As we proceed further into the story, we realize that Calvin is haunted by a series of these disturbing nightmares and they have become a constant in his life. 

“The room shakes! Oscillates! Now a frenzy of seismic activity and an earthquake! It feels like the tremor is inside my head! My head hurts! My head always hurts! My body hurts! A flash of light in the distance, lightning! And then a thunderous roar! My skull splits open, the hemispheres of my brain part. My body was violently shaken, side to side, side to side! The earthquake continues!”

Wayne Rajah

Usually, after the nightmares, Calvin puts on his cape and flies out of the window of his room into the night sky. He enjoys flying high in the darkness of the night when the rest of the world is asleep. He recalls the vivid nightmares and often wonders if they could possibly be true. But, the cold breeze helps him calm down and he uses this time to observe the world below him by admiring the countryside, the Crown River, and the moon that he addresses as Cynthia. 

Calvin’s ancient protector, Athwall – who has lived a thousand years – is Calvin’s only friend and protector. According to Athwall, Calvin is the Chosen one and someday Athwall will reveal the special task that only Calvin can perform. 

“I start to fly, out of my control! Hurtling into the sinister abyss, not knowing where I am going or in what direction, just hurtling on ahead. There is space out there even if I cannot see it. What speed! Immense speed! My heart flutters, races!”

Calvin has looked at his mother as a hardworking and active woman who is always on her feet. But when he notices that lately, his mother has been looking weak and exhausted, he starts worrying. Until one day, his mother faints on the ground and he finds out that his mother only has a little time to survive. Will Calvin be able to save his mother? Will he complete the task that Athwall has set out for him?

This story is a journey of a young boy trying his best to save his mother from dying by seeking help from his mentor, Athwall. The story discusses all the struggles that Calvin, Athwall, and Miss Khumalo go through and the difficult choices that they need to make on this journey. This involves crossing treacherous paths and fighting tremendous monsters on the way to their destination. When they finally reach their destination, the story takes an unexpected twist.

“Athwall says that he will reveal everything to me in a good time. He tells me that I am special, that I am the Chosen. For now, I’m just trying to enjoy everything. Who else in this world can say they can fly? Athwall says it only happens once every hundred years. My ancient protector has lived long enough to see them all, over a thousand years. He says that there is always a special task for the Chosen.” 

The book started off on a good note and got me hooked into the storyline. The reason I found it interesting was that the story started with a letter that was addressed by a doctor to his patient. Personally, I love reading stories that have letter communications between the characters. However, I was quickly disappointed when the letters never made an appearance after the first chapter. I found the book needlessly long and felt like it could have dropped a few pages, especially the graphic description of the recurring nightmares. I also felt like the long journey was invalidated by the surprise reveal at the end which left me a disappointed. I was a little confused with the turn of events and I had to go through the entire story again in my head to understand what just happened.

The story is well-written by debut author Wayne Rajah, the message that the author is trying to share is noble. As a pediatrician, he has created a fictional story about parents and children that he sees on a daily basis. He is inspired by the struggles and sacrifices that are made by both parents and children and has captured this in an entirely fictional universe of his creation.

“Letting go takes courage. Their story is one of true struggle, courage, strength and overcoming adversity.”

Wayne Rajah

Also, find my review on the website: Reedsy

Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas

Book Review

Fiction | Romance | Hope | Emotional

Reading Your Perfect Year made me feel like I was watching a rom-com movie. It’s a feel-good, emotional, and inspirational kinda dreamy love story. Set in Hamburg, the story is centered around fate. The two protagonists in this book are Jonathan Grief and Hannah Marx. Hannah fills a New Year journal for her boyfriend with a list of things to do for every single day of the year. But Hannah’s boyfriend suddenly goes missing on New Year and her Filofax planner is found by Jonathan Grief on his bicycle handle.

Jonathan Grief is a rich man in his 40s who has inherited his dad’s famous publishing house called Grief and Sons. He is a lonely, uptight divorcee with only a drowning publishing house left to look after. He constantly complains about everything that doesn’t appeal to his sensibilities. He believes he is living a perfect, content life until he finds the Filofax and realises how much he has been missing out on life by not paying attention to the simple joys.

