Eleanor, Alice and the Roosevelt Ghosts Book Review (Spoiler Free)

Author: Dianne K. Salerni

Published : 2020 by Holiday House

Pages: 240

GoodReads

Rating – 3/5

Thank you to Holiday House for providing me a copy of this book for review from BookCon 2020.

Summary (From GoodReads)

Murderous ghosts and buried family secrets threaten young Eleanor and Alice Roosevelt in this thrilling middle-grade novel that puts a supernatural spin on alternate history.

It’s 1898 in New York City and ghosts exist among humans.

When an unusual spirit takes up residence at the Roosevelt house, thirteen-year-old Eleanor and fourteen-year-old Alice are suspicious. The cousins don’t get along, but they know something is not right. This ghost is more than a pesky nuisance. The authorities claim he’s safe to be around, even as his mischievous behavior grows stranger and more menacing. It’s almost like he wants to scare the Roosevelts out of their home – and no one seems to care!

Meanwhile, Eleanor and Alice discover a dangerous ghost in the house where Alice was born and her mother died. Is someone else haunting the family? Introverted Eleanor and unruly Alice develop an unlikely friendship as they explore the family’s dark, complicated history. It’s up to them to destroy both ghosts and come to terms with their family’s losses.

Told from alternating perspectives, thrills and chills abound in Dianne K. Salerni’s imaginative novel about a legendary family and the ghosts that haunt their secrets. 

Characters

Eleanor – Calm; Inner Strength; Resilient – While vastly different from her cousin Alice, Eleanor was still a pleasure to read about due to her inner strength and rational thinking. I love that she had goals and wanted to study. We see her character grow and she becomes more capable of voicing her opinion and I loved that progression.

Alice – Outspoken; Strong; While struggling with her own familial issues, we see Alice as a direct opposite of Eleanor in that she is quite fierce and determined to state her opinion in any situation. She is daring and willing to investigate the mystery surrounding the ghosts in this story.

Final Thoughts

It’s interesting to note that the world in this book is well aware that ghosts do exist and there are societies and organizations which are designated to eliminate ghost hauntings within a household. I found that aspect to be very interesting since we typically do not see that type of environment in ghost mystery novels. Instead, we are left in complete isolation without official organizations to reach out to and need to unravel the full mystery ourselves.

Unfortunately, the downside to this novel would have to be the writing and the plot. The writing styles tend to switch back and forth from 1st person to 3rd person when changing perspectives and I personally did not like that. I would have preferred if it stuck to one form of writing throughout the book to make it more uniform. The story itself while it is interesting in terms of the mystery, I thought it could have been better developed in more detail. I did not feel that there was a steady progression to the end of the novel. It lacked flow which is disappointing since it did have potential to be a really great thriller.

Have any of you read any mystery/thriller book from the Middle Grade genre?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Fall 2020 TBR

Hello my fellow book lovers! I hope you all are having a fantastic day! Guess what time it is! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday prompt! This week’s prompt is about book on our Fall TBR and boy do I have a ton! Thankfully, I will keep this list short and summarize the top ten books which I am targeting to read this Autumn!

  1. Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

This book was on my radar for a long time, especially since I heard such great things about it. I loved the concept of intertwining Korean folklore with urban fantasy with the tales of Gumiho. I think this has such a potential to be a great story!

2. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas

I know for sure that this one is going to be such an emotional read for me. I have seen reviews and reading vlogs for this finale and I am not sure if I am ready for this. (Especially after that ending in Tower of Dawn – uM, Excuse me – WHAT?) More importantly, I don’t think I have the heart to say goodbye to our characters. . .

3. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by Victoria Schwab

At this point, I am convinced that whatever V.E Schwab releases, I will read it. Ever since reading A Darker Shade of Magic series, I was blown away with her creativity, her characters, and the world building. It was so intriguing and I am sure this book will not disappoint either. I am super excited for this release on October 6th and you bet I will be reading this as soon as I get my hands on it!

4. Wicked Kingdom by Kerri Maniscalco

If you guys have been following by blog, then you will know I am HUGE fan of Stalking Jack the Ripper series! Even with this debut series, I was completely intrigued by the mystery, the Victorian setting and the characters. It was just so well done that I was blown away. So when I heard that Kerri Maniscalco was releasing a new series, I knew this one would have to be amazing as well. I can’t wait for this release on October 27th!

