Gisela’s review of Salt to the Sea

I’m shedding a few tears while typing this, but believe me I ugly cried as soon as I was done reading Salt to the Sea. Ruta Sepetys has once again written a captivating historical fiction and made me completely live inside this book and the lives of the characters.

Salt to the Sea takes a perspective of World War II that I hardly ever get to hear about and it describes one of the worst shipwrecks in history. Beyond that, she tells the story from the eyes of young adults and the children that suffered these horrendous situations during the war. Each narrator – Joana, Florian, Emilia, and Alfred (the bastard) had a voice that enraptured me put me in their shoes, made me live their unique experiences. The way their characters developed through book astounded me, secrets revealed little by little, and I couldn’t help the lurching in my heart that hoped for the best even though you know the history and how it plays out. BUT with that being said the book ended with hope, which is all we could ever ask for.

Ruta Sepetys had a gift for writing historical fiction that touches every corner of your humanity. You can see that she put many years and time and dedication into researching for this book. It paid off beautifully.

War is ugly. In this book we encounter Russians bombing Germans, Germans bombing Russians, families losing their homes, children losing their parents, mothers begging for people to take their babies, and so many more atrocities. It doesn’t matter what side you are on, in war, everyone loses. This is a bleak topic and disturbing almost all the time (I kept tearing up and gasping while reading) but it is important to always read about these kinds of stories. To remain educated. As the author mentions in the Author’s Note, is that it is important that we continue to tell these stories. We must continue, learn and to pass down the warning: Never Again.

Gisela’s review of Salt to the Sea

Gisela’s review of Victoria

I am a big fan of historical fiction and this was my first Daisy Goodwin book. I have heard nothing but good things about her writing and it was all justified! I enjoyed reading this book so much! I grew to love Queen Victoria after watching the movie with Emily Blunt and listening to the podcast by The History Chicks (which I really recommend listening to) and reading this book added to my love.

Like young ladies, Victoria has to handle overbearing parents, growing up, and meeting the one all while becoming the freaking queen at age 18!!! Humans are complicated creatures and when you add the responsibility of being a sovereign, well things can become chaotic. Goodwin’s depiction is pretty consistent with what I have heard about Queen Victoria and I’m happy that Victoria’s personality shown throughout the book. She was impulsive and made so many mistakes, but always owned up to them.

Some people do not enjoy historical fiction, but Goodwin’s writing style kept it fresh without taking away from the historical elements of the times. I kept looking things up to see how accurate it was and I was super pleased! The language was not stuffy at all and I think anyone wanting to learn more about the young monarch will enjoy this book.

Oh and the last few chapters, gahhhhh I couldn’t stop swooning!!! Nice subtle romance. *sighhhh*

Gisela’s review of Victoria

Gisela’s review of Before I Fall

Wow, what I just read just wow. I have no words at all.

My first Lauren Oliver book and I’m just left speechless. Her writing is absolutely stunning. The language is rich and the dialogue is beyond perfection. The actual story, though… my dear, my heart is breaking into little pieces as I’m typing this. Usually, I wait a few hours or a day to write a review but I just want to get this over with. I don’t want to feel this way.

The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars (which I think it fully deserves) is because I was not satisfied with the ending and I was hoping for another outcome. Other than that…phenomenal and beautifully sad.

Before I Fall is a word of warning and a prayer all in one to us all.

Gisela’s review of Before I Fall

Gisela’s review of Bad Mommy

Whoa. What did I just read? As always when I read Tarryn’s books I feel like I have everything figured out and I am COMPLETELY WRONG!

Told from three different perspectives in three different parts, you learn more about the truth of each character as you keep reading. In part one, I thought I knew what was happening, and then part two totally blew my head out of the water. I kept saying out loud, “What the hell just happened?! Did that really just happen?!’ This book will definitely mess with your head a bit if you submit yourself to it.

I thought the timeline was kind of all over the place. I never really knew when something was happening, or if it had already happened depending on the character that was speaking. I could tell that some of the characters were unreliable narrators and maybe Tarryn wanted it that way, which is fine by me, I just feel like I might need to read it again to get the timeline straight.

Other than that, this book kept me engaged and enraged the whole damn time.

Gisela’s review of Bad Mommy

Gisela’s review of The Hopefuls

Another book that got kind of bad reviews here on Goodreads, but I actually enjoyed. Maybe because I just took it for what it is – a story about a young couple that gets caught up in the hoopla that is politics and Washington D.C.

The main characters (Beth, Matt, Ash, and Jimmy) were depicted really honestly. I feel like they were real people that I would probably run into or people that I went to college with. Each had their different version of what success looked like. It was these differences that brought on all their troubles and grievances with each other. They just didn’t know how to cope, and I think that happens to many of us. We start of all idealistic and optimistic, but then the reality sets in and you realize that maybe that new job wasn’t as great as you thought, or those friends weren’t as sincere as you had originally hoped.

I really enjoyed the fact that this book takes place during recent history – the historic 2008 campaign when Obama won and the years that followed. Looking back I think everyone became so involved with the message of hope and change that it was easy to become disillusioned and believe everything would be better overnight. But the reality is much grittier than that – it actually takes a lot of work, which is something our main character and narrator Beth has to realize.

You aren’t going to find extreme scandals or a lot of action in this book, but if you are willing to be patient, I think Beth’s honest and sincere voice and thoughts will make you, as a reader rethink what trust, politics, relationships, and above all hope require.

Gisela’s review of The Hopefuls

Gisela’s review of Maybe Someday

I’m probably being completely biased because I love ALL of Colleen Hoover’s books but Maybe Someday will be my second favorite after Confess. I always pick up a Hoover book when I need a pick me up because although all the characters go through crazy situations and you almost believe that there will be no happy ending, there is a happy ending and I love that about her. AND even though I know there is most likely going to be a happy ending, I never have any idea how it is going to get there! I have no idea how Hoover is able to keep that element in her books time and time again.

I’ve never read a book that combined actual music and a story, and it worked out nicely and added an extra sentimentality to the story. I felt a little more immersed because of that.

Now emotionally… the characters interactions were driving me crazy! Absolutely crazy! I wanted to knock some sense into Ridge the whole time and found myself saying “No. No. No,” plenty of times. I really had no idea how Ridge and Syndey would react to each other after certain situations arose. I liked that, though! I could never guess and I don’t like it when a book is too predictable.

Overall if you need some hope and love in your life, read this.

Gisela’s review of Maybe Someday

In honor of the final book in the trilogy, The Fate of the Tearling, here is a quote from the last book that I keep coming back to. 

I find it amazing how relevant this quote is to the events happening today, in 2016. I find ourselves (humanity that is) advancing in certain aspects and regressing in others. 

It’s scary, but I’m hopeful.