jewish literature

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 6/19/19

When it comes to taking a vacation from your life, there’s no better bang for your buck than a good book. It’s irrefutable: books are magic. You might not be able to fit a queen-sized bed into your humbly-sized room, but you CAN fit hundreds of entire worlds. You can’t find a plane ticket to Kyoto, Istanbul, or Vienna for under a few hundred dollars, but you can go as far as outer space for less than $20. What is there not to love? That is, besides the fact that you don’t actually OWN our Three to Read selections yet. Fortunately, unlike a small bedroom and a sad bank account, that can be easily remedied.

This week, check out our collection of edge-of-your-seat thrillers and imaginative fantasy! Want to read an author who’s been showered in praise by Stephen King, Lee Child, AND James Patterson? We got you. Want to read a thriller set in an airport while waiting in an airport? We got you. Want a chance to rediscover an incredible work of Eastern European & Jewish inspiration? We got you.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!




Blood Relations

'Blood Relations' by Jonathan Moore



A new thriller from a writer who’s been compared to Michael Crichton, Alfred Hitchcock, Raymond Chandler, Blake Crouch, and David Cronenberg takes us to the most menacing core of California’s upper crust, a class of billionaires with more money than they could spend in an eternity.

Who is Claire Gravesend? 

So wonders PI Lee Crowe when he finds her dead, in a fine cocktail dress, on top of a Rolls Royce, in the most dangerous neighborhood in San Francisco. Claire’s mother, Olivia, is one of the richest people in California. She doesn’t believe the coroner: her daughter did not kill herself. Olivia hires Crowe, who—having just foiled a federal case against a cartel kingpin—is eager for distraction. But the questions about the Gravesend family pile up fast.

First, the autopsy reveals round scars running down Claire’s spine, old marks Olivia won’t explain. Then, Crowe visits Claire’s Boston townhouse and has to fend off an armed intruder. Is it the Feds out for revenge? Or is this connected to the Gravesends? He leaves Boston afraid, but finds his way to Claire’s secret San Francisco pied-à-terre. It’s there that his questions come to a head. Sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, he finds Claire—her face, her hair, her scars—and as far as he can tell, she’s alive. And Crowe’s back at the start:

Who is Claire Gravesend?



Jonathan Moore has received positive reviews from international sensations Lee Child, James Patterson, & Stephen King, some of the biggest names in thriller fiction today. Kirkus Reviews lauded the novel for its “speculative twist” while also professing that it “[has] a lot to say about humanity’s hubris and preoccupation with eternal youth.” Some thrillers don’t make readers think about anything more than the possibility of a killer in their closet; Blood Relations makes readers think AND keeps them on the edge of their seat. Publishers Weekly assures thriller fans that this release is “relentless pacing” and a “highly-satisfying conclusion,” which is good news: you won’t want this book to end, but you’ll also celebrate when it does. Bram Stoker Award-winning author Jonathan Moore is sure to delight. This title’s so hot, you’ll need to cool off after reading… possibly with a dip in the ocean? That brings us to our…



'Layover' by David Bell




In this high concept psychological suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter, a chance meeting with a woman in an airport sends a man on a 
pulse-pounding quest for the truth… 

Joshua Fields takes the same flights every week for work. His life is a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During yet another layover, Joshua meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger with whom he feels an immediate connection. When it’s time for their flights, Morgan gets up to leave, leans over and passionately kisses Joshua, lamenting that they’ll never see each other again.

As Morgan slips away, Joshua is left feeling confused by what just happened between them. That’s when he looks up and is shocked to see Morgan’s face flashing on a nearby TV screen. He’s even more shocked when he learns the reason why–Morgan is a missing person.

What follows is a whirlwind, fast-paced journey filled with lies, deceit, and secrets to discover the truth about why Morgan is on the run. But when he finally thinks every mystery is solved, another rears its head, and Joshua’s worst enemy may be his own assumptions about those around him…



Many of us are surely taking trips this summer… and what better book could there be to read in an airport than a thriller set in an airport!? You’d think that nothing could be more thrilling than the perfect vacation, but a chance encounter with a missing person might just have to top it. Even if you aren’t going on a trip, you can always take a vacation from your average life with a heart-pounding, original, and addictive new release. Booklist swears that “readers will find themselves immersed in this riveting thriller” and agrees that it’s “the perfect book to read on a long flight.” David Bell is a bestselling, award-winning author whose work has been translated to meet the demands of readers worldwide, and this story certainly reflects the mastery of his craft. Meet-cute gone wrong? More like meet your next beach read gone very, very right! Bestselling author Kaira Rouda reminds us: “make sure your belt is fastened and enjoy!”



