Friday, July 26, 2013

Book review: Peace in a Raging Storm

Peace in a Raging Storm by Jenna Thomas

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here.

They were men of different species. Three men Jade Hawthorn found unusual attractions to. And all this time, she thought they were all human here.

Jade knows her family and friends have secrets, but she has questioned little in her life, until now, when her best friend Richard Gale lets something slip.

His life is in danger and he needs her help. Jade agrees, and in doing so finds out that humans are not the superior race, but in fact, last in the ranking.

As her world unravels around her, she turns to her family for stability, but they are as involved in this new reality as Richard.

Jade finds herself drawn between many truths, three men, and different sides of the same war. Would she choose to stand with her family and the humans, or would she give into love and stand against her own?

I'm afraid I can't be unbiased with this review. You see, I know the author. Jenna and I went to school together and she remains one of my good friends. So. This review will be biased. I hope you'll forgive me.

Jade, the main character of the story, is in college -- I forget if we know what year. I like this because there just aren't that many novels that take place in that part of a person's life. I think it's a growing trend, but this is one of the first I've read about someone in college.

Jade's age made a lot of this book easy for me to relate to. Jade's friendships remind me of my friendships, and I loved her relationship with Molly, her bff. And her relationship with her family -- different than when she lived at home, but still, she wants to be close and misses them -- will probably be familiar to anyone who has moved out of the family home.

If I'm going to be completely honest and do my best to be unbiased, I have to say -- you will be able to tell that this is Jenna's first book. But it's a pretty good first.

Peace in a Raging Storm is full of action and mystery. The plot will draw you in and make you think about the story even when you're not reading. And you will be surprised.

Peace in a Raging Storm is available in print and kindle versions on Amazon. :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Book review: Persephone

Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here, along with other reviews.

There are worse things than death, worse people too

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.

I used to loooove reading books based on mythology, so I was super excited to come across Persephone. A modern retelling of a Greek myth, Persephone is the story of a high school girl who discovers she's actually a goddess.

Persephone was a really fun, quick read. It took a minute to get into the book, but once I did, I loved it and flew through. I read it on the plane last weekend and kept laughing out loud and hoping my neighbors didn't think they were next to the creepy girl who laughs to herself. I actually highlighted a bunch of the passages I thought were funny, but I don't want to spoil it. Okay, here's one.

"Everyone secretly wished they were special. But in all my dreams of discovering I was a superhero, or a witch, or maybe even a princess, I'd never gone as far as goddess. That was too pretentious."

Love it.

Persephone takes some fun turns on traditional Greek mythology. A lot of the gods you've probably heard of are there or mentioned, but there were also many I'd never heard of, and even the ones I had heard of weren't what I was expecting. There's also a really cool world introduced -- but I'll let you discover that on your own!

Persephone is a really fun book -- not the deepest or most high-brow book but a lovely book that you'll love reading!

Have any of you read Persephone? I'd love to hear what you thought!

PS: I received a copy of Persephone for my Kindle in exchange for this review. But! All the opinions expressed here are my own. Promise.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Book review: Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews.

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.

Between Shades of Gray is the beautifully told story of a Lithuanian girl taken from her home and forced into labor camps with her mother and brother during World War II.

With books that tell the story of survivors of horrendous conditions, the most amazing thing to me is always how they can be anything but the most depressing book you'll ever read. Lina and her family face awful conditions -- they're separated from her father, forced into train cars with too many others, where they must use a hole in the floor boards as a toilet and toss out the folks who die. And that's just the beginning.

Yet, I couldn't get enough of this book. And I think it's that Lina's story was so full of hope. And that you really want to see the characters survive and succeed.

The narration of this story is realistic and beautiful. It jumps a bit between the present and the past, giving you a view into the buildup of tension in Lithuania and helping you to know Lina and her family as they were, as they would have been without the war.

Despite the conditions she's in, Lina is still a teenager. She still gets annoyed with her brother and jealous of others. And I think that's so realistic.

But she's also fighting for her life, and her mother and her brother. She's fighting to make contact with her father. She's fighting to hold on to the sliver of hope she still has.

Between Shades of Gray is a great read for anyone who loves historical fiction -- especially if you'd like to see a side of WWII that isn't often told. Also, Lina shares my birthday. :)

Have any of you read Between Shades of Gray? I highly recommend it! What did you think?


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