I’ll tell you one truth: if life’s taught me anything, it’s that you should only do what excites you. Everything else is a waste of time. No one should act against their heart and their own convictions.

Charlotte Lucas

Hannah Marx on the other hand is an optimistic, happy, and over-energetic person who runs a successful child care business called The Little Rascals with her friend. She makes a journal full of ideas for her boyfriend to bring hope and positivity in his life. However, she loses all her zest for life after she finds out that her boyfriend is never coming back.

Fate plays a major role in this book. It all starts with the Filofax finding Jonathan. He tries to find the owner of the Filofax but in vain. So, he decides to live his life by following the things planned in the diary which include tasks, motivational quotes, attending events, etc.

Make a break with your habits, test yourself, expand your horizons! If you usually hold the phone in your right hand, use your left. Do your shopping in a different supermarket and buy different brands..

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – Albert Einstein.

Jonathan laughed and shook his head. He had never seen it like that, but it was so true. It was insanity!

Charlotte Lucas

Hannah inevitably finds out that some insane stranger has been religiously living according to the things that she had planned for her boyfriend. Finally, the day comes when they meet. Of course, the story doesn’t end there. There are more emotional ups and downs that they go through which you’ll have to read to find out.

Life was for living, regardless of how long you had left.

Charlotte Lucas

Not highly recommended but a good read. Your Perfect Year is about love, friendship and also some serious topics like dementia, death, and divorce. You can indulge in this light and breezy book if you’re in a marshmellow mood. Cozy up with your cat and enjoy reading this book on the weekend!

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become deeds. Watch your deeds; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. From the Talmud, or so it says here.

Charlotte Lucas

Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas, translated from German by Alison Layland.

You can also find my book review here Discovery.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

#Book Review
Fantasy Fiction|Thrilling|War|Magic

This book was on my Want to Read list for really long, I finally decided to read it and I am glad I did. Uprooted by Naomi Novik is a fantasy novel that will take you on a magical journey through a homely village, a Dragon’s cold tower, warring kingdoms, and the corrupted Wood.

The protagonist of this story is Agnieszka, a 17-year old girl, who loves her village – Dvernik, her family, and her beautiful friend Kasia. The villagers of Dvernik always live in a certain kind of fear, the Wood surrounds the village and many of them have lost a loved one to the Wood. It is not that the people get lost in the forest, the Wood is pure evil and whoever enters the Wood encounters horror and death.

“There was a song in this forest, too, but it was a savage song, whispering of madness and tearing and rage.”

Naomi Novik

The Dragon, a powerful wizard, protects the villagers and keeps the corruption of the Wood under control. However, the people pay a terrible price for the Dragon’s help. Every ten years, the Dragon takes a young girl from the village to serve him. This year everyone was sure that Kasia would be chosen as she was an ideal choice – young, beautiful, well-mannered, and she could manage all the household tasks. Agnieszka on the other hand was a messy tomboy. Agnieszka knew the Dragon would never choose her but she feared for her dearest childhood friend, Kasia. When the day of choosing arrived, everyone was surprised with the Dragon’s choice.

Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true..

Naomi Novik

Now, this is not a story about a Dragon and a girl, it is a lot more! That was just the beginning, honestly I couldn’t believe that a book with around 450-pages could have such a dense plot line. Just when you start thinking, “Alright, now this is where the story is going to build up, bam, mystery solved!” I guess, this is something that makes the book all the more interesting to read. The story keeps you going, it isn’t boring, and it doesn’t feel rushed. In fact, the story is super descriptive. You can vividly imagine how it must feel like to be in the Dragon’s tower, Agnieszka’s room, Prince Marek’s mythical kingdom of Polnya, and the dark, creepy forest.

Every day I could watch the Spindle running riotous white with melted ice, and a band of open grass widening from the lowlands, chasing the snow up into the mountains on either side. Rain swept over the valley in silver curtains.