The Sisters of The Winter Wood




Raised in a small village surrounded by vast forests, Liba and Laya have lived a peaceful sheltered life – even if they’ve heard of troubling times for Jews elsewhere. When their parents travel to visit their dying grandfather, the sisters are left behind in their home in the woods.

But before they leave, Liba discovers the secret that their Tati can transform into a bear, and their Mami into a swan. Perhaps, Liba realizes, the old fairy tales are true. She must guard this secret carefully, even from her beloved sister.

Soon a troupe of mysterious men appear in town and Laya falls under their spell-despite their mother’s warning to be wary of strangers. And these are not the only dangers lurking in the woods…

The sisters will need each other if they are to become the women they need to be – and save their people from the dark forces that draw closer.



Upon its original publication, this book garnered staggering acclaim and praise. Now that it’s time for the paperback release, take your chance to catch this incredible read you may have missed. Madeleine Miller, international #1 NYT bestselling author of Circe, called this stunning debut “a gripping, powerful story.” Kirkus Reviews touted author Rena Rossner’s “ambitious and surprising” voice, unsurprising praise, given that this story is richly-woven tapestry of Russian & Ukrainian mythology and Jewish history & culture. Unbelievably imaginative and unique, the novel’s Publishers Weekly starred review raves that the story is “creepy and moving by turn, full of heart, history, and enchantment.” The story itself may be a fairy tale, but the relationship between the sisters is very real: the sisters’ bond and the expertly-realized blend of myth & history makes this one your perfect summer read.




All In-text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via PhotoCollage

Bart van Es' 'The Cut Out Girl'

Holocaust Biography ‘The Cut Out Girl’ Named Costa Book of the Year

The Costa Book Awards are a unique combination of prestige and populism, their esteem recognized throughout the world. The aim of these awards is to honor serious literary achievement while also recognizing books that spread the joy of reading to as broad an audience as possible. Their consideration of the general public-not just the literary elite-is their main distinction from the Booker Prize. Named for their sponsor, Costa Coffee, the awards honor authors who have resided in the UK or Ireland for at least six months in each of the past three years.


Costa Book Awards logo

Image Via Waterstones


There are five total award categories: novel, first novel, children’s book, poetry, and biography. When deciding its Book of the Year, the Costa Book Awards’ panel of judges (all professionals in the field of literature, from authors to editors to bookstore owners) chooses from one of the five winners. The 2018 winners garnered serious media buzz: Sally Rooney‘s Normal People won attention, acclaim, and the Costa Novel Award. At twenty-seven, Rooney is the youngest Costa Award-winner. With such an impressive lineup, it’s with great honor that the Costa Awards acknowledge Bart van Es‘ Holocaust survivor biography, The Cut Out Girl.


Lien De Jong

Lien de Jong, Holocaust survivor

Image Via Penguin UK


The biography follows the life of Lien de Jong, a Holocaust survivor now in her 80s. At the age of nine, the young Jewish girl found refuge with van Es’ grandparents after her own parents were condemned to Auschwitz. When Lien later estranged herself from the family, van Es committed himself to finding out why. Van Es was the only person to whom Lien would tell her story. “Nobody spoke about it during the war or after the war… The time before that, I had no words. I never thought I had a story,” she confessed, “but Bart wrote it down and it was a story.” De Jong was present at the ceremony.


Biographer van Es and his subject, de Jong

Biographer van Es and subject de Jong

Image Via The Times


Since receiving the prize, van Es has spoken on the book’s timeliness and value:


There’s a scary way in which anti-Semitism and extreme nationalism and conspiracy theories are around in a way they weren’t 10 years ago. But also another way in which it is quite a healing book.


The book has thus far sold around 6,000 copies. Do you plan to give this one a try?


'The Cut Out Girl' by Bart van Es

Image Via Amazon


The extraordinary true story of a young Jewish girl in Holland during World War II, who hides from the Nazis in the homes of an underground network of foster families, one of them the author’s grandparents.

Bart van Es left Holland for England many years ago, but one story from his Dutch childhood never left him. It was a mystery of sorts: a young Jewish girl named Lientje had been taken in during the war by relatives and hidden from the Nazis, handed over by her parents, who understood the danger they were in all too well. The girl had been raised by her foster family as one of their own, but then, well after the war, there was a falling out, and they were no longer in touch. What was the girl’s side of the story, Bart wondered? What really happened during the war, and after?

So began an investigation that would consume Bart van Es’s life, and change it. After some sleuthing, he learned that Lientje was now in her 80s and living in Amsterdam. Somewhat reluctantly, she agreed to meet him, and eventually they struck up a remarkable friendship, even a partnership. The Cut Out Girl braids together a powerful recreation of that intensely harrowing childhood story of Lientje’s with the present-day account of Bart’s efforts to piece that story together, including bringing some old ghosts back into the light.


Featured Image Via The Standard