Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Misty @ Misty’s Book Space | Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Hello and welcome to the first installment Someone Picks My Books for 2021! This year I am starting off by reading a book picked by Misty where you can find on twitter as @mistymichelle30 or on her blog called Misty’s Book Space. This is the second time Misty has picked a book for me, you can see the first book she picked for me on the post called, Someone Picks My Books | Misty’s Book Space. Misty decided to pick another book by Ruta Sepetys, so without further adu, here is my review and thoughts on her pick!


Salt to the Sea ebook on iPad placed on bed.

One Sentence Review

This novel gives light to all the horrendous things people had to deal with during WWII outside of the horrible concentrations camps, mistrust rampant and anxiety high while the reader follows well written characters.

Description

While the Titanic and Lusitania are both well-documented disasters, the single greatest tragedy in maritime history is the little-known January 30, 1945 sinking in the Baltic Sea by a Soviet submarine of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German cruise liner that was supposed to ferry wartime personnel and refugees to safety from the advancing Red Army. The ship was overcrowded with more than 10,500 passengers — the intended capacity was approximately 1,800 — and more than 9,000 people, including 5,000 children, lost their lives.

Sepetys (writer of ‘Between Shades of Gray’) crafts four fictionalized but historically accurate voices to convey the real-life tragedy. Joana, a Lithuanian with nursing experience; Florian, a Prussian soldier fleeing the Nazis with stolen treasure; and Emilia, a Polish girl close to the end of her pregnancy, converge on their escape journeys as Russian troops advance; each will eventually meet Albert, a Nazi peon with delusions of grandeur, assigned to the Gustloff decks. –goodreads


What I Liked

I enjoyed this novel quite a bit. As I said in my one sentence review, I felt that this was a great topic to cover for WW2. A lot of the stories I have come in contact with mainly deal with the jewish perspective, those trying to get jewish people out of occupied areas and those in concentration camps. I felt that this highlights another experience that was sadly common during WW2. You could not trust anyone, even if they were the allied forces. Many people operated out of fear and self preservation, it was rare to find a stranger to help and trust.

The writing was done well for the most part, I thought it was a good idea to give this novel multiple perspectives to tell the story of many more people and their experiences. While this is a fiction novel, it does draw a lot on true events and overall I think the author did a good job of this. The characters were well done and I thought the author did a good job of highlighting their motives and feelings while being in these horrible situations. I will say, I was kind of surprised that I was invested as much as I was because of an issue I will talk about in a bit. I think the fact I had such a reaction to events was the story telling ability in creating an atmosphere more so than the characters.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, the one thing that really was difficult was the frequency of the point of view switching. It took a while for me to easily be able to switch between them and get the characters straight. This led to their voices and stories being jumbled at first. I did eventually figure it out, but at the start I feel like the switches needed to be less frequent.

Overall

Overall, I am really glad that Misty picked this book for me to read this month. It was a heart breaking read because of its content, but I also think it is important to understand and see what these people had to endure, not just these characters. The content was good historically speaking and the author ability to create an atmosphere so quickly pulled me in is a talent that not all writers have. I think if you have the chance to read this novel you should give it a try, but keep in mind that difficult topics are dealt with that are common themes in WW2.


Next month I am reading a book picked by Nicky, who you can find on twitter as @cre8ive_nicky. I am a bit nervous, but also looking forward to reading the thriller she picked for me. I either love a thriller or it falls flat so I am curious to see how this is going to work out!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | #AnimalCrossingReadathon Wrap Up

Middle Mark

Hello and welcome to a hybrid of a book post. This is my Middle Mark post, but also my wrap up for the Animal Crossing Readathon I decided to take part in last minute. Which, I ended up doing better than I thought I was going to do. What really helped me was the fact that I decided to do a bit of a personal readathon on March 14th. Anyway, on to the books!


Read 2

Gwendy's Magic Feather (The Button Box, #2)Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this second book in the series, it had a different vibe to it, but I very much enjoyed seeing the characters again.

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Imaginary FriendImaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was so much enjoying this book for the first 400 pages or so. Then it just started to feel like there was a. huge ending coming, but there were 100s of pages left. I feel like this book went on for way too long and the pacing was just all messed up. I liked it less and less as it went on and it is a shame because I really was loving this book at the start.

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Animal Crossing Readathon!

HamletHamlet by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review to come.