5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Alright guys! I think this might be the time I finally pick up the Infernal Devices! From all the Shadow Hunter series, I know that this series is quite popular due to the characters and the storyline and I am really curious about it! And I will finally know the hype behind Will Herondale 🙂

6. Circe by Madeline Miller

I’ve always loved learning about Greek mythology and any books which incorporated this, have done a great job in portraying these myths and intertwining original stories such as The Percy Jackson series. I always wanted to look into this book ever since I heard a lot of talk on this especially since the author also wrote another similar novel – A Song of Achilles. I really hope I get to this book by the Fall. It looks like such a great read!

7. The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

I’ve always been a fan of Ruta Sepetys ever since her reading her previous novels – Between Shades of Grey and Salt to the Sea. I love how she incorporates important key events in history which not many people are aware of. It is crucial to shed light on these unknown historical events since they are equally important. I am so eager to learn more about the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco in Spain with this novel and I am sure it will be an emotional yet gripping read.

8. Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

I am huge fan of Stalking Jack the Ripper series and even though I have only completed the second book, I can say that this is probably going to be one of my favorite series of all time! I think this is all due to the Victorian setting which is well captured by the author that it almost feels as if you are walking beside the characters. Another aspect would be the mystery and the steampunk elements. And finally – the characters. Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Creswell are a fantastic couple and their banters made this series quite an enjoyable one.

9. All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

This book was on my radar ever since it was released but unfortunately, I was never able to pick it up due to my other reading priorities. But I am determined to get to this one within the next month or so. Who doesn’t love a seafaring adventure with pirates and mermaids?

10. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Words can’t describe how excited I am to get into this novel! I have heard a lot of buzz about this one on BookTube and I am really curious! This urban fantasy sounds inspired by the Arthurian legend sounds like something I would really enjoy and I can’t wait to pick this one up!

How about you guys? What are you planning to read in the Fall?

Until next time keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

Fablehaven Book Review (Spoiler Free)

fablehaven

Author: Brandon Mull

Publication: June 7th 2006 by Shadow Mountain

Pages: 351

Rating: 4/5

GoodReads

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 11.07.53 AM

star border

For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite.

Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken — Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good — powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 10.59.17 AM

star border

I rarely talk about Middle Grade novels in my Blog but with the current The Adventures through Wonderland Readathon hosted by A Touch of Whimsy and Middle Grade Monthly, I thought it would be perfect opportunity to join the fun and dive back into some memorable Middle Grade books. One novel in particular which i enjoyed when I was younger would be Fablehaven. I am not sure what intrigued me, the overall mysterious and eerie aura of the book or the hidden fantasy realm, but I was instantly hooked the second I picked it up and couldn’t stop reading. Now when I picked it up to read after all these years, I realize why my younger self enjoyed these types whimsical books – Who wouldn’t want to stumble across a hidden, magical world?

The build up to the world of Fablehaven was very well done. I felt the author carefully laid out clues for the reader to decipher along with Kendra and Seth and together we go on this eerie journey to unlock the secrets of their Grandfather’s preserve. Both our main leads had very diverse personalties; Kendra, who is curious but rational and Seth who outspoken and can be a bit reckless. With these two personalities, they are able to balance each other out but it also makes way for some crazy and witty banters.

I also appreciated that the magical creatures within this world were given their own personalities and history. It really helped to make the world more believable. In addition, the author’s writing also served as another world building technique since he was able to masterfully paint the scenes in which we can visualize them very well. It was also interesting to see the twists and turns as well as how the past storylines weaves into the current times.

Overall, I thought this was a great storyline for the first book in a middle grade series. Since this is a reread, I found that I had forgotten a lot of the details from when I originally read it but it was interesting to dive back into the world and recover them again.

Have any of you read Fablehaven? What were your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

sign

Wicked King Book Review (Spoiler Free)

king

 

Author: Holly Black

Genre: Fantasy

Published January 8th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 336

Rating – 4/5

GoodReads

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 11.07.53 AM

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 10.59.17 AM

star border

WHOA. Talk about major politics! When most sequels fall into the “second book syndrome,” I felt that Wicked King was a great follow up to the series. While I will say it was not as addicting as the first book, it still kept me intrigued with it’s mystery, character schemes and motives. With the second book, Holly Black expanded on the world but it was not too much that it become confusing. In fact, it actually did the opposite! The characters were always a strong point to these novels since they are very different from any other book series I have read. They are not entirely black/ white or good/bad but I think that is what makes them fascinating to read about. I also expected this sequel to be a long read but I was surprised to find out it was only 336 pages so I ended up flying through it!

