Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Between Shades of Gray”

Krista’s #CBR4 Review #14 – 20, too many books to mention

You guys! I have totally hit 52 books (actually, just finished #53 tonight!) and have been thinking about how it is going to be impossible to write these dang reviews. But here I am, sitting down and doing it because I don’t want all of that reading to go to waste! Of the 53 books I’ve read, I’ve already reviewed 13 of thew (PHEW!) and tonight I got seven more reviews down (to varying degrees of reviewiness). Here are the links to the full reviews on my review blog:

14. You Have Seven Messages, Stewart Lewis
really, really wanted to like this novel. I was — and still am — in love with the concept. Conceptually, it is a great idea, and one that could work very well in the hands of a skilled writer. Unfortunately, Stewart Lewis is not that author and while I did enjoy, for the most part, reading this book, there were a lot of things that just. didn’t. work.

15. Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys
I’m no history buff and I don’t know a lot — if anything! — about this part of World War II and the Holocaust, but I really found this to be a well-written, touching novel. The level of human suffering that was experienced made my heart ache, and I wanted to find Sepetys personally and give her a giant hug.

16. Interrupted, Jen Hatmaker
I think this book nails the gospel message on the head. It’s funny, as per Jen’s usual MO, but it’s although amazingly thought-provoking. Jen shares some staggering statistics about poverty, orphans, and disease that exists not only in the world but in the US.

17. Mended, Angie Smith
Mended is Angie’s 3rd book and is pretty amazing. It’s a collection of blog posts written throughout the years, edited and condensed into a format that would work well for a book. Most of the chapters I’ve read before in their original blog format. Many people might find it kind of sucky to read a bunch of blog posts again, only in a book format, but I was really happy with the way this turned out. It was such an inspiration to read through these funny, honest, raw posts. I’m reminded time and time again that there are Christian authors whose works are not full of cheese and sap.

18. Christian History Made Easy, Timothy Paul Jones
This will be my most concise review ever.

19. Friends Forever, Danielle Steel
I don’t usually by Danielle Steel books because a) she is an awful writer and b) nope, mostly because she’s just an awful writer. I’ll read them if they were free from the library or from a friend, but for some reason I thought I’d read this. I’m not sure what possessed me to buy this one because I hadn’t read any especially heavy books before this, so… call it a moment of insanity.

20. The Condition, Jennifer Haigh
To be honest, I was initially disappointed when there wasn’t actually that much focus on Turner Syndrome as the description of the book made out, but after reflecting on what “the condition” even meant, I realized it was something that had so much more meaning than Gwen’s condition.

sevenstories’ #CBR4 Review #46: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

“One night fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother, are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle carts and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia. An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun. Lina doesn’t know if she’ll ever see her father or her friends again. But she refuses to give up hope. Lina hopes for her family. For her country. For her future. For love – first love, with the boy she barely knows but knows she does not want to lose… Will hope keep Lina alive? Set in 1941, Between Shades of Gray is an extraordinary and haunting story based on first-hand family accounts and memories from survivors.”

First Line: “They took me in my nightgown.”

Why I read it: It is the last of the eight books on the current Carnegie shortlist.

Who I would recommend it to: If you appreciated The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and are prepared for harrowing and upsetting details of horrendous things that really happened.

Whilst I was very impressed  by this, I did feel that its strength lay in the importance of the story being told rather than Sepetys’ skill as a writer. Whilst she is obviously a very capable writer, her words themselves didn’t uplift and inspire me with the way she captured her story. The story itself though is a traumatic one with moments of hope and happiness few and far between and plenty of moments of heartbreak and tragedy. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this win, and apparently its been very popular at lots of school but for me, and for many of my students, Sepetys isn’t at the top of the pile.  I’m not sure that I’ve convinced that Sepetys’ writing is quite worthy of pushing this above novels such as A Monster Calls or My Name is Mina which are transcendent and written so beautifully as to give you goosebumps and soaring moments, regardless of the nature of the subject being sad.

The full review is on my blog.

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