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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The Christmas Wedding review

A 60+ year old woman gets proposed to three times in one night, in a matter of 10 minutes. Yea right, like that ever happens. I bought this book only because it was by James Patterson, one of the most popular mystery writers out there. I did not like this book at all. I thought that since it was by James Patterson it was gonna have a real big mystery and some twists at the end, but no it didn't. it made you think there was gonna be a surprise ending, I even predicted the most obvious ending and you know what? It was worse. Ok, so I'm gonna try and be fair and explain to you what the book is actually about. Gabby, a mother of four, and let me just get it out there her four are adults, with their own kids, so that puts Gabby at about 60-70 years old. She is a widow, her husband died about three years before and she has just been lonely. So the book starts off with her sending a video message to her kids, really? Do old people do that? Ok so in the video she tells her kids that she is getting married, and the groom is a surprise. Hmmm, why would a grandma keep surprises like that, what for, why the big mystery. That's when I thought that there was going to be some big big mystery revealed at the end. Also the wedding is taking place on Christmas day. So everyone drop your plans, mommy's getting married, on the biggest holiday and you all have to be there. How selfish. Than she sends them a few more videos, in one explaining how she got proposed to three times, on the same night. That is just unbelievable. After Gabby runs in the snow barefoot to follow her teenage grandson, so he doesn't get high, on her wedding day, in her white dress, and then has to wear sneakers, I gave up. I still listened to the audio book, but I completely lost interest. I just wanted it to end, and find out who she marries. And it wasn't that impressive.

I don't know if I would recommend this book to anyone. Maybe people like Gabby, older women or just people who are really really bored and have nothing to do but read boring books. Come on James Patterson, I thought you were better. Now I'm a little hesitant to pick up any of his other books. I've been eying The Honeymoon but now I have my doubts.

ROOM By Emma Donoghue

I bought this book some time ago, at least a couple years, but I never felt the urge to read it. I was hesitant, what could possibly be so interesting about one room. Boy was I wrong. This book really took me by surprise, it scared me, it made me shutter and laugh, it was creepy, sad and a little disturbing. Actually, quite disturbing. I mostly listened to the audio book version I got from the library, and here and there I would pick up the hard copy, and the audio was what made it more creepy, I think. I started to listed to it on one of my runs, after about a chapter I was a little scared to continue. When you hear a 5 year old boy saying "he gets some" in the mornings, I was like WHAT THE HELL IS THIS KIND OF BOOK, WHY AM I READING IT. NO NO NO NO!!  But no it's not what you think, this boy has never seen the world outside the 4 walls that he shares with his mom. All day they play games, watches tv, but only for a little while, he likes Dora and he reads books, he can count and even make himself some food. He starts to tell the story in such a light hearted way, that I got a little confused, wasn't this supposed to be a little scary. He spends days and nights in one 12x12 room and is perfectly happy about it. But you really start to figure out the seriousness of this book when at night Jack is hiding in the wardrobe while Old Nick comes in. Before Jack goes to sleep he counts the squeaks of the bed when Old Nick gets on it. Omg! That is when it hits you. What?! Jacks mom decides that he is old enough to know that the world he sees only on tv is actually real, and that's where she came from, from the Outside. It was really interesting to see how a child who doesn't even know that other people exist would handle finding out that he has a family out there, and that the trees are real and that there is an Outside. He has to learn how to see the world all over again.

I really liked this book, I didn't know if I was going to at first, it creeped me out. Donoghue did a wonderful job going into a child's mind and describing the world as he sees it. Jack is the narrator the whole time, and it might get a little getting used to the writing, because it isn't grammatically correct most of the time. Given that 5 year olds don't speak well. But it is really touching and quite the page turner, I was on the edge of my seat wanting to find out what happens next. It can almost be categorized as a thriller. It really makes you think, there are a lot of people who are kept like this and this just tells their side of the story. It's a beautiful book, that will touch you and make you hug your kids a little more. As well as never let them out of your sight because they will be kidnapped.

