Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blog Tour: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman {Revew + Giveaway}

Release date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 416
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?
Everything I loved about Prisoner of Night and Fog--the expert rendering of history to fit a fictional story, Gretchen's steadfast courage and strength of mind, and her honest and sweet romance with Daniel, to name a few things--was present in Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, and many elements were even stronger this time around. In this sequel, Hitler himself plays less of a role, but the effects of everything he's been building in Germany hit Gretchen and Daniel just as hard as if the man himself were pulling the strings.

This time around, Gretchen and Daniel have a strong grasp of the danger in Germany at the time. They've witnessed Hitler's volatility firsthand and know there are plenty of people who would kill them on sight for their previous actions. And while it feels like they're jumping headfirst into a pit of vipers in going back to Germany, I can't help but admire how loyal and brave the two of them are. Even so, they're astonished at how things have changed in the nearly two years since they left. We know from history how Hitler wrestled uncontested control of Germany in the years leading up to World War II, but these are things happening in real time in the book. Their ideas that the world could hear of the Nazi machinations and somehow stop the takeover seem almost naive, and certainly idealistic, yet you can't help but hope that they'll succeed, that the horrors of what's to come can be erased--even if it's just in fiction.

Again, Gretchen is pretty marvelous as a protagonist. She's grown so much, seeing people for who they are and not allowing another's ideas to shade what she thinks of others, fighting tooth and nail and putting her life on the line for those she cares for. She's attuned to Daniel's feelings and needs, always trying to be aware of how her actions and words affect him, just as he is to hers. Their relationship is still just as sweet and has only grown stronger in this second book.

The Berlin of Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is foreign to Gretchen and it's got a more insidious feeling to it than Munich did. Around every corner could be an SS officer coming to conduct a raid, with reason or without. Those who can feel the tides changing are making their way out of Germany while they still can. Others dangerously believe keeping their heads down will allow them to ride out the worst of the storm. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is another gut-wrenching novel, one that's only more painful because we know what's to come, but it stands strong with its predecessor.

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Follow the Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

US Only | Giveaway ends April 22nd, 2015

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