Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

How even in the most brutal situations, the is always hope, and sometimes even a little bit of happiness. What those people went though is awful, and to know that everyone in the world knew about it, but decided to do nothing, just pissed me off. I read many books on WWII, but always from the Russian or American point of view. I never even knew that the Soviets did this to Lithuania. It's just so sad.

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Mother Mother by Koren Zailckas

I had just finished reading "Echo in the Bone" by Diana Gabaldon and let's say I had enough, so I decided to not finish the series just yet and move on to something a little more exciting. I requested this free book from Blogging For Books and lets say it was a good thing thy had it available right away. I absolutely loved this book. At first I had my doubts, I felt like there wasn't enough details about the characters, (going from Diana Gabaldon who put wayyy too much detail) and then when there was detail I felt like it wasn't natural, like the author had to force herself to add more depth and character to the family. But as I kept reading the story grew on me, and sooner then I realized I was hooked. I think the writing need a bit more work. But the story is phenomenal. The ending was good, I mean after the big OMG!! moment, we get to see the family till the end and know what happens to them later on. 

We are presented with Josephine, the narsassistic mother, who's main concern is the family image and what people will say. She has many issues, but so does the whole family. The 12 years old son Will is autistic and Violet, 16 is on drugs, while the dad is an alcoholic being accused to cheating. Not to mention that their older daughter has run away from home. So how does this family get any worse, well Violet attacks Will with a knife, and is sent to the psych hospital. From where she is desperately trying to find her sister Rose. The mom seems to be trying to keep the family together, and help Will with his social issues. But all she is doing is driving everyone away from her even more. 

I kept feeling like I was on a roller coaster, at first I thought the mom was nuts, then I thought it was probably a trick ending kind of book so I thought it was the dad, and then Violet and then back to mom. I really kept me on my toes, because I didn't know where the story was going to go next. It's a quick and easy read, great when trying to take a brake from a series.

I will definitely recommend this book to others.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

"Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding."

I was very disappointed with this book, it was almost sad how bad it was, the beginning not as much as the ending, it's as if Collins was given an hour to finish it and this is the best she came up with. She didn't do the justice to her characters, at all. We get to know them, love them and then they leave the book and she doesn't even think twice about them. I would have liked to know a little more about all the characters and not just what Katniss is thinking 24/7. And I'm not even gonna go there, Katniss doesn't seem to grow at all in these books, I thought she was a lot stronger in The Hunger Games, she's supposed to be the rebel thats gonna change the lives of people in Panem, but all she does is complain most of the time, running around in the hospital in a daze. Again months pass in just a few pages and we don't really get the full story. I wish this book had an extra 100 pages or so to tie up the loose ends. The ending is "realistic" but we only see what happens to Katniss and Peeta, no one else is really mentioned, I would have liked to know more. I really thought this book was a big disappointment compared to the first two. 

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The second part of The Hunger Games we continue the story of Katniss Everdeen, Peeta and Gale. The story continues after Katniss and Peeta won the Hunger Games, and how Katniss' life has changed, or has it. So she gets a new house in the Victors Village, but is she really safe, is her life any better. Not really, she and Peeta are now the poster children for rebellion, which was never their intended plan. Now they are the number one people that the Capitol wants to destroy. Read the book and find out how they plan to do that. This book was good, but I thought The Hunger Games was a lot better, as is always the case with a series. But it's good anyway, the story still carries the same idea, we still get to feel what the characters feel, and what they go through, and they go though a lot. But it's missing that fire that the first one had. I would recommend reading it right after you finish the first one. Otherwise you might not feel the same connection.

It does leave you hanging a bit, so pick up the Mockingjay right away, a lot of questions from THG are revealed. I found a lot of the plot from the first book repeating, and you will notice months pass in just a few pages, which was a little frustrating. Basically the book lacks the magic that the first one had. And at times you can even expect what will happen, it just didn't pull me in as much as The Hunger Games.  But if you loved the first book you should definitely read this one. And the next one too.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I find it really hard to write a review for a book I absolutely loved. And this one I did. I couldn't read it fast enough to find out what happens next. The story line is really good, yes I know if you've read or watched the movie Battle Royale you will see a lot, and I mean a lot of similarities, but since I didn't, before I started reading this book, I enjoyed it very much. It's more focused on the fact that these people are all controlled by their government, known as the CAPITOL. They are even forced to kill each other. How messed up is that.

Ok so let me explain the plot first. This book is about North America, now called Panem, and how in the future, ( I don't think they mention how far ) after a riot of some sort gone wrong, the Capitol controls 12 districts. The story follows Katniss, a 16 year old girl who lives in district 12, apparently the worst one. Every year the Capitol chooses two children between ages 12-18 to participate in The Hunger Games, designed to show the citizens that the Capital is in charge of all of them. These 24 teenagers are sent to fight to the death, last one standing wins. And this is where Katniss comes in, she is at the Hunger Games and is fighting for her life. Really there is more to the story but of course I can't sill the beans here. You will just have to take my word for it and find out for yourself. Sure I thought the ending might be a little different, maybe I hoped they would all commit suicide just to stick it to the MAN, but they really didn't. Unless it happens in the next book, Catching Fire. Which I will start as soon as it arrives in the mail. Can't wait what happens next.

I think the book could've been a little better, maybe if it was a little longer, Collins would have more room to develop more of the characters, we don't really get to know all the 24 teenagers. And I don't even want to mention the many spelling and grammar errors. Talk about run on sentences. I had the urge to go through and underline and correct all the errors. I always thought a book had to be perfect in order to be published. But I guess that is the editors fault.