Naomi Novik

Uprooted is a story that has magic, magic spells – Vanastalem being one of my favorites. It is about a strong bond of friendship, romance, war between kingdoms, and the ultimate war with the evil Wood. The only part where I felt slightly let down was how the book ended, I found it way too convenient and more like a happy ending of a movie, but I still enjoyed reading it.

I recommend that you definitely read, Uprooted, if you want to escape reality and enter into a realm of fantasy. Somehow, it even feels real and believable. It’s easy to get absorbed into the story, I loved the character growth of Agnieszka, and the fantastic world-building. The underlying theme of being uprooted affects not only the protagonist but also the other important characters involved in the story.

I was a glaring blot on the perfection. But I didn’t care: I didn’t feel I owed him beauty.

Naomi Novik

They come and go like seasons, the winter that gives no thought to the spring.

Noami Novik

The Girl in the Tree by Şebnem İşigüzel

Book Review

Fiction|Trauma|Family Strife|Love

A Girl in the Tree written by Şebnem İşigüzel is a story of a girl who has given up on the world and decides to live in the trees. It is an emotional tale of a teenage girl who talks about Gezi protests in Turkey, constant war in Istanbul, bombing attacks, political realities, and violence in society. The harsh realities and the tragic events leave her with no hope of a better world. So, she runs away and climbs one of the tallest trees in Istanbul’s Gülhane Park. Here she reveals multiple reasons that have led her to take this drastic step of spending the rest of her life in the trees. But, a kind and helpful soul comes around like a glistening ray of hope and an unexpected love story unfolds.

The girl is disappointed and frustrated and does not want to reveal her identity. It all starts with the death of her favorite singer. As the story progresses she shares how she loses her two best friends in a bombing attack. Like her mind, which is in a state of disorder, the girl narrates the events in a disorderly fashion, transitioning from the past to the present.

The girl talks about her dysfunctional family and how she has grown up seeing her mother living a sad and lonely life. She is passionate about writing but is brutally criticized by her school teacher much to her despair. The girl shares all these memories while being perched in a stork’s nest. She hops, skips, and jumps from one branch to another, from one tree to another to avoid being seen by the people in the park.

A bell boy, Yunus, who works in a hotel near the park notices the girl and helps by bringing food, water, and warm clothes. He regularly checks up on her and protects her. They get close and share stories of their past. Yunus showers her with love and care, and even ends up losing his job while trying to protect her. He offers her to run away with him and start a new life but The Girl in the Tree is determined to live the rest of her life away from the emotional miseries of the world.

The Girl in the Tree is a Turkish fictional novel translated by Mark David Wyers. It deals with the struggles of the common people in Istanbul where there is no freedom of speech or women’s rights. All there’s left is grief, political strife and violence. Hence, the girl believes that living in the trees is the only way to attain spiritual freedom. This book has a unique and bold tone where the girl is directly interacting with the readers. The rage and unrest that she is going through is captured extremely well.

I recommend that you give this book a read if you’re intrigued by the offbeat story that is set in a violent political background.

Books That I Read in 2020

Hello New Year!

Before I start my journey with books in 2021, I am sharing the books that I got the time and opportunity to read in 2020. Also, writing a brief summary about the books (without any spoilers). Hopefully, this post helps you find some interesting books to consider reading this year.

1. Educated by Tara Westover
Educated is memoir that discusses the life journey of the author. Born in a Mormon survivalist home, Tara’s father isolated the children from the mainstream world. He does not believe in the government, public schools, or health care. Tara never attended school and only receives formal education at the age of seventeen. Despite her innumerable setbacks, Tara educates herself and lives a successful life. This powerful tale is narrated beautifully and is very inspiring. Educated is a book about family ties, personal struggles, power, and success.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Educated by Tara Westover

2. Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
A debut novel, this book has three distinct sections – Folly, Madness, and Ezra Blazer’s Desert Island Discs. The first part discuss a romantic relationship of a young American editor, Alice, with an older famous writer, Ezra Pound. The second part is a tale about the struggles of an Iraqi-American man who is detained at the Heathrow airport by the immigration officers. The last part is a detailed interview of Ezra Pound and his experiences. Asymmetry is about love, daily struggles of Iraqis, power, and justice.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday


3. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
An incredibly unique book that I couldn’t put down. It plays with multiple themes and concepts. It is one of the few books where a clear story is not necessarily important. However, it is extremely interesting as you keep wondering where the story is really heading towards. It can have multiple meanings depending on your viewpoint. Written by Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore is a book about a 15-year old boy called Kafka and his life experiences.

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You can change direction but the sandstorm chases you. This storm is you. Something inside of you.”

-Haruki Murakami

4. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Mahabharata is one of the most famous epic mythological Indian stories. It is about a war between two families – Pandavas and Kauravas who fight the epic battle at Kuruskehtra for the throne at Hastinapur. The author Chitra Banerjee recreates this story of Mahabharata in The Palace of Illusions but from the point of view of a woman. The lead character of this story is Panchaali, also known as Draupadi, who marries the five Pandavas and goes through a life of pain, suffering, and also triumphs. This book discusses the identity of women in a male dominated world and is mainly about revenge, family, power, and war.

5. The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Forest of Enchantments is a journey of Sita and her tragic love story. This is another book by the author Chitra Banerjee that retells the other famous epic Indian story called the Ramayana. The original Ramayana is written by Vyasa from a patriarchal perspective. In this book, the author brilliantly narrates the story of Sita while highlighting the emotions and sufferings of the women that are often neglected. The struggles, humiliation, disappointment, and tragedies faced by Sita, Madodari, Kaikeyi, Urmila, and Surpanakha are, for once, not downplayed when compared to the men – Rama, Lakshmana, Ravana, and Dasharatha.

6. Quiet by Susan Cain
The quiet ones often prefer listening over talking. However, they are often misjudged and face issues of self-doubt. This book emphasizes that introverts are equally important and powerful. Susan Cain, who is also an introvert builds this confidence and teaches us to be more kind to ourselves and the people around us. She shares success stories of some of the most powerful introverts such as, Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, JK Rowling, and more. Quiet, is a great read for introverts as well as extroverts.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Quiet by Susan Cain


7. Kokoro by Natsume Sōseki
This is another uniquely interesting story which is about a friendship between a young boy and a reclusive older man whom the boy refers to as Sensei or teacher. The central theme is loneliness and how Sensei has lost faith in humanity. It is about their life choices, how destiny can affect their life, and how some mistakes can never be forgotten. Excellently narrated by Natsume Soseki, Kokoro connects with you on a strangely deep level.

8. Life by Lu Yao
Gao Jialin, the protagonist of this story is a school teacher in his country village. Due to local politics, he loses his job and it throws his whole life into disarray. At this low point, he finds comfort in a romantic relationship. But, Gao Jialin is ambitious and believes he deserves to have a better life. To fulfill his stubborn dreams he decides to leave behind his rural life and moves to a big city. An easy read, Life is an emotional story that gives a very realistic portrayal of the urban and rural divide.

9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
It is an amazing story about a little French girl and a German boy during World War II. Loved this war novel, it is a must-read!

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

10. ⭐️Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson⭐️
Oathbringer is book three of the Stormlight Archive, this epic series has got me hooked! You cannot help but lose yourself in the fantasy world of the Stormlight Archive. It is a story about Roshar, Parshmen, Knights Radiants, Shardblades, Sprens, war, and a lot more. If you enjoy reading high-fantasy, then Stormlight Archive is one of the best ever!

11. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
There is an explosion of a therapeutic medical device called a HBOT chamber. Was it an accident or a planned murder? The story is centered around murder mystery that deals with a fast-paced and thrilling courtroom drama. It is about challenges of parenting, secrets, lies, identity crisis, troubles of a teenage girl, and relationships.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Miracle Creek by Angie Kim


12. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Finally, got a chance to read this famous classic novel and I loved it! It is a story about four sisters and their journey from childhood to womanhood. The rich descriptive language and wonderful character buildup make this book extremely personal and special.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


13. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Oddly comical, this book is about two sisters, Korede and Ayoola. Ayoola murders and Korede cleans up after Ayoola kills her boyfriends. Korede loves her sister and cannot hand her over to the police but what happens when Ayoola starts dating the person that Korede has been in love with?

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite


14. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
One morning, Kya wakes up and watches her mother walk out of the door and she knows life will never be the same again. Where the Crawdads Sing is a story of a young girl left alone in an isolated marshland and an intriguing murder mystery of Chase Andrews.

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens


15. Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman
This graphic novel is a piece of art! It narrates the famous story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but with a dark twist, a must-read!

*Please click on the link below if you wish to read a longer review that I’ve written for this book on my blog.
Book Review for Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman


16. The End is Always Near by Dan Carlin
This book is written by the host of the popular podcast, Hardcore History, Dan Carlin who takes us through a crash course in history. He shows us how all the great empires have suffered similar problems which continue till date such as, climate change, famine, plague, and war. This book gives us historical perspective on problems that we think exist only in this generation. Dan Carlin makes the reader aware that while the end may always seem near, humanity has prevailed so far.

17. Alone by Christophe Chabouté
A stunning tale beautifully illustrated by Chabouté. It is a story about a lonely hermit who has spent his entire life alone in a lighthouse and has never interacted with the rest of the world. This graphic novel is a heartwarming masterpiece!

Mind the Mud

I woke up to a loud emergency alert on my phone warning me about strong winds and flooding. It has been drizzling all day long since a few days. The weather report states a hurricane is expected to strike Central America. I sigh and get out of bed. The gloomy weather has made me lazy and dull. I drink a banana smoothie and decide to head out for a walk since all I have been doing is lying on the couch and whiling away time doing unimportant things, such as work. So, I decide to start my day by being a little more active even though it’s wet and cold outside.

I grab my rain jacket, plug in my earphones, and step out. I get engrossed in an episode of Radiolab about Time on Spotify and take several rounds around the park in the neighborhood. After an hour long walk, I grab a coffee and a sandwich from a nearby cafe and walk back home. On reaching the entrance to my place, I notice strange, muddy footprints near my front door.

The footprints do not look like shoe prints or animal footprints, they look different. Strange! I get worried and quickly check if I had left my door unlocked. Thankfully the door is locked, but I still do a quick check to see if there is anyone inside. I check the living area, under the couch for any animal, patio, bedrooms, bathrooms, under the kitchen sink, and find nothing.

The strange part is not about seeing the muddy footprints, it is about the unfamiliarity of the footprints and how they abruptly end near my front door.

These footprints kept appearing repeatedly outside my door for the next few days, which I found rather unusual and upsetting. I put in more effort and looked further to find out where the steps start and why they always ended near my door. My futile attempts only led me towards puddles near the entrance of the apartment with no other clue. After wasting a good amount of time, I would groan angrily and go back to doing my daily tasks.

It is Halloween today, my friend from work, invites me over to a costume party at her place. I wear a simple grey dress which has a furry tail and a hood with ears. It is a werewolf costume but it makes me look more like a cat. After a long night of chatting and drinks, I sober up and drive back to my place by 2 AM in the morning. Tiredly and sleepily, I hunt for the house keys inside my handbag without noticing that there is something near my feet. I realise this and pause for a second before looking down. I let out the loudest shrill scream upon seeing a wolf in front of my door.

Immediately, the lights in the neighbour’s house turn on and an old woman grumpily opens the door. She looks at my deeply shocked face, the animal, and starts laughing.

She starts apologizing for not informing me about her new pet, “I am so sorry dear, meet Hemlie!”, she says.

She pets the animal and continues speaking,

“My grand daughter wanted a husky before Halloween so she could dress him up as a werewolf and take him along for trick-and-treating. On her way back with her friends, she lost Hemlie and came home crying. She fell asleep an hour ago after crying all night long. Poor girl and look here he is, I guess he found his way back home. Smart one, this boy!”, she bends down to pat his head and grabs Hemlie’s collar.