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 11.06.44 AM

star border

Jude DuarteCunning, Determined, Power Hungry – In the first book, we seen Jude struggle with her status in the faerie world and she wants nothing more to move up the ladder. Now that she managed to outsmart everyone with her schemes, she has to face the harsh realities of being in power but more importantly, how she can still hold onto that power. The aftermath of the first book does leave her questioning where her loyalties should lie and this is what makes the plot so endearing.  We also see her struggle with her conflicting emotions for Cardan but she can’t help but place barriers due to her past experiences with him.

CardanCold, Aloof  – I am a bit on the fence about Cardan at the moment. While it is clear that he is a bit different from his cruel behaviors in the first book, I am not sure whether I can fully be onboard with this character. Again, it may be due to the fact that Holly Black’s characters are not fully black or white so its difficult to classify them as good or bad; yet, there were occasions where I did feel for his character. Holly Black definitely brought a lot more background into his past and I am curious to learn more.

tae cardan

*Side Note – Well Dayumm. Taehyung seriously gives off major Cardan vibes here*

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 10.58.26 AMstar border

Power. Politics.

The major themes within this novel have to be power and politics. While the first book dove into the struggles of acquiring power, this sequel deals with the struggles of maintaining that power, which as we read through the novel we find it is not as easy as it may seem. I think Holly Black did a great job delineating this theme as its not something that is talked about in many novels. For example, a lot of the YA novels talk about the journey in which a main character travels in order to reclaim the power of a nation from a corrupt individual but never fully talks about the aftermath or the struggles that one has to endure within politics. This something I can truly appreciate from this novel.

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 11.04.23 AM

star border

As soon as I picked up this book, I knew I was in for a wild ride. This is partially due to Holly Black’s talent for transporting us into worlds which are sure to fascinate us. Is there some world expansion from the first book? ABSOLUTELY! And Holly Black is able to do this which such ease that it doesn’t become too complicated as I have seen with other fantasy series. In fact, it provides us with enough that it keeps us intrigued with  the plot and curious as to what will happen next. This is one of the high points of the novel. The politics and character schemes always keep you on the edge of your seat!

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 10.53.20 AM

star border

Overall, I though this was a brilliant follow up to the first book of the Folk of the Air trilogy and I am so curious to learn what happens in the final book – especially with THAT ENDING!! I need to know what happens! How can you just end it like that Holly Black??? Why must you do this to me? While I will say that it was not as much as an addicting read as the original, it definitely peaked my interest in terms of its politics and characters. I believe these two are the main highlights on the novel and it is done so well!

Have any of you read The Wicked King? What were your thoughts on it? Let’s chat!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

sign

Top Ten Tuesday – Things I’d Have at My Bookish Party

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 3.36.01 PM

*Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.*

First of all, Happy Cinco de Mayo! And second of all, can I just say that this might be one of my favorite Top Ten Tuesday prompts ever!? To have a bookish themed party with other fellow book lovers would be an absolute dream! I would most likely love to have fantasy themed party inspired from novels like Harry Potter, Caraval, The Lunar Chronicles or A Darker Shade of Magic. When I put together this list, I was under the impression that we can use both magical and non magical locations or items so I created a list incorporating a little bit of both.

So without further ado, lets get on with the prompt!

Location – I had a couple of options I was considering when thinking about this but in the end I decided to choose Red London. I mean a land flourishing with magic would probably the best place to host a Magical Bookish themed party right? Maybe I could ask Rhy to hold the event at the castle? I’m sure he wouldn’t say no to some entertainment 🙂

red london

People – Alright, I think I am cheating with this one since I HAVE to invite all the main characters from my favorite series – Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles and A Darker Shade of Magic. So I will count each novel as an answer for a total of 3.

