Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Yay! I have officially read all the books (out) by Ruta Sepetys! I did hear she’s writing another one, hopefully about World War II.

Out of the Easy, however, wasn’t about World War II like Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Grey. In fact, it’s about the time period right after, the 1950s in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

The main character, Josie Moraine, has just graduated high school and is working in a bookshop with her best friend, Patrick. She carries a secret with her: her mother is a prostitute working for the famous (for New Orleans) Madam Willie. Josie wants to escape that lifestyle and her horrible relationship with her thief of a mother, so she lives in the small apartment above the bookshop and hopes to attend college someday. When a strange man comes into the shop telling her exactly what she wants to hear, her life turns around.

Jesse is a college boy selling flowers to earn extra cash in New Orleans. He lives with his superstitious grandmother and rides a motorcycle.

So basically, who wouldn’t want to date him?

I loved the characters of Jesse, Patrick, and Josie. What surprised me the most? I actually loved Willie as well. I also loved the girls working for Willie, no matter how sad their lifestyle. Sweety and Dora always melted my heart.

As far as characters go, there was a surprising amount of them. You had those main ones, you had Charlie (Patrick’s father who sadly suffered mental deterioration), Charlotte (a rich college girl who randomly befriends Josie), and Mr. Lockwell (essentially a creepy man who gives you chills every time his name was mentioned).

I feel that I owe Charlotte a paragraph. She was raised by an awful family who lived solely by social standards, and she was able to escape that and become her own person. She was also an avid reader, English major at Smith college (prestigious women’s college, able to PILOT AN AIRPLANE, and was kind. I wish the friendship of Charlotte and Josie was able to connect more, like if they lived closer.

I also wish I got to know the character of Charlie before he came old and sick. Patrick and Josie talked about him in the sweetest, most respectful way. He must have been a wise gentleman.

I hated the character of Cincinnati. He was basically after Josie and stole away her mother, Louisa. Although, her mother was no better in that aspect.

One thing I often notice about books is that every word on every page is there for a reason. I found that Ruta Sepetys included a lot of unnecessary parts in the book, and it surprised me.

Please tell me someone else noticed Patrick might’ve been gay?!?!?

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There’s nothing wrong with getting a little beside the point, but it was just an observation. I thought it made the book rather cozy and detailed.

Ruta Sepetys never ceases to amaze me.

Short and sweet blog post for you guys 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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Yes, I have been getting a lot of reading done lately. Let’s get right into the review!

I am ashamed to say my first thoughts while reading Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys were “I hate this book. It’s too confusing. Each chapter is way too short and it switches between four characters.” I’m so thankful I decided to continue reading, because this may be one of the most influential books in my life.

It was given to me for Easter, and I took a short break from reading it, so I didn’t finish it until this morning (by the way, I’ve had a very productive morning. I woke up early to finish this, then proceeded to work out my arms, abs, legs, and did some cardio. Then I walked the dog, did yoga, cleaned, wrote, and am getting some blogging done! It’s not even 2:00 yet. Yay me).

I’m sorry the picture doesn’t have the true cover on it; I sometimes take the jackets off while reading. It’s a very pretty book:

 

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Not only is it gorgeous, but it was SUCH. A. GOOD. BOOK.

It’s 1945, nearly the end of World War II. Four teenagers, all born of a different country, cross paths on the German Ship Wilhelm Gustloff. Each of them has their secrets, and each of them has a different reason for leaving Germany. The ship is supposed to represent safety, until tragedy strikes, again, as it always does during brutal war.

World War II is my favorite time period to read about, as you all know. People think I’m crazy for wanting to read about such a miserable time period. But I’ve always been drawn towards those types of books, and this one was no different.

By the end, I was too shocked to cry. I was too sad, too changed.

This is the type of book that changes you forever.

I couldn’t believe how quickly I read it once I finally got into it. Because of the short chapters, I couldn’t put it down. It was truly captivating. All of the characters were ones I felt a true connection to.

Sepetys has an incredible, true talent. I felt the same way after reading Between Shades of Grey. And I just found out the two books are actually related, in terms of the characters. If you’ve read these books and want to know what I’m talking about, please leave a comment.

My heart is going crazy with excitement.

I absolutely love how she brings attention to the Lithuanian side of the war. Mostly everyone focuses on the mistreatment of the Jews, but it was really an eye-opener to read about something not well-known and understood.

Disaster kept me on the edge of my seat, and I think everyone was on their toes during the more gruesome parts. Every time a person died, I had to remind myself it was a small scale compared to everything that happened during the war.

If you don’t know much about this, I encourage you to educate yourself. It’s fascinating and terrible. I would never have thought I would find any form of entertainment in a book about such a sad topic, but it was surprising.

Joana, Emilia, Florian, and Alfred. The main characters I loved (except Alfred, but nobody liked him much). I even loved the side characters. They hold a special place in my heart.

Please, please, please read the book.

It’s just amazing how love continues throughout lack of peace. That’s all I have to say.

Review: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

How do you feel after finishing a book you’ve been reading for a while? Emotional? Angry? Sad? Happy? Relieved? How about all of those at once? That’s how I felt after I finished The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas.

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Admittedly, I opened up the prequel with low expectations. Novellas usually don’t do it for me. Boring, stupid, pointless, and nonsense are some words I typically use to describe them. However, I was in for a shock after the first chapter of The Assassin’s Blade, prequel to the Throne of Glass series containing five novellas. If you haven’t already, read my review here.

Altogether, I found the stories fun, entertaining, brutal, true, and interconnected. If you aren’t a fan of the series, you probably won’t understand well. Celaena is working at the Assassin’s Guild as Adarlan’s Assassin under Arobynn Hamel. He sends her on a mission, and since it’s Celaena, chaos breaks lose.

We all know and read about Celaena’s love for Sam, another member of the Guild, and this is where we finally get to meet him. My heart was smashed to a pulp like it was put through a blender. Maas showed us how their love came to be, and, tragically, how it ended. The book brought us right to the beginning of Throne of Glass, where Celaena was a slave in the salt mines. It also told a story of what happened in between and how everything came to be.

I was amazed at the connections to the series. Amazed.

Either Maas’s memory is inhuman or she read through the series again to remember even the faintest details (like Celaena throwing a knife at Lysandra!).

I’m not sure if I’ve read a better adventure story in a while, from pirates to saving lives to freeing slaves to falling in love.

Something I believe is that throughout life you will fall in and out of love many times with many people, because love grows and changes. I am so happy to say the Throne of Glass series supports that belief; Celaena has had lots of love and loss. Lots of books nowadays base their plots on the idea of soulmates, and the main characters usually only fall in love once. I love Maas for this.

She’s also super real, and Celaena has real life woman problems. I love when books include small details like going to the bathroom, because it’s reality.

Throughout reading An Assassin’s Blade, I laughed, shouted, and nearly cried.

So obviously I recommend it to all of you.

Thank you for reading! Please share with a fellow book-lover.

All the love,

Letslovebooks. ❤

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Oh my gosh! So last weekend, I went to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 at the cinema with my mum. We were watching the previews and eating some delicious Milk Duds, and, lo and behold, I saw it: the movie trailer for Me Before You. I was immediately captured by the gorgeous male (and the gorgeous female, but obviously I noticed the male first!) and the sad tale.

I decided I was in love and that I had to see the movie when it comes out: June 3rd. But then I was like “well, duh, I’m me, so I have to read the book first.”

So I went home after watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (a spectacular movie, btw) and bought Me Before You on the kindle and read it. I finished the book in hours.

Not even lowkey embarrassed. Proud, actually.

WOW! This novel was TRULY amazