Sunday, February 17, 2013

Between Shades of Gray

Book: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Rating: PG14 for mature subject content and some sexual content

Summery via Goodreads:
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.

This book left me with an array of different feelings. Feelings of awe, of shock, of sadness followed me for days. I was so moved by many factors of this book. As a big fan of World War II historical fiction, I really enjoyed reading this untold side of the war. Both the Soviets and the treatment of Catholics during WWII are rather untouched subjects in the historical fiction world. This book contained both topics and I really enjoyed that.

Between Shades of Gray contained so many different themes that completely changed the way I look at some things. One of favorite themes is this-- is it better to be the one leaving or the one left behind?

The question is proposed by my least favorite character, but it is nonetheless a good question to think about. Because we are in the process of moving, this thought has entered my mind more than once. Is it better to be the one leaving? The one going to a new school, a new town, knowing no one? Is it really better to be the one who leaves everyone s/he knows behind? Or is it better to be the one left behind? The one who continues to live his/her usually life, only with a piece taken out of it? Is it better to be the one who has gone to heaven and left loved ones behind? Or the one who is still making his or her way through life on earth?

I'm not quite sure what I think about that. I feel like it's probably worse to be the one left behind, as hard as it is to be the one moving on. I think we've all had the feeling of being left behind, whether we were left behind by a friend who was not loyal, a loved one who has passed on, or a friend who has had to move. But on the other hand, sometimes I feel terrified of living in a new place without everyone who has been so dear to me my whole life.

So, though I haven't been through nearly as many horrors as Lina has, I understand a bit of what she was going through. Ah, sometimes I feel like I can relate more to characters than actual people!

I'd love to hear your thoughts=)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy St. Valentine's Day!!

Hello, dear readers. I want to share with you two hilarious valentines I think you'll appreciate:


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Read-A-Thon: Day 7

I'm not quite sure that I'll get to Faerie Ring before tomorrow, but I have read so much more during this past week than I normally would have.

And check me out on Goodreads!

I'd love to see what you've been reading=) Book reviews coming soon, I promise!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Read-A-Thon: Day 6

Still pluggin' along. . .I'm reading The Selection. Not that far into it, but I'm really liking it. I'm not quite sure if I'll get to Faerie Ring, but I love all the extra reading I've been getting in!

Book reviews soon!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Read-A-Thon: Day 4

UPDATE! I finished Cinder and have just started The Selection.

I am in a total state of shock. Cinder was AMAZING. Like oh-my-goodness-drop-whatever-you're-reading-and-read-it amazing. Seriously, wow. Everything about that book was totally awesome. (I would recommend it for readers above 13.)

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Read-A-Thon: Day 3

Just a status update=)

On page 181 of Cinder and I LOVE IT! I was slightly skeptical at first, but within the first few pages, I was captivated. Now, I'd better get back to it. . . .

ALSO, I started writing something new. More on that later though. . . Cinder awaits, and I would like to finish it before midnight, ha!

(Google Images)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Read-A-Thon: Day 2: My Book List

As promised, I hope to get through:

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
2. The Selection by Kiera Cass
3. The Faerie Ring  by Kiki Hamilton

Can't wait!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wicked Valentine's Read-A-Thon!

I'm super excited to be doing the Wicked Valentine's Read-A-Thon!! (Check it out:

I'm getting together my list of books to read and I'll post them tomorrow. I'm aiming to read three or four books. A library visit may be in order. . . .=)

Is anyone else doing this read-a-thon?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Dad

My dad was always filming us when we were little. We have so many family videos that are pretty hilarious to watch. When I was little, I loved to get my face in the camera. Seriously, I was always talking. My mom would probably tell you that I am still always talking, but I like to think that I've become slightly more reflective than talkative over the years.

I have always loved to tell stories. It didn't matter if the stories were ones I made up or something that had happened to me, I loved to share them with everybody, especially the camera.

It's really my dad's fault that I started writing. He was the one who encouraged me to write down my crazy little stories. He, along with my beautiful mom, were the ones who listened to my constant ramblings. Fine, they still do. My dad is always expressing desire to know what I am working on. He constantly asks questions about plot struggles and characters. My mom (my faithful editor) reads every single one of my blog posts before I publish.

When we were little, my dad told us so many stories. Usually, it was at bedtime or on long car trips. I don't remember ever hearing the same story twice, which bugged me. I wished that he would write down his stories. I told him this, and he would always say the same thing-- "Someday."

My dad is always making up extremely ridiculous songs on the guitar, usually at the worst times. For example, when I'm trying to read and he's singing about me, it gets kind of hard to concentrate. Or when someone's in a bad mood, they get a full six-verse song complete with a refrain. That isn't the worst, though. The absolute worst is when he begins to belt out a song about me and whatever random guy he thinks I like. Yeah, those moments usually aren't my most virtuous. . . .

My point is, my dad is incredibly creative. He will try absolutely everything. One year, my mom got him a violin for Christmas (actually, he got himself a violin for Christmas and said it was from Mom) and he played around with it for months. Sure, it was really, really, really annoying, but I admired his determination. He always is eager to learn whatever my siblings' or my favorite song is on guitar so that we can sing it together. He is always providing opportunities for us, whether it be taking me to a cafe to write, paying for a Catholic school education, piano lessons, guitar lessons, and numerous other things.

As many of you may know, my family is moving. My dad was recently hired as the Secretariat Leader for Evangelization and Parish Life in the Diocese of Toledo. He began his job yesterday and moved on Friday. I just wanted to take this opportunity to share how much he has inspired me-- in my writing, yes, but in pretty much every aspect of my life. I am so proud of him and so blest to be his daughter.