Highly recommend it.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I listened to most of this book in the car on my way to and from work, as well as just around the house,or when running. I really enjoyed it. I like that it had different people reading the different characters. It was easier to distinguish, and it was fun. The book is written from three different perspectives. Minnie, Abeline, and Skeeter (Eugenia), and they tell the story beautifully. Minnie and Abeline are Black maids in Jackson, Mississippi. And with the civil right movement they are gonna be in a heap of trouble if anyone discovers they are telling stories about their employers. Their selfish, rude and lazy employers. I really like Skeeter and was rooting for Minnie, Abline is just so sweet and the little girl she takes care of just made me want to cry. How could a stay at home mom, be so busy with clubs and other nonsense that she needs a nanny and a maid to take care of her house? They don't seem very rich either, can't they just do their housework themselves. Ugh they made me so angry. Skeeter is awesome, she has an open mind and doesn't care to get married and drop out of college. This book made me sad, angry and laugh out loud. It's a great story about friendship, trust, life and different people coming together to create change.

 

I watched the movie right after I finished the book, and boy did I hate it. There just isn't anything good about it, I understand that they had to fit a whole book into a 2+ hour movie, but they really botched it up. I watched it with my boyfriend, and he never read the book, I had to explain most of what was happening. I don't think it's easy to follow if you didn't read the book first, they left a lot out and changed a lot of what they didn't leave out. I was waiting to watch this movie since it came out, and I got to say I wish I never had. The book is a 100% better. I do not recommend watching the movie. But please read the book.

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

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.
Once again Diana Gabaldon shares with us the world of Claire and Jamie, now settled on the Ridge, their life takes on a different turn, as grandparents. But life on the ridge isn't as peaceful as they hope it to be.
 
I have been in LOVE with this series since I read the description of it on Amazon two years ago, the first three I read in just a couple days, COULD NOT put them down. But once the fourth book came out, things went down fast. Curiosity still won over and I still keep reading, but I can't wait till it's over.
 
This book has so far been the worst book in the series, for me at least. It took me over two years to finish it. I put it down and didn't pick it up for a long time. I just couldn't do it. There was too much unnecessary information and detail that blinded the main story. I don't even know what the main story was, there was nothing interesting going on in this book, only preparations and political choices. I understand that we have been with these characters for years now, but do we still need to hear about their sex life. Over and over again. Don't get me wrong I still love this series, but it is just wayyy too long. 
I would still recommend this book to everyone who started this series, and everyone should start reading Outlander right now. Because this is the best series ever. 

Children of Liberty by Paullina Simons

It's not what I thought this book was going to be about. Yes, it's a prequel to The Bronze Horseman trilogy, it's about how Alexanders parents met, and that's just it, it's about how they met and ended up together, but it's not about their life with each other. I hear there will be another book to tell that story.
Nonetheless it's not a bad story, just not what I was looking for. The characters are good but they still have to grow on me, I think it would be better if this was part of the next book, instead of a separate book. But I do like how we get to see them and how they grow up, in what kind of families and homes. It's a good book, if you read The Bronze Horseman then you will like this either  way.

 

The Stranger By Albert Camus

Albert Camus was a nobel prize winning author, and philosopher who contributed to the rise of absurdism. This novel is known as a classic all around the world. But does it really deserve the title. Some go into deep thought and discussion about the man in this book, and how the human nature is represented. And others say it's just a stupid story that has no plot. One has to read it and make your own judgement, it's a short book, you won't waste a ton of time if you decide to hate it. And I guess at times it was quite entertaining, mainly because the main character is a non emotional freak.
The story starts off with Meursault getting the news that his mother died. He takes time off work to go and make arrangements at the home she was living, and right away we sense that he isn't that close with his mother, or at least that's what it seems like, he kind of sees the whole thing as an inconvenience, but at the same time he has no opinion of it. The day after the funeral he starts sleeping with his ex-coworker. You can say that he is indifferent, or different for that matter, but at times he was just a jerk. The murder of the stranger is a small part in the book, we get to see Meursault though the trial and conviction, and even then he shows no remorse or concern. He did it, now he's being punished, and that is all. There are many examples in the book that show his apathy toward situations that would set off billions of different reactions from normal people. And this is where the discussion begins. Is he normal, are we normal, maybe being indifferent is normal. At least it's normal for him. He can''t change who he is, he just doesn't get emotional, he goes with the flow and doesn't get all that involved in lifes' drama. During his trial the prosecutor tried to condemn him based on his indifference to everyone, showing that if he can go to movies only hours after his mother funeral, than he has no problem murdering someone in cold blood. There are many ways to interpret this book, I guess I'm kind of in the middle on that opinion. Read and decide on your own.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler is said to be a YA national best seller, and even has it's own website, published in 2011 it sure has caught the attention of many young girls.

