Friday, January 29, 2016

Book review - Salt to the Sea

Title: Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: historical fiction
Similar books: Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
                     The Extra by Kathryn Lasky
fascinating, tragic
Summary (provided by publisher): The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view, and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson's critically acclaimed #1 New York Times bestseller Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein's Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff--the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

My opinion: At face value, this is a relatively easy read. The plot is relatively straightforward. Emotionally, though, it's  far from easy. It's uncomfortable and hard to handle. War is tragic. Terrible things happen. People survive months of tribulation and near death, find what promises to be their salvation only to have that promise of safety torn away. This book is so beautifully written that, even when we know dreadful things are about to happen we are compelled to keep reading. This book is not for the faint of heart, especially as some scenes are overly descriptive and gruesome. For those willing weather the discomfort, though, this is a fantastic read.

More information: Salt to the Sea releases February 2.
Advance Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pick 6: Survival Stories

Ever since reading Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, I've been a fan of books about struggles to stay alive. Talking with middle grade readers, I know I'm not alone in this preference. Publishing companies know this too. Book catalogues tend to feature at least one survival story. Here are six new stories of survival published in the last six months.

6 new survival novels

1. Finding Someplace by Denise Lewis Patrick

2. The Detour by S A Bodeen

3. On the Run by Tristan Bancks

4. Calvin by Martine Leavitt

5. Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain

6. Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I'm back!

Well hello there! I sort of dropped off the map for a month so if you've stuck with me this long, thanks. I started a new job just before Christmas and moved into a new apartment just last week so my life has been a little hectic. But, things are settling down and my internet got installed last night (yay!) so you can expect to see me back to my regular schedule of 4-5 post a week from this point on.