Book Review: Between Shades of Gray

I am a big reader, and my goal for 2019 is 30 books. So far I have read two books. The last book I read was Ruta Sepetys Between Shades of Gray. It is a historical fiction based in Europe during World War Two. Here are my thoughts on the book.

This book focuses on the Soviet deportation of Lithuanians during World War Two. The main character is a teenage girl named Lina, whose family is sent away. The story follows her from the cattle car she is forced to travel in, to her forced labor in Siberia.

The book touches upon a very important part of history. Often people see World War Two in black and white terms. Stalin was an ally, but he was far from moral. He was a cruel, ruthless leader. Dissenters were quickly dealt with. People were shot or deported to hard labor camps in the east. This book brings home how cruel Stalin was.

This book was pretty good. The narrative style was strong, and it immediately pulled me in. Lina and her mother were such strong characters they jumped off the page. This book displayed the strength of the Lithuania people. They endured so much, and they still found a way to celebrate their culture.

There were minor issues I had. The timing seemed off and uneven in places. I was unhappy with the ending. The book was detailed in spots, but did not explain how Lina left Soviet Russia. This book was tragic, I was not expecting a happy ending. Yet after seeing the pain that Lina and her family endured, I guess I expected an explanation of what happened.

Overall, I liked this book, but the plot could be stronger. It is a great read for anyone interested in history. It touches on a unknown part of history, and that is important. I applaud Ruta Sepetys for dedication to bringing obscure tragedies to life. I highly suggest this book to anyone who love history.

Till next time




Five Favorite Books

 Reading is one of my favorite activities.  There is something special about sitting down at the end of a hard day with a good book.  I love it so much that my undergraduate degree was in English with a specialty in literature. About a week ago I did a post on books, and it seemed to be a big hit. I figured I would continue with that. Here are my five favorite books of all time.


Dark Woods, Chill Waters,  By Marcus Librizzi I picked this one up in a by chance a few years ago. On vacation, I was browsing books in Sherman’s in Bar Harbor.  Librizzi believes that Downeast Maine to be one of the most haunted places in the world, and shares tales from the region. Librizzi narrative is strong, and had a way of sending a shiver down my spine.


The Daring Ladies of Lowell, By Kate Alcott The Mill Girls, paved the way for women in the workforce.  This is a story about a girl named Alice. Her life is transformed when she leaves country life behind for the bustle of industrial Lowell. This book touches upon an important period in our history in an intimate way that I was impressed by.

The Hobbit, By J.RR Tolkien   This prequel to Lord of the Ring is a book of adventure. It is the epic adventure of Bilbo Baggins as he goes to the Lonely Mountains. There are trolls, dragons and gold in this tale, but it has a much lighter tone than Lord of the Rings. As a cautious travel myself, I really enjoyed this one.

Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys  Many World War Two books focus on countries invaded by Germany.  This book takes a new perspective. It  shares their story,  and also focuses on those on the German side of the conflict. It follows four people escaping from the Russians advance. It shows the struggles they faced. This book really humanized the entire war for me. The suffering of World War Two was all encompassing. This book really brought that home.


The Last Stand, Nathaniel Philbrick Custer’s last stand is one of the most iconic events in American history. There are many myths  that swirl around the events of that day. This book takes an even keeled look at the battle. it examines the wide politics of the time, and was incredibly researched.
Philbrick also looks at the intimate lives of Both George Armstrong Custer and Sitting Bull. The book was well rounded with a strong narrative style that made it great to read.

 These are my favorite books. I enjoy history, fantasy, and most importantly a good narrative. It is the stories that make our lives so interesting. If you couldn’t already tell, I love a good book. I am also always looking for suggestions. If you have read any good books, leave them in the comments.

Till Next time!