A high school junior, quirky and romantic Min "Minerva" has fallen in love with Ed, a senior and the star of the basketball team. You can say they are from totally different planets, she is an old movie fanatic, and wants to be a film director one day and Ed, well Ed is just a jock, who is used to having girls all over him. But one day fate comes knocking and Ed and Mins' worlds come together when Ed and his friends show up to Al's bitter 16 birthday party. Al is Mins' friend. They hit it off and the relationship blossoms for a whole month, and than we have this letter. After their really short relationship ends, Min decides to give everything back to Ed that reminds her of their time together, and she writes him a very long brake up letter.

I really wanted to like this book, and I wanted to like Min but I just couldn't, she's definitely "different". I used to be a teenage girl and I can relate to how she feels, and how giddy in love she thinks she is, the smiles, kisses, makeout sessions, collecting things that remind you of the other person, phone calls, all the silly little things that accompany lust. (Not love). But with her I couldn't really see eye to eye. She is an old movie nut, and she references old movies as if she lived them. It bugged me, first of all the movies aren't even real, they are the imagination of Handler, so no one can relate to her on that topic because no one has ever seen them. Maybe it's not her, maybe it's because I am now older and don't think with a 16 year old brain. So everything that I think is silly she takes seriously. But the thing that bugged me the most was the writing. The train of thought writing and the run on sentences. Her page long rambles about her pain and suffering caused by this boy. I just couldn't stand it. It was hard to figure out when she was telling a story or actually writing the letter. And I had to go back and try to figure it out. But I guess it was supposed to be written like an angry, bitter brake up letter, not a book.  The story itself contains topics about teenage love, sex, parties and all kinds of teen issues, but the thing that bugged me the most is that it seemed like the parents didn't exist. They are mentioned here and there but we never get a full background of the families of the characters. We know that Ed's mother is sick, but is she sick with a cold or dying of cancer, we don't know. And Min's mom is angry at there father. Why? We don't know. Ed's sister seems to be running the house and is sort of like a parent to Ed, but is his dad not around? We don't get to know these characters of a deeper level, we only know what hormonal brain of a teenage girl will share with us. I honestly don't know if I would recommend this to anyone above the age 18, it's strictly meant to be for teenagers. 

The Dark by James Herbert

James Herbert is knows as the equivalent of Stephen King in the UK, with many other horror books under his belt he is known well as the master of dark fiction. Many might be more familiar with his other book "The Fog"which was later made into a movie.  The story follows Chris Bishop who is a paranormal investigator familiar with the events that happened on Willow Road a few years back. He is hesitant about getting into this investigation because he doesn't want to remember what had happened and what he saw that day. The true evil that is responsible for those crimes is back and the town of Beechwood is in peril. People are committing unthinkable acts of violence in the "dark". It is up to Bishop to try and figure out what it is and how to stop it, before it spreads too far.