 

Food – Lets be real. Sometimes the best treats and cuisine are depicted in our favorite novels and what better way to bring them to light with A Bookish Party? Some examples I can think of are:

Butterbeer, Scarlet’s Velvet Cupcakes (Caraval by Stephanie Garber), Scarlet’s Le Croque (The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer)

 

Activities – Now a party is not complete without any fun activities. A few which I would love to have are:

OASIS (Ready Player One by Ernest Cline)

Element Games (A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab – this may serve as a form of entertainment for us muggles since we cannot really participate and it would be interesting to see how the gang from Harry Potter would face off against the ADSOM crew )

Triwizard Tournament (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling) but with Harry Potter trivia for us muggles where winner gets a vial of Felix Felicis!

 

What would your choices be for a bookish themed party? Let’s chat!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

sign

Stay at Home Book Tag

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 9.31.30 AM

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a fabulous week! Today I decided to do a tag I saw floating around the book community amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and this is the Stay at Home Book Tag! This tag was created by Madison Mary over at Princess of Paperback. Definitely check her out since her videos are awesome!

So without further ado, let’s jump right into the prompts!

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 9.42.11 AM

*Not going to lie. I have been slouching and just chilling in my bed watching my favorite series for most of the time. #QuarantineLife*

harry-potter-uk-edition

I would have to go with a classic and say pretty much any one of the Harry Potter novels. Its just something about the world, the magic and the characters which automatically transports you to your second home away from home that is Hogwarts. Who wouldn’t want to experience a bit of magic in a time like this?

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 9.44.55 AM

*I will admit my biggest fear with the current state that we are all in is that I will eventually run out of quarantine snacks! But my sister and I are prepared. We managed to save some brownie/cookie recipes that we wanted to try out so in case our pantry does become empty, we have a back up! I have been cooking a lot more too so I guess there is brighter side to all this chaos, right? 🙂

doon

The Doon series is definitely a guilty pleasure read for me. I remember the first time when I read the first book, I immediately wanted to grab a copy of the second and pretty soon, I finished the entire series! I am grateful for this series since it was one which got me out of a reading slump and become a quick, pick-me-up type of read.

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 9.45.50 AM

*OMG the amount of series I started is ridiculous! I mean, we have the time, so what better way to make use of it than to watch some great shows right? I recently started to re-watch Avatar- The Last Airbender and WOW, the amount of nostalgia! There was a reason I loved that show when I was a kid and watching this again makes me love it even more!*

vicious

Vicious is a series I really want to start! I have heard nothing but great things about it. I was always a fan of V.E Schwab ever since I read the ADSOM series and I knew that I wanted to read her other novels. Victoria always comes up with the greatest plot and gray characters which we can’t help but find intriguing. I really hope I have the opportunity to start this soon!

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 9.47.26 AM

falling

Honestly, I can’t recall how long I had this book. It must have been on my shelves ever since I started this blog! And what’s crazy is that it is one of the most iconic YA Fantasy out there so you would think that I would have at least picked it up! Who knows? Maybe during this quarantine I actually might have some time to read it. It does seem quite interesting and maybe a fantasy adventure could really help with these times.

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 9.48.58 AM

serpent and dove

I’m not going to lie – Ever since I saw the massive reviews on this book all over BookTube and the Book Blogging community, I just had to know what the hype was so I did end up buying it. Plus, take a look at that gorgeous cover! I really hope the story delivers though!

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 9.51.25 AM

*I can say that quarantine really did help me dive back into doing the things I enjoy. In way it helped slow down time so we can focus a little bit more on ourselves and I am thankful for that. I started blogging again and this time, I am trying to create more creative post ideas/ graphics, etc. I also started reading again which was great since I have so many books on my TBR! I also started Journaling – something that I missed doing for a long time!*

between shades of gray

I was stunned after reading this novel. I mostly do not reach for historical fiction but this one so intriguing that I could not bring myself to put it down. I love how Ruta Sepetys bases her novels on unheard historical stories that should be brought to the light. Sometimes there are moments in history which we do not talk about and are equally important and Ruta Sepetys was able to give voice to those people. I can definitely appreciate her efforts for writing these stories and I really want to read more of her novels.

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 9.54.38 AM

a heart so fierce

Unfortunately, not many people around me are into reading as much as I am which is why I am thankful I have the blogging community to share all my FEELs after finishing a great novel. I don’t believe anyone has gifted me a book but there is one I personally bought – because WHY NOT? And this recent purchase is  A Heart so Fierce and Broken. Let’s face it. After the ending of the first novel, I just had to find out what happens next!

