Book Review

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult historical fiction
Length: 344 pages
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: March 22nd, 2011
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

INFORMATIVE.

I did find enthralled in the story, but I struggled with some pieces of it.

This was intense and informative to other parts of World War 2 that I am less familiar with. I like that it tackled the Baltic countries and what the Soviet Union was doing to oppress them and trying to make them disappear. It was heart-breaking and I struggled to read through a lot of it.

But I did feel like this lacked a plot. Lina’s painful journey was just that, a painful journey. There was a repeat of events that really emphasized how pretty this book isn’t. I wish there was a little more development with Andrius to really solidify the side romance occurring.

What I felt on another level was Lina’s Mom. The way she cared for her children and even took time to show love to those around her really melted me. The strength and resilience she gave to others clearly was in Lina as well. Lina was courageous and tough as she dealt with trial after trial.

I didn’t love how abrupt the ending was. I turned the next page and all of a sudden I was in an epilogue years later. I wish there was a bit more of a conclusion or a general sense of the situation coming to a close.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction
  • Language: very little light
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder, gun violence, physical altercations; bloody/gory; depictions of wartime, abandonment
  • Trigger warnings: brief sexual harassment, loss of loved ones

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Georgana’s Secret by Arlem Hawks

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Arlem Hawks
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: January 12th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

1811, HMS Deborah

A Regency romance on the high seas.

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, “George.”

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. Determined to prove himself to his new captain, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the “boy” under his wing. After discovering a number of clues, Dominic deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy’s secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent and hides his growing affection for her.

Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care but is convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life on the sea, and having already missed too many seasons in London, her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband have slipped away.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing for a copy of Georgana’s Secret in exchange for a review.

A HIGH SEAS SECRET ROMANCE.

I was fairly swept away by this tale. I found it full of adventure, some daring antics, and a romance. A great combination for an affair on the high seas.

The development of the connection between Dominic and Georgana was sweet. I liked how it grew out of friendship, but that also her secret didn’t stay secret too long. I hate when it’s dragged out and then leaves me flustered when everything comes out. This worked really well in that there was still plenty of time for them as well as the story as a whole.

I loved Georgana’s strong yet reserved nature. Trying to do the best she could in the situation she ended up in. Her nature to reach out rather than fight back was great, but I definitely loved when she fought back too. She and Dominic really had chemistry from the get go and I adored their banter and tender moments.

This was filled with a lot more than a bunch of people on a ship. I liked having scenery changes with landings, crossings with other ships, and back at home. This mix up kept everything from getting too stagnant and like I was stuck on a ship. It’s a regency story that has a vibrant and different setting.

I enjoyed the sweet little epilogue at the end and felt satisfied with how things worked out for all of the characters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Proper Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: ship battles, physical altercations, severe wounds and illness

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: December 2020

We’ve made it to the end of the year! I wrapped up the year with 250 books and am excited to see what a new year holds. I know I won’t hit that high of books again, but it was fun to expand genres and authors I’ve read.

Happy New Year y’all.

Favorite Reads: Forever Wild, A Sky Beyond the Storm, Skyhunter, and A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow
Least Favorite: Winterkeep, The Christmas Swap

  • Forever Wild (The Simple Wild #2.5) by K.A. Tucker
  • A Match Made at Christmas by Courtney Walsh
  • Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend
  • A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4) by Sabaa Tahir
  • The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
  • A Christmas Spark by Cindy Steel
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities #1) by Shannon Messenger
  • Layla by Colleen Hoover
  • [ARC] A Captain for Caroline Gray by Julie Wright
  • On the Second Day of Christmas by Deborah M. Hathaway
  • Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #2) by Jessica Townsend
  • Firefight (The Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson
  • [ARC] The Lion of the Sea (The Maiden Ship #2) by Micheline Ryckman
  • Skyhunter (Skyhunter #1) by Marie Lu
  • The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
  • [ARC] Winterkeep (Graceling Realm #4) by Krisin Cashore
  • Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2) by Shannon Messenger
  • A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
  • A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
  • [Gifted] Ex on the Beach (The Extra Series #11) by Megan Walker and Janci Patterson
  • Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

How was your reading this month? Did we read any of the same books? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 979 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delta
Release Date: November 6th, 2001
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon mesmerized readers with her award-winning Outlander novels, four dazzling tales featuring eighteenth-century Scotsman James Fraser and his twentieth-century time-traveling wife, Claire Randall. Now, in this eagerly awaited fifth volume, Diana Gabaldon continues their extraordinary saga, a masterpiece of pure storytelling that is her most astonishing Outlander novel yet….

The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’ s certain knowledge. Claire’s unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes.

A MIDDLE BOOK.

First and foremost, I love this series. This book? A bit slow compared to the previous four.

I felt like it took until 600 pages before I was really wrapped up into it. While that’s clearly a long time to wait, It’s still just a book I can listen to and really get into. I like listening to the narrator. I love hearing the story and even when things aren’t as eventful, I enjoy being in the mundane-ness because I love Claire, Jamie, Roger and Bri.

There was a lot of random (to me) love scenes. I don’t inherently have a problem with them, I just personally like them to fit into the story rather than feel like they’re put their for page time. These felt more page time which is what took so long before the drama really started going down.

I liked what The Fiery Cross set up. Getting closer to the Revolutionary War is only going to increase many story lines and plots. There’s plenty of loose ends running around that I’m excited to get to the next book. Especially because one of my FAVORITE characters is back!!

For 1,000 pages I know I should [could?] have a lot more to say, but this series thrives off of keeping things as spoiler-free as possible. Since this is book 5 of 8 (or maybe more now!) I want to keep it brief.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction / romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: open and closed door scenes throughout
  • Violence: battles, physical, guns, hangings, animal attacks, snake bites, murder

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