I was not recommended this book, in fact I was told not to read it because of how gruesome it is , and what do you think I did. I read it. Well I tried to finish it but I gave up a little before the end.  I had very high hopes for this book. I thought it was going to be scary, and I mean, keep me up at night kind of scary. But no it was not. It was boring and I dreaded the idea of picking it up. I tried to finish it, because I just hate not finishing books, but this was bad. At times it was very grotesque and disturbing and I had to try and not picture what I was reading. It was hard for me to follow the story, half the time I didn't know what character was speaking or where they were. I didn't know what was going on half the time and it just didn't have that thing that should have pulled me in. The first few chapters were good, they were engaging and we were introduced to many interesting characters, who then went on to commit crimes, and that was that, we never heard from them again. They were just put in the story to show the reader what The Dark can do. And this kept coming up in the book, we are introduced to someone, only to find out they really don't have anything to do with the main plot, other than be an example. I don't think the book is badly written, it just wasn't my style and I couldn't follow it. It shows the reader that The Dark can exist in anyone, people all over the world are committing crimes every day that no one  thought they were capable of. This story is a good example of evil and how it can manifest itself in someone, and how peoples actions can turn evil in a matter of seconds.

Majestic by Whitley Strieber

This was confusing at the beginning, Strieber states that this is a true story but he has to write it as fiction because to call it truth would be too shocking to the public.
 
     It took me a while to finish this book, the first half was dragging and I couldn't figure out what was going on, and who was who. The story is told to us by Nicholas Duke, a reporter who is interviewing Mr. Wilfred Stone, a lung cancer patient, on his death bed, who wants to tell the truth about what happened in 1947 when a flying disc crashed in Roswell New Mexico (I know I can't believe I read this book either). He was the Director of Majestic, a secret organization created to handle all things UFO. When Duke starts to doubt Wilfred he presents Nicholas with a box of documents (I believe Strieber mentions that these are the real documents) that are supposed to make him believe that all this is true. And he quickly does. He even does some research on his own and interviews a few people who were connected to this event. Nicholas is a strong character and person, he has been dealing with the aliens his whole life, being abducted and experimented on, he still didn't loose his mind. Duke comes to respect and admire him instead of thinking he is crazy. 
 
    So there are abductions, fetuses being stolen and altered to look like them, memories erased, souls transferred to different bodies, yellow flowers and a how sex scene (also the doing of aliens). There are so many different and just feaky incidents in this book that my mind was just spinning sometimes, and I had a hard time focusing on the actual story. Not to say that it was bad, Strieber has one hell of an imagination. (Because I highly doubt that most of those things actually happened).  Strieber also keeps jumping from Nicholas to Will and it was hard to figure out who was telling the story at a certain time. The story itself was interesting, the idea of Aliens "The Others" doing all those things to humans is very disturbing. But you really have to read the book to get the full picture. Now, it was interesting but not very convincing, sure he had the documents to show and all that, but the aliens themselves and the things they would do just didn't seem very believable. They said they are creating a new race, we are them they are us we are all one, but they way he explained it, or didn't really explain it, just went over my head. I didn't get it, and that's the part that I don't think was written all that well. There was too much info Strieber was trying to jam into my head all at once.
 
I would recommend this book to other people who are interested in UFO's but other than that I think it would be too weird for other people to read. I did like it though, didn't love it, but it was a good book. If there really are Aliens out there this is just one more idea of what they are and what they want from us.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

I've been into historical fiction since I read The Bronze Horseman (WWII Russia), learning just a little bit of history without having to read bulky non-fiction history books is my kind of thing. Though this had more fiction than I would have liked. I got to say I was a little confused at the beginning of this book, probably due to the fact that I was trying to read it while taking care of a newborn, but as the baby got settled I got into the book more and more. By the end I couldn't put it down (even though it has some major flaws). If any of you read Diana Gabaldons' Outlander, this is right up your alley (Outlander is much better in my mind).  It takes place in Scotland as well, but in the early 1700s. Although I did like this book, and I couldn't put it down, after I finished it I was quite angry with the way it ended. But you have to read it to find out. It's kind of a love-hate thing. 