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 9.57.20 AM

I would say that Journaling really helps calm my anxiety sometimes. I find it quite relaxing and its interesting to see how my journals spreads grew over the years. What started out as a diary format soon became one that started to look more like an art journal where I created colorful spreads of the events, birthdays, or hangouts I have been to. It’s definitely a creative way to capture moments of your life. Another important piece of self care involves Music – anything from OSTs, Pop/ R&B, BTS – really does help me deal with the situation we are in right now. I know its crazy times we are living in, but we will overcome it!

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 9.58.34 AM

the ballad of songbirds

Release Date:  May 19th 2020 

I am pretty sure nearly everyone in the book community knows about the release of this book in May. I am really curious about this Hunger Games prequel. Its been nearly 10 years since the release of the last Hunger Games book which spurred a global sensation with the release of films. But now that we are taking a step back into the past, I am curious as to what stories Suzanne has to offer. It will definitely be interesting to revisit Panem!

And now I nominate anyone else who would like to do this tag! If you do end up completing it, share your link below and I will definitely check it out!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

sign

Between Shades of Gray Book Review (Spoiler Free)

between shades of gray

“Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.”

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Genre: Historical Fiction, World War II,

Published March 22nd 2011 by Philomel Books

Pages: 344

Rating – 5/5

GoodReads

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 11.07.53 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 10.59.17 AM

star border

WOW. This was absolutely breathtaking, heartbreaking yet the most alluring read I have read for a long time. I absolutely loved it and I definitely would recommend this to anyone who loves historical fiction or just a powerful story. One of my favorite things about Ruta Sepetys is that she writes about historical events which are not commonly studied about and that is what makes her stories so interesting. In terms of World War II, I was definitely aware of Hitler’s regime and his genocide of the Jewish community, but I never knew about Stalin’s crimes against the people of the Baltic region. The title accurately reflects the plot/characters of the novel in which we see that a person’s character is not entirely black and white – there are those who may be on the “wrong” side but are actually kind and there are people who may be on the “right” side and can end up hurting others.

And I’m sure you all may be curious – Did I cry? OH YOU BET I DID!!! OMGGG!

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 11.06.44 AM

star border

Lina Vilkas – Outspoken; Courageous; Strong; It was definitely interesting to read through Lina’s perspective. While I will say that she is flawed in the beginning, with less regard for others and a bit defensive, she gradually grows and we see her become someone who uses her voice and provides hope and strength for others.

Jonas Vilkas – Sweet and Cute LOL; Ahhh what can I say about this cutie patootie? I love this kid to bits. He’s just the sweetest little cinnamon roll that you want to protect forever! There were some scenes which described this character so well that you just want to pick him up and give him a hug.

cute JK

Elena Vilkas – Warm; Comforting; I will have to say Elena is probably the sweetest and iconic motherly figure I have seen in all YA novels. There is a level of grace, strength and love that she has not only for her family but for the people around her which makes her such a beautiful character. As the mother of Lina and Jonas, she makes it a priority to safeguard and protect her family while simultaneously giving them ample amounts of courage and hope and I loved that about her.

Andrius Arvydas – Smart; Empathetic; While it did take a while for him to grow on  me, I eventually found myself falling hard. I absolutely love the amount of effort he goes through to help others despite his the precarious situation he is in. It shows that he has a lot of courage and a strong desire to help those in need. It was also beautiful to see the relationship between him and Lina grow that it tugged on your heartstrings.

“Don’t give them anything, Lina. Not even your fear”

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 10.58.26 AMstar border

Human Spirit. Hope. Love. Courage. 

If I were to tie the themes of the book together, I think those words truly capture the aura of the novel and it is so well done! In a time where the most ugliest parts of humanity were showcased, one may wonder how anyone can survive something like this. And I think Ruta Sepetys showcased this clearly through weaving the theme of love and hope into the storyline. Whether it be love for family and friends or love for your art/music, it served as a focal point which many people used to combat this horrible event in history. I also appreciated how she delineates the strength of the human spirit in this novel.

