Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

How lucky are we all to have people like Ruta Sepetys in the world who refuse to allow us to forget humanity’s tragic past? With her newest novel Salt to the Sea we are forced once again to examine things that history would prefer we forgot. World War II and all the atrocities that went with it are an ugly stain in the twentieth century. All throughout my school career I’ve heard what was done to the Jews in Europe and how they were slaughtered simply for what they believed in. What I had never heard about until I read Between Shades of Gray was what happened to the people of the Baltics. Their story is something we were not allowed to know. Just like the story of the Wilhelm Gustloff was not something we were allowed to know.
It was a single moment in history that killed thousands of people and yet it took until Ruta told me about it for me to learn about it. We’ve had tons of movies and books and specials about the Titanic hitting an iceberg and sinking. On that ship between 1,500 and 1,700 people perished in the ice-cold sea. The Wilhelm Gustloff sinking by a Russain submarine caused around 9,000 deaths. This was wartime though, the Germans couldn’t report about the sinking of this ship because it would cause those fighting for Hitler to lose hope so they let the memories of all the victims drown too. I live in a 2016 world and I had never heard of this until Ruta mentioned it, most people have never heard of it at all. When I got to the point of the sinking in the book some of the characters mentioned how this was going to be huge news and how no one would be able to forget it. That part hit me more than any other part of this story. It should have been news. We should not have forgotten it, but we did.
This is a heartbreaking story of truth that has been covered up for so long. It’s part of our history and I knew going into this book that history is sometimes ugly and Ruta was not going to cover that up. She does a fantastic job of showing up the realities of the lives of people living in Europe during the war. It makes you wonder how many other stories are out there that we don’t know about yet. How many more voices are begging to be heard?


Proposal by Meg Cabot

Title: Proposal
Author: Meg Cabot
Publication Date: January 18, 2016
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Source: Purchased

From Goodreads:

The last place Suze Simon expects to find herself during Valentine’s Day is a cemetery. But that’s what happens when you’re a mediator – cursed with the “gift” of communicating with the dead.

That’s how Suze has ended up at the graves of a pair of NCDPs – Non-Compliant Deceased Persons – whose drama didn’t end with death. It’s Suze’s job to make sure they move on—for good.

But the NCDPs aren’t the only ones with problems. The reason Suze is spending her Valentine’s Day with the undead instead of her boyfriend, Jesse, is because he’s having so much trouble adjusting to life after death . . . not surprising, considering the fact that he used to be an NCDP himself, and now his girlfriend busts his former kind for a living, while he tries to cure his kind of what used to ail him.

Can Suze use her mediating skills to propose a mutual resolution, and bring all these young lovers together – including Jesse and herself – especially on the night Saint Valentine declared sacred to romance?

Or will she end up alone—and possibly undead—herself?

Ahead of the release of Remembrance (Mediator 7) Meg Cabot has release a novella to let us in on the moment Jesse proposes to Susannah. Revisiting the Mediator world after twelve years was kind of crazy. We get to follow an adult Susannah as she navigates college, mediating, and her love life. She lives in what she refers to as “Virgin Vault” on her community college campus and shares a suite with a group of interesting girls whom she tries to keep her secret from. After a particularly nasty Non-Conpliant Dead-Person she heads home to find none other than Jesse in her dorm room!
One thing that is made quite clear from their first interaction is that this is an adult book. There are no overly naughty scenes, but for someone who doesn’t read adult books very often, there’s definitely some discussions in there I am not used to seeing.
I loved seeing Susannah and Jesse still together. For so long Meg Cabot said she wouldn’t write another Mediator series because she didn’t want to put the two of them through any more torture. I was a little worried that in the new novel they wouldn’t be together anymore, but I was so happy when the descriptions were announced.
In Proposal we get the same witty writing that we always get from Meg Cabot. Susannah’s character hasn’t changed a bit in the twelve years that we last saw her. Cabot was able to effortlessly slide back into character. It feels like we never left these characters and it was a perfect way to build the lead up to Remembrance.


The Forgetting!

I am so excited for Sharon Cameron’s new book! Coming on Sept. 13, 2016 we will all get to read <em>The Forgetting</em>. <em>Room</em> quickly landed itself on my all time favorite books list so I cannot wait to read more from Sharon.

 

Here’s a blurb:

 

In a society that loses its collective memory, one girl remembers everything. Beloved author of Rook Sharon Cameron takes readers by storm with her brilliant foray into science fiction.