     An OK book, Im not gonna spoil it for those who didn't read the book yet, but as a mother, I was almost crying (it's still just a book), and even after it was done and over with, I just couldn't let it go. I still can't, I wish I could rewrite the ending. Maybe thats how people behaved is the 18th century, but I just can't stomach it. The author does a good job describing the scenery but when it comes to character building she needs a little help. I just could not get into the characters lives, it seemed rushed, we barely get to know some of the characters, and I know it's fiction, but I just can't help but feel like most of the characters are fake. At first I was more drawn to Carries side of the story, but later on Sophias' life seemed more real than Carries. I don't know, it just didn't sit well with me that Carrie's life had to be so parallel to Sophias. To me it seemed like they were fighting for my attention. What ever happened in Sophias life happened in Carries. The books seemed too clean and precise. I would like the lives of both of the girls to be a little more chaotic. It seemed like everything was planned to the last detail. And I didn't really believe in the whole ancestral memory thing, for some reason I can believe in time travel but not this. It just seemed too far fetched. Like that author didn't want to use time travel since it's been done so many times and she came up with this. For me it just didn't work. Not to say that I didn't enjoy the book, I just didn't like when Carrie would go into one of her "trances" when the memories were coming through. She seemed more psychotic to me.

The ending is a bit too predictable, and doesn't seem realistic, I would have liked to be surprised. I was not. Instead I was shocked by the stupid choice Sophia makes.  So overall it's a good book to read if you don't focus on all the negative things about it, and really it's supposed to be read for fun, it's not a serious book. I would still recommend it.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Mr. Hyde is described as deformed and disliked. He tramples over a girl on the street. Mr. Utterson is a lawyer, and has a will from his friend Dr. Jekyll saying that all his possession and stuff must go to Mr. Hyde. But Mr. Hyde is evil. What will Mr. Utterson do, he is trying to figure out why his friend would choose this monster. I will not tell you more, except that it follows Mr. Utterson as he is trying to solve the mystery between these two men.
It touches on the struggle of one man between himself and well himself. Although it is told from Mr. Utterson's point of view. This book is very short, about a 120 pages, and for a classic it is very easy to read. After just finishing Dracula, I got to say I liked this book a lot more, I really didn't care for the plot, because you can pretty much guess what happens. But the way it was written, it's clear and to the point, no messing around and wasting paper.

Strangers by Dean Koontz

"This book is about a group of people who are brought together by their different and equally strange maladies. These people gather to meet in the middle of the Nevada 'high-desert' to try and figure out what was done to them, who could have done it, while at same time being watched by the people who have done this." As excited as I was when I started this book, due to an awesome recommendation (thanks babe), my excitement quickly diminished. The story was a good and unique idea for the time when this book was written, but it lacked interest and suspense. The surprise ending was predictable, the cover of the book is a good place to start, and the author also gives clues within the first few chapters. The moon...the moon...the moon.... I could guess it's something about aliens, because why else would all the characters be interested in the moon, surely they don't care if it's made out of cheese or not. There is too much time devoted to character development and the back story, it seems as if it's leading up to something amazing, but in reality it's boring and a big disappointment, kind of mushy too.  Ok I won't be too mean, I did like the beginning, you get to meet all the characters, and the different unexplainable things that happend to them. Your mind wonders, where is this gonna go, who do we meet next, what will they remember. But as the pieces of the puzzle are being revealed you realize that they were never really hidden. That's when I say to myself, what the hell? I already knew that, why am I still reading this?  The book would have been better if Koontz devoted a little more time to the ending and a little less time on meaningless events that we could all do without. Every time I put the book down I didn't really want to pick it back up, I could have easily gave up on it, but I stuck to it. I wasn't the most horrible book I have read. But it sure is on the bottom of my list.

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

This book is a love story, now don't get me wrong, I read a lot of love stories, and usually enjoy them, but this one just didn't do it for me. At first I was intrigued about the idea of a diary, and what type of secrets might be revealed, but as it went on I almost put the book down. The diary is for Nicholas, written by his mother Suzanne,which she started before he was even born. In it she describes how she met his father, Matt, how they fell in love, and how he has changed her life.

