Book Review | BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys

Greetings, readers!

I’m back today to share my thoughts and opinions on Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, my first ever historical fiction and definitely not the last.


Title: Between Shades of Gray

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Pages: 352 pages

Publications: April 3rd 2012 by Speak (first published March 22nd 2011)

Genre: Historical Fiction, World war 2, YA


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

Set in World War 2, across Russia and to the North Pole, during the course of 12 years of imprisonment, we follow a sixteen-year-old Lithuanian girl, Lina, who was hauled from her house with her mother and brother and thrown into a cattle car en route to Siberia. Separated from her father, Lina secretly passes along clues in the form of drawings, hoping they will reach his prison camp.

It was a tragically and deeply moving true story, pointless wars that only results in innocent people suffering.

“We’d been trying to touch the sky from the bottom of the ocean.”

I honestly have no clue as to how I would write a review that could convince you to read this amazingly written book.

The characters, Lina, her family, the people on the car she was with, the people at camp were all so real to me. I loved them, I hate them at times, they are flawed, they are selfish, they are caring, they are scared, they are humans.

“Andrius, I’m…scared.”

He stopped and turned to me. “No. Don’t be scared. Don’t give them anything Lina, not even your fear.”

The plot was heart- wrenching and, of course, well-researched. The Baltic States of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia lost more than a third of their population during the Soviet annihilation, and not many people know about it. Lina and the other passengers on the car were imprisoned in the North Pole, freezing for 11 years, and before that a year of traveling, being separated from loved ones. I mean, me? I wouldn’t even survive a month. It was a beautiful story about love and survival. Lina is a very strong and beautiful protagonist- a heroine- and I will remember this story-her story- forever.

“Sometimes kindness can be delivered in a clumsy way.”

The writing was beautiful, I wanted more, I couldn’t put it down, it was just engrossing.

I had absolutely no problem with this book, yes, it was flawless.

5 to infinity stars.

I want everyone to read this book.

I’ll definitely be picking more by Ruta Sepetys, and more historical fictions, it’s a genre I would love to be invested in!

“What was life asking of me? How could I respond when I didn’t know the question?”


Thank you for reading! Please go read the book if you haven’t already. If you have, what did you think of it?

Until next time,

Kimsiang @ Stories + Brushes

Book Review | SIMON VS. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Hello, bibliophiles!

I have a book review here today of, as the title suggest, Simon VS. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, one of my favorite contemporary romances this year.


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Title: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli
Pages: 303
Publication: April 7th 2015 by Balzer + Bray

Genre: YA, Contemporary romance, LGBTQ+


“White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.”
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier was being blackmailed when he forgot to log out out of his email on his school library’s computer. Simon is not so afraid about everyone knowing he’s gay but what worries him most is what that would cause to his connection with the mysteriously cute boy he’s been emailing with: Blue.
“He talked about the ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to.”
I loved this book. I loved Simon. First of all, I immediately connected with Simon and clicked with the writing style. Becky writes like how I think and talk, really. It made it so easy for me to relate to Simon. Moreover, Simon’s personality was just so similar to my best friend and that made Simon very real to me, it was like my best friend was telling me his story. The writing style was funny and witty, I loved the casual writing style of Becky that made the book so easy to read and I flew through it in a day! A plus for the writing style.
The characters were all so cute. We had Simon and his group of friends, their silliness and their drama. We went through the roller coaster, ups and downs of their friendship, I felt like I was also in their squad. Honestly, it was like this book was written about me or someone close to me, as Simon and I are the same age, I could relate to a lot of the things that he went through. Also, Simon’s family was so cute and quirky at times. There are of course times that are prolematic. But, overall, they were very supportive and just awesome!
“It feels like we’re the last survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Wonder Woman and a gay dementor. It doesn’t bode well for the survival of the species.”
And then, of course, Blue, who Simon had been emailing secretly with for a while. Blue and Simon go to the same school but they don’t know each other’s real identity yet. Again, relatable. Said best friend at the top and I are pen pal for a long while before we got to meet too!
“The closest thing I’ve ever had to a journal is probably you.”
However, the only problem I have with the book was that I wasn’t exactly convinced of Simon and Blue’s deep connection via emailing. It actually came as a surprise when the emails got more and more flirtatious but it was still good as it caused all the jittery butterflies exploded inside me.
On top of all that, there was the quest of guessing who Blue was. I didn’t guess he was who he was at all! Though I am glad it was him, they were perfect together. I mean the revealing part got me rolling all over my bed for minutes to calm myself down. I just can’tttttttt. They are so cute together omg.
Overall, I gave this book a 4.5/5 star.
It was honestly the cutest LGBTQ book I’ve ever read yet. I can’t find a reason why anyone wouldn’t love Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.
Would I recommend it? Heck yes!
“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”

Thank you so much for reading! What did you think of this book? Did you love it? I would love to know your feelings and thoughts!

Happy Reading (Signing off),
Kimsiang @ Stories + Brushes

Bookshelf Tour #2 [2016 Edition]

Helloooooo, friends!

Here’s part #2 of my bookshelf tour! (you can see the first part here)

Overview

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Part 2

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My favorite part about this shelf is the red section, despite my only funko pop of Harry Potter of course, but, yes, I love the vibrancy of the red.

On this shelf, there are:

Firstly, my Harry Potter box set which is my love and my life. (You can see in the overview)

And then, starting from yellow:


That’s part 2 of my bookshelf! Thank you for reading! Hope you enjoyed it!

Love,

Kimsaing @Stories + Brushes