Seventeen-year-old Nadia lives in Canaan, a quiet city in an idyllic world, hemmed in by high walls that are constructed of a material no one in her town recognizes. Every twelve years, the people of Canaan undergo a collective Forgetting, in the days before which the town devolves into a chaos of bloody violence, and after which the people are left without any trace of memory of themselves, their families, their lives. Nadia has never forgotten, however. As the next Forgetting approaches, Nadia is determined to find out what causes it and whether there is any way to stop it. With the help of Gray, the handsome glassblower’s son, she discovers that there is a devious plot afoot… one that keeps the people of Canaan permanently subdued. Will Nadia be able to solve the mystery before the people forget the truth? And before Gray forgets her?

A remarkable story of memory and loss, love and indomitable courage.

I LOVE the cover! It’s so pretty! Cannot wait to read this book!

There’s also a giveaway going on over at this link


Book Spotlight: Rook by Sharon Cameron

Rook by Sharon Cameron is going to be this month’s Book Spotlight. I wanted to showcase this particular book for several reasons. The first is that it was amazing and has so many valuable lessons in it. The second is that because I consider Sharon a friend I didn’t want you guys to feel as though that would bias an actual review.

First let me give you some more information on Rook

From Goodreads

History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

I first heard about Rook in 2013 while I was interning for Sharon. She told me it was partially inspired by the Scarlett Pimpernel where I am sure a blank stare was given because I had never read it before. A brief description was given to me about what she was going to be doing in this book and while it sounded amazing at the time, I couldn’t really have imagined how the book was going to play out until I read it. I also helped do some research for the book while I was interning (although I have no idea how much help I actually was) but even those glimpses of information didn’t give anything away.
When I first saw the cover and read the tagline “What will be has already been…” I basically freaked out. I loved it. The book is set in a future that has basically regressed back into the past. Sharon loves history so there was no other way this book could have been written.
When the book was released in April I was so excited to be able to attend the launch party. Even though I had helped with blog tours for her previous two books, I was unable to attend the launches.

Here are all the things I LOVED about Rook and why you should read it too. There are SLIGHT SPOILERS ahead, but I don’t think anything too major.

1. The Red Rook.
Seems pretty obvious that I would love the main character, but she’s pretty awesome. What I liked about her is that she doesn’t change herself at all in this book. She lives in a social circle where it’s extremely important for her to get married or else some bad things are going to happen, but what does she want to do instead of saying some vows? Save lives and kick ass while doing it. She commands the respect of everyone around her, whether they know her personally or if they just by the red tipped rook feathers she leaves in empty prison cells. This is also the story of a girl (young woman really!) who just wants to save people and then ends up saying an entire country. (Think Katniss Everdeen, but much cooler and more brilliant)
2. The Love Triangle That’s Not Really a Love Triangle

Here is my face whenever I see a love triangle in anything:


#NotImpressed

So you can imagine my enthusiasm when this book…does not have one. I don’t think that’s a spoiler…maybe if you’re rooting for the wrong guy? Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely multiple guys vying for Sophie’s heart but that does not mean at all that she is torn between two people and I love that! Sophie is basically so busy trying to figure out how to SAVE LIVES that she doesn’t need to worry about men! Can she please just come and be my personal hero because I love her!

3. The Way the Love Happens
I have read so many books and watched so many movies where the romance between two characters isn’t organic. Either it happens way too quickly and unrealistically or it’s just straight up unbelievable. Not so here. Remember what I said about Sophie (or Sophia if someone is unfamiliar with her) not changing herself? It totally rings true here and that is by far one of my favorite things about this book. She doesn’t just fall in love with someone as a plot point or because the audience wants her too. She doesn’t become the person someone else wants to be so that she can fit into their view of the perfect match. She remains the same. The person she falls in love with loves her BECAUSE of who she is. This is someone who will not “allow” or “tolerate” who she is because he loves her, but loves her because of who she is. Do you guys see how important this is? This is someone who not only appreciates every single thing about her, but also encourages her to continue to be herself and even joins forces with her. This is someone who not only supports her dreams but is right there trudging beside her through who knows what to help her do anything she dreams. And at the same time she supports him. It’s basically a perfect relationship that honestly made me fall in love with this guy more than Lane from The Dark Unwinding which was basically an almost impossible task before I read this book.

4. The World
This one is a little harder to talk about without giving too much away. Just know that Sharon creates an amazing world to set this story in. I mentioned before that it’s set in the future in a place like the past, but she still created an entirely unique view of this world. There are multiple new political systems, a brand new society, different economic standards, and different religions. It also brings forward a new way to think about the world we live in now. Are we too reliant on technology? And how valuable are the things we use in everyday life that we take for granted and see as garbage. You all will understand when you get to the world “DIET”.

This book stuck with me after reading it in a way I haven’t experienced in quite a while. I was still thinking about it over an hour after I finished it and actually missed the characters. I read this book over the course of several months and it the characters had been with me for so long that I actually missed them when I was finished.
I hope that you will all take a moment to read this awesome book and let me know your thoughts on it!