Aside from that, the book is great, I don't really see any similarities between this book and Twilight, and I've seen a lot of people comparing the two. I got to say I like it more than Twilight, they just killed the books with the movies.

Oh and don't forget March 8, 2012 the Hunger Games comes out in theaters. Here's the trailer.

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

There really isn't anything special about this book, it follows the lives of 3 couples whose friends die in a boating accident or so they think. They go through the grief and then start to question their relationships with each other as well as with the friends who died. I don't know what to think, it's all jumbled up, it's a good story but there is so much going on, you get to read different chapter from each persons point of view, and not only that you get flash backs and many of them. It was hard to focus on what was happening at the current moment. Basically they all have different reasons to be sad or rethink their life, and the decisions they have made. So if you want an easy fast read go for it but it's not something to really think hard about.

Coffee at Little Angels by Nadine Rose Larter - REVIEW

Simplistic narrative and genuine facts of all the random thoughts that run through our minds when faced with someones death.

A touching and beautiful story of childhood friends gathering to mourn the death of a friend from the past. 

We get to meet eight characters, and each one takes us on a journey of how they perceived their friendship and past memories. You can't help but sympathize and relate to each one on a different level. At first, when Philip was describing how living in a small town meant that as a kid you practically didn't have any rules, you knew everyone and parents didn't mind having their kids outside all day, as there was nothing to be afraid of, I couldn't help but smile and think "wow it's just like my childhood, I partially grew up just like he did".  Then when Sarah stepped into the picture I could relate to her also, and Maxine, and each one of the characters. I found my self nodding and talking to myself, saying how much I identify myself with them. And when Sarah finally broke I could not help the tears in my eyes. It really makes you reflect on your own friends and loved ones, and how their lives would go on in case of your own death, as well as theirs.

As the book progresses I found myself not expecting what the big climax of the story was, but of the characters themselves. I couldn't get enough of every one of them, I feel as there should be a book about all of them separately. Somehow they just seem extremely real, and normal. 

I would recommend this book to everyone, it is touching and really makes you think about the small things in life.  

The Secret Journal of Brett Colton by Kay Lynn Mangum - REVIEW

This book is AMAZING!I loved it, the story is very moving, had me crying, and I can honestly say no other book ever has.  At first I was a little apprehensive about it, since this is the first book this author has written, but aside from a couple of spelling and grammar errors I found this book is really touching.The book starts with Kathy a teenager ready to start High School who is constantly hearing stories of her dead brother Brett from her family. Every day they seem to talk about how amazing he was and what he did. But all she can think of is why they aren't moving on. She feels left out since she was only two years old when he died, and she doesn't really care what they have to say. As the book progresses Kathy is drawn more and more to her dead brother, she looks at his pictures and feels something, a connection? But she can't put her finger on it. On her birthday she is given a present, a present that has been waiting for her for 14 years. Her brother Brett has given her his Journal, that was written for her. In it she finds out who her brother really was, his thoughts, struggles and how she was a big part of his life, even though she didn't know about it. As she is going though her own problems with everything from friends to religion, the journal teaches her how to be patient and how to deal with it. This story is a perfect example of a girl coming-of-age, who learns the importance of life, love, family, and faith. 

A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay - REVIEW

It's very hard to describe how upset I am with this book. Antoine Rey is an architect living in Paris, he recently got divorced and is trying to make sense of life again. After taking his sister on a birthday trip where they mostly reflect on their childhood, Mélanie remembers something shocking. As she begins to tell Antoine she looses control of the car.  As a result from the crash she cannot remember what she was going to tell him. After months the big "secret" emerges. While they try to discover more about their mothers' death Antoine is struggling with his own life. Repressed memories, unloving father, rebellious teenagers and his ex-wife.

This book was really disappointing compared to the authors previous book Sarah's Key, which I enjoyed. This one did not interest me at all. Pretty much 90% of the book deals with Antoines' mid-life crisis, and how he can't communicate with his children, about his one night stands and repressed memories he can't put to rest.

The author throws so many upsetting events (divorce, car accident, amnesia, adultery, lesbians, death, another death, troubled teenagers, cancer, possible murder?) at us that it seems like she was trying too hard to make this book interesting.

And the 'big secret' —once we actually get to it, by the end of the book— doesn't seem all that important. I found my self saying 'Big deal'.  I HAD to read this in one sitting because if I came back another day I would not open it again. There was no suspense or big climax, just boring boring boring. 

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

sarah's key book review

The litte girl Sarah Starzynski manages to hide her little brother in a cupboard (their secret hiding place) before the police take her and her parents to the Vélodrome d'Hiver, where they await to be transported to Auschwitz.Fast forward sixty years later Julia Jarmond an American journalist living in France uncovers what has happened to her and her family. This discovery makes her question her relationship with her husband and his family's involvement. She is determined to find out the truth, even if it destroys her family. About half way though the book the story shifts to Sarahs point to view and back to Julia. We are able to connect with the girl on a deeper lever and feel what she felt. Her love for her brother nearly got her killed yet she never gave up.Although the book is written in pretty simple language I still enjoyed it and would recommend it for someone who enjoys an easy read. But it still could have been written a little better. After the big secret is revealed the book looses steam. It feels more like it's about Julia then Sarah, how she struggles with her marriage, family and some moral issues. I would prefer to find out more about Sarah then just the woman who's doing research on her.

Overall this book is pretty good. Makes you think of what people went though during the war and while some people try to face the facts, others seem to think that since they didn't live through it it never happened. There is also a movie made from this book. Check it out

Hoping Netflix has it soon. Looks pretty good compared to the book.