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Timeline by Michael Crichton

This was the first novel by Michael Crichton that I read, it was recommended to me by a co-worker, and I gotta say, I loved it. Who doesn't like time travel, especially when it's well written. Crichton gives enough scientific details that you might think parts are non-fiction. He bases his writing on actual scientific studies, and lots of research, so you do end up learning something too. And personally I like the way he explains quantum theory and why this would work. But maybe it's just because I like science. Others might get confused with all the science talk. The story comes alive with all the details, and the characters take turns in telling their part of the journey. It's a great way to get to know everyone on a deeper level. 

The story is set in 1400's France, after a team of archaeologists is sent back to find their professor who accidentally got left there. Now they must not only find the professor but also stay alive, as France is in the middle of a 100 Year War. I found the ending a little bit predictable, not much, but if you really pay attention to the characters personalities you might guess what happens at the end. I still loved the book, will have to check out some of his other work.  I watched the movie after I read this book, but it was so awful I'm not even gonna go reviewing that. 

Ugly To Start With by John Michael Cummings

I was asked by the author to review this book, but what can I say, I really didn't feel connected to this book, it wasn't horrible, but it wasn't my type of read. I just couldn't get a feeling of the boy. Each chapter is a different story, so they don't really follow each other, and I couldn't tell how much time has passed between them. The boy is supposed to be in this teens, but sometimes I felt like he was a child. So it would help a lot of the chapters had dates.
 
Jasons life deals with violence, neglect, social and racial issues, as well as some abusive language so don't let your kids read this. The title pretty much sums it up, Jason consideres his family ugly. Not in the bad looking kind of way, but their manners, living style, and overall characters seem to be ugly and offensive. Well I don't know if Jason should be the one talking, he tried to kill his cat because after a few cat fights it looked ugly. That was a sad moment, I almost put the book down right there. 
 
The writing itself was clear enough and had a good flow, I just didn't connect with the story, maybe it was a bit exaggerated. It deals with so many topics at once, it's hard to image a young boy going through all that. As the stories continue, the reader sees more and more issues that Jason goes through in order to become a better person, he does have a good soul, and he tries to understand the world around him. 

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

I read this book a few years ago, but I felt like I should do a review now. I liked this book a lot, the story is really absorbing, you get lost in the book trying to figure out what really happened to Emily, if it was suicide, murder, or an accident. The story switches between Chris at court in the present time, trying to explain what happened, and Emily before she died. One piece at a time you get to put the puzzle together and find out the truth. This is the first Jodi Picoult book I read, so I didn't know what to expect from her, and I guess the book could have been a little better. More character development would be great, especially about Emily and the parents. It seemed like the book was more centered around Chris telling his side of the story and we just get pieces of Emily. Which seem to make her look self-centered, almost selfish. we never really get to know her enough to find out what she was like. I think their relationship was supposed to be very mature, but it looks like Chris is more mature than Emily, in some ways.  Overall the book is good, it still manages to get you involved and interested despite it lacking in some areas. I would still recommend it.

Drums Of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

This is the fourth book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. And while I loved the first three this one dragged throughout most of the first half. Then we get some great action, and then it slowly fizzles out again. I don't know, maybe it's because I don't care for Brianna that much. But her story is just not as compelling as Claires. I felt like she was getting in the way some of the time. The characters pretty much stay the same from the third book, there are a few more, but noting exciting really happens. It didn't keep me glued to the book like the others did. I still read it pretty quickly, but I think that was because I kept hoping something will happen. Also Roger is really bugging me. He's like a fish out of water, just doesn't seem to fit into the story. When I first met Roger I never expected to dislike him that much. Hopefully he redeems himself in the next books.

So the story goes like this. Claire and Jamie end up in the colonies after their adventurous voyage, here they try to start a new life, while Brianna is left in Boston all alone. And while all alone she keeps searching for her parents wanting to find out if they are still alive, if Claire has made it back to Jamie. She ends up stumbling on some information that sends her back to the stone circle, in the effort to try to change history she meets dangers and heartbreaking events that alter her own life forever. Overall the book wasn't bad, I guess you can't put that many events into a persons life before it really becomes fake. And I guess that's what Diana was trying to achieve, just to show us the normal day to day life of Jamie and Claire. Nothing special. Still good though, and I will recommend it if you read the previous ones.