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 11.04.23 AM

star border

Ruta Sepetys writing really helped transport us to 1941 and it is clear that she had done extensive research to showcase the harsh realities of the Baltic Genocide. The World during this time really did strike fear into our hearts and it pains you as a reader to read through the bloodcurdling and terrifying experiences that the people had to go through. Being transported through a cattle car train, being separated from families, forced to work in labor camps and facing the most cruelest abuse from the Soviet guards were only some of the conditions which these people had to face but you end up admiring their resilience through these events. In fact, there were moments which Ruta Sepetys sprinkled throughout the book which warmed your heart – moments with Lina and her family, moments with Lina and Andrius, etc.

Screen Shot 2020-04-10 at 10.53.20 AM

star border

Overall, I absolutely loved this story. I learned so much about a part of history which I never heard before and I am so thankful that Ruta Sepetys shared story like this. Honestly she had now become one of my favorite authors and I can’t wait to pick up her other books!

In addition to the storyline, the characters and the world, the writing was also exquisite. It was not super detailed and thorough like something out of a textbook, but it was just enough and to the point which evokes emotion and compassion for the characters’ immense struggles. Ruta Septeys definitely has an addicting quality to her writing. I never wanted to stop reading. I think it helps that the chapters are short but they end with a cliffhanger or an interesting moment which just compels you to keep going. And I was HOOKED! To add on to that, I also noticed how she never shies away from the harsh brutalities that the characters had to face. She keeps it real and I think that is what makes this story so powerful. And not to mention heartbreaking, I lost a bucket of tears!

Have you guys read Between Shades of Gray? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

sign

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I am Thankful For

TTT-NEW

Hello everyone! I hope you all are enjoying your week! And since it’s Tuesday, I’ve got another Top Ten Tuesday post for you all! This week’s prompt is a thankful freebie due to the Holiday coming up so I thought I could share with you lovelies my top ten books that I am thankful for.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Without further ado, let’s get on to the list!

Harry Potter, Cam Jansen, Fablehaven, Boys Against Girls series, Ella Enchanted

Starting off in my days of being an early reader, I would say I am most thankful to the five books above. This is mostly because it was these books which originally sparked my interest in reading. They also exposed me to various genres such as fantasy, mystery, fairy tale retellings and contemporary/ comedy. Without these books, I would definitely not be the reader I am today!

A Darker Shade of Magic, The Cruel Prince, An Ember in the Ashes, Children of Blood and Bone, Cinder

If I were to introduce someone to reading, I would most likely reach for these books. These novels truly reminded me of why I love reading so much. And now that I am older, I appreciate so many aspects of them which I did not immediately grasp in my early reading days. Such examples would be the unique parallelism to our current world no matter how diverse the setting is, the enlightening and higher themes dispersed throughout the novel, and the appreciation for diversity in setting, characters and storylines. And not to mention, they were super addicting reads which you could not get enough of! 🙂

How about you all? What books are you most thankful for? Let’s Chat!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

sign

Top Ten Tuesday – Thrilling and Scary Reads

TTT-NEW

Hello my fellow book lovers! I hope you all are having a wonderful start to the week! Guess what day it is?? TUESDAY! And it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday post!

For this week’s prompt, we were given a Halloween freebie! And since I do not read too many scary novels, I decided to make a post including books which had elements that were both frightening as well as thrilling. So without further ado, let’s get on with the list shall we?

AngelFall

With a setting based in an post apocalyptic/ dystopian world besieged by fallen angels, I couldn’t help but have to include this in my list. Although I do not read too many dystopian novels these days, this one really peaked my interest due to the stellar reviews. What I loved most about this book was how thrilling and fast paced it was.  There were moments which freaked me out, especially during the end so if you do enjoy reading stories of this nature, then maybe you should give this one a try!

House of Salt and Sorrow

I was so thrilled when I received an e-ARC for this book on NetGalley that I immediately dove right into it. From the very beginning, I was super intrigued; especially since I found out this was a fairy tale re-telling of the 12 dancing princesses. I loved the ambiance the author created throughout the story – a feeling of being in a town by the cold sea. The imagery and experiences which the main character goes through sometimes has you questioning what’s real and what’s not and I found that aspect to be really interesting and at times, utterly terrifying.