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Between Shades of GrayBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first book by Ruta Sepetys and I am kind of mad it took my this long to read a book by her. The writing is just wonderful, but I don’t want to say this book is wonderful it is powerful and eye opening. The topic that is covered in this book is just heart breaking. I knew about the history, reading detached non-fiction during my studies, but this book just makes this story so much human than I have come across it in the fast.

This book felt like I was hearing the story of a young girl and the fight/spirit she had in her when she was surrounded by horrid things. Her story was heart breaking, but I cannot get over how power and strong she is. It really makes you think of all the people who wee affected and mistreated during this time period and the events are rarely talked about or discussed. It is a tough read, so I would research the topics and events that happen in this book because I feel like it might be triggering to some.

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A Knife in the Fog (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle #1)A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just as wonderful on the reread. If you want to read my full review from my first read, you can see that here: Blog Tour Review | A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper.

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Queen's GambitQueen’s Gambit by Bradley Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very wonderful sequel to A Knife in the Fog. I continue to enjoy the authors well researched writing, plot, and characters. It was a very enjoy ride and I read it in a single day I was so pulled into it. Will be keeping an eye out for more books from this author!

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Promp Recap

✔️Resetti: Queen’s Gambit by Bradley Harper DONE

✔️K.K. Slider: Audiobook of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys DONE

✔️Able Sisters: Hamlet by William Shakespeare DONE

Tom Nook: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

✔️Animal Crossing Gamecube: A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper DONE


Four out of the five prompts in my book is not bad at all. I really was lacking on reading The Magicians. It isn’t that I am not liking it, I just want to read it when I can’t be distracted. It is too good for its own good! Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this readathon.

I am a bit sad that I preordered the game in a physical store and they are closed, so I wont be playing today or for a while most likely. But, I am glad that everyone is being safe. It is just a game and I will get my hands on it as soon as I can. It is always nice to have something to look forward to.


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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Misty’s Book Space

Someone Picks My Books

Hello and welcome to another Someone Picks My Books post! I am really loving and enjoying this series so much and I am happy that you all seem to be enjoying it as well. This month I am reading a book that is picked by the wonderful Misty over at Misty’s Book Space. She is one of the nicest people I have talked to online, she is supportive and kind, and has a great taste in books. This month she picked Between Shades if Gray by Ruta Sepetys.


Book Description

Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life — until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father’s prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive? – Amazon.com


So, going into this book I was pretty certain I was going to like it for a few reasons. The first being, as I said earlier, Misty has a wonderful taste in books. So, I felt like I was in very good hands. The second being I love history and historical fiction. The third reason being I have heard a lot about Ruta Sepetys, all good things. I have always heard that she is a very talented writer and her work is well researched and quality. Quality when it comes to historical fiction is important to me since I studied it so when something is off it tends to ruin the entire book for me.

I just finished this book the day I am writing this and I wrote a quick review over on my Goodreads account, but I just wanted to elaborate on a few things in this post. First and foremost is that the author really lives up to the expectations that were set. You can clearly tell she has done her research due to the details that are present within her novel. I have read about this topic countless times and for her to add so much of the real world into this book, just made it is much more powerful and in my opinion a superior historical fiction novel. Her writing of this topic was wonderful and you can tell she was passionate and cares about the topic. I do not want to come out and say this is a beautiful book because the topic is just so heart breaking, but it is written so well.

As stated in the description this story follows a 15 year old girl named Lina who has fallen victim to the horrid campaign of Stalin during WW2 towards his own nation. This book depicts the horrible events that many faced who were educators, librarians, and anyone else who happened to have the wrong career. I don’t want to really say much about what happens in this novel and while I highly suggest this novel, it can be a very difficult read. I suggest doing a bit of research to see if it would be triggering for you to read.

As I said in my goodreads review, this book felt like I was listening to a first hand account of the things that happened because of the not well known actions of Stalin against his own people. Lina had such fight and spirit within her, but this book isn’t just about her. This book shows how a wide range of people responded to the events. It shows how they react and respond to not only the horrible treatment of them, but of others. It really shows the wide range personalities and mentality of human beings. This book is hard to explain and do justice because it is so much more than just a story, it is the story of hundreds and thousands of people. While this was a very heart breaking read, I really enjoyed it. I will certainly be reading another book by this author in the future.


Next month I am excited to say that I will be reading a book that was picked by Meeghan from Meeghan Reads. I am very excited to be reading her pick this April. It is a book written by an author I have read in the past and really enjoyed, but it is not a genre I have read in a while. So, I am excited to see how it goes, but I have high hopes!

Have you read this book? What is another book I should read by Ruta Sepetys?

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