“He must have scared you.”, she looks up at me and smiles in the dim light of the corridor.

I smile at her confusedly and look at the dog’s feet and see him wearing a weird pair of oversized boots. I tell my neighbour about the strange muddy footprints that I have noticed near my door.

For a while she looks confused but then immediately looks at me apologetically, “Oh dear, I had no idea about this. My grand daughter has been taking him out in those shoes and must have made Hemlie clean them up on your door mat before entering our home, because you know I am a stickler for cleanliness!”, she says sheepishly.

I crawl into the bed feeling relieved that the strange mystery of the muddy footprints is solved and also silly for worrying too much about little things.

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

War|History|Fiction|Heartfelt

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Book Review

All the Light We Cannot See is a book about the tragedies of war written by Anthony Doerr. The tone of the book is melancholic yet hopeful. It is centered around two protagonists, a six-year old French girl, Marie Laurie, and an eight-year old German boy, Werner Pfennig.

It is a deeply moving story where the author wonderfully captures the difficult circumstances of war and its effects on the people involved. This book is not about what happened during World War II, nor is it about Hitler or the Jews. This book is about how war affects the lives of ordinary people by uprooting them from their homes. It is about people who do not wish to participate in the war and have no choice but to bare the consequences of it. At the same time, it highlights the strength of humanity where we can live through unimaginable situations. In the end, we can always find a reason to live and survive.

All the Light We Cannot See is a fictional war novel about many things. It is about the strength of a blind girl that survives through war. A confused yet an intelligent orphan boy who loves to learn but is captured in a terrible period of war. A father, trying to do his best for his daughter. A sister who is worried that her brother will get influenced by Nazi ideologies. A soldier from World War I who loses his brother and is haunted by the ghosts of war. A friend who loses his life because he is considered too weak to serve the country. This book highlights how individual choices and freedom do not belong to you, but to your country. Only by serving the country, can you survive. Moments of weakness, betrayal, shock, horror, and hope are what makes this book so special and real.

“Wherever her great-uncle is, could he have survived this?
Could anyone?
Has she?”

“Walk the path of logic. Every outcome has its cause, and every predicament has its solution. Every key its lock.  You can go back to Paris or you can stay here or you can go on.”


*Spoiler Alert* Below is a detailed summary of the book which reveals some of the plot points.


Marie Laurie is a blind girl who loses her eyesight due to cataract at a very young age. She lives in Paris with her father, who loves her dearly and works at the Museum of National History. Her father builds a miniature version of the neighborhood for his daughter so she can navigate through the area independently when the need arises. Marie regularly accompanies her father to the museum and this is where she learns about a valuable blue diamond, the Sea of Flames, and its legendary curse. When the German army invades France, Marie Laurie and her father flee from Paris and arrive at Saint-Malo to live with her great uncle Etienne.

Meanwhile, Werner Pfennig lives in an orphanage with his sister Jutta in a town called Zollverein in Germany. He is a brilliant kid with an exceptional skill in fixing radios. His talents and expertise with electronics capture attention. Soon, Werner is presented with an opportunity to study in a specialized training school in Berlin. Werner with a hope for a better future and thirst for knowledge decides to attend the school by leaving behind his sister. Only upon his arrival, he realizes that the fears of his sister were right all along – the boarding school is a place that teaches Nazi values. All the while at the boarding school, Werner does everything that he is expected to do but deep inside he is guilty and knows that he has made a wrong decision.

While the city is being bombed and attacked, Marie Laurie holds onto hope and ends up saving Werner’s life with her radio broadcasts. In turn, Werner saves Marie who is trapped in her house with a German officer. This story is about their journey, experiences and how their lives intersect during war.

“He says, “You are very brave.” She lowers the bucket. “What is your name?” He tells her. She says, “When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?” He says, “Not in years. But today. Today maybe I did.”