172 Hours on the Moon

I think I have mentioned this book a couple of times in my other top ten Tuesday posts but I just had to include it in this one because it messed with my mind. While the whole premise of this novel seems a little far fetched with sending teenagers with NASA scientists to the moon, the cascade of events which take place during the entire expedition had me scared out of my wits! And it did not help that I had an upcoming work trip scheduled where I was traveling solo! I honestly had to chuck the book aside and I did not finish it until I came back from my trip! I know . . . I’m such a scaredy cat! LOL

Dark Inside

Here we have another dystopian book on the list and I was pleasantly surprised by this one! Though there are some scary elements within this book due to the aftermath of an earthquake which causes some people to lose control of their minds and turn on each other, I found the plot to be thrilling from start to finish. It honestly had me on the edge of my seat and at times you would constantly wonder about who is “nothing” and who is not. There were moments where I would be overwhelmed with anxiety since the author is so good in capturing those moments of high tension within those dangerous and horrific scenes.

*sighs* Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with late night reading when I was sure it would disturb my sleep . . . #badchoices

Stalking Jack the Ripper

Well . . . The title is enough to make it a perfect book to include in this list isn’t it? I mean . . . who would ever think of stalking one of the most heinous criminal of all time? I have to say when I first heard the hype about this novel, I seriously wondered whether I would be able to even read it. To my surprise, I found it’s mystery to be quite interesting. I also loved the depiction of the setting in Victorian London and the author was able to capture the haunting and dangerous atmosphere quite well. Since this book also sheds a light on the topic of forensic science, there were a few scenes which scared the living daylights out of me.

(Ahem . . and I would like to thank Thomas Creswell for making this read a bit more manageable)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

I think this novel is a perfect example of showcasing an unreliable narrator. While I cannot recall all the plot details since I did read it a while ago, I do remember some moments which seriously made my blood run cold. There were just so many unexpected moments that were thrown at you and as a reader you were actively trying to figure what were the true moments versus those which were not. That was the major part of the book which I thoroughly enjoyed although it freaked me out at some points!

Hush Hush

This book was also one which I have read awhile ago and it caught my attention since it was about fallen angels which at the time was something that I have never read about so I was eager to pick it up. There is an element of mystery within this novel and you are constantly trying to figure out who to trust. While I wouldn’t say that this novel was scary, I do recall certain scenes which had me quaking in my boots!

Prisoner of Night and Fog

Ok. This one was a seriously well written and well researched historical fiction novel! What I loved most was how the author dove into the psychological aspects of the diverse personalities that people have. What really makes a person good versus bad? She was brilliant in articulating how a person’s mind works and she does so with one of the most notorious historical figures – Adolf Hitler.

An Ember in the Ashes

I absolutely love this series! The best part of it all was the gripping and thrilling plot which had me flying through the pages eagerly anticipating what was going to happen next! I seriously could not put it down. The high stakes, the lurking danger at every corner, the secrecy, the ruthless villains and raw brutality had me shaking!

The Cruel Prince

When it comes to thrilling and captivating reads, I think Cruel Prince would top the list! I am usually quite hesitant to pick up books with a lot of hype since I am worried whether I would enjoy it or not but this one certainly lived up to the hype. The intense politics, the growing tension between characters, the deceptions and secrecy made it so interesting to read. (Let’s not forget all those crazy plot twists!) There was just so much going on that I had a plethora of annotations throughout the book! I can’t wait till I re-read this so I can go through all my reactions!

What about you lovelies? Do you have any scary/ thrilling reads to recommend? Let’s chat!

Until next time, keep on reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

sign

Top Ten Tuesday – Extraordinary Book Titles

TTT-NEW

Hello everyone! Hope you all are having a great start to your week ~

It’s Tuesday and you all know what that means – it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday prompt! This week is all about extraordinary book titles. I was not sure of the criteria for selecting these titles but I chose to list ones which automatically drew me to the book. So without further ado, let’s get on to the list!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Eerie/Mysterious vibes – Don’t we all love a spooky/mystery setting? Titles can also play a crucial role in capturing the gripping and thrilling atmosphere. Such examples which left a lasting impression on me are the ones below.

Stalking Jack the Ripper, Truly Devious, Six of Crows, A Darker Shade of Magic, The Darkest Minds, A Curse so Dark and Lonely 

 

Captivating Titles – These titles below immediately peaked my interest since I was so curious to know what the book was about. Once I knew they were of the fantasy genre, I was sold!

An Ember in the Ashes, Children of Blood and Bone, Stolen Songbird, Heartless

That’s all for this week’s prompt! What book titles did you think were extraordinary?  Did we have any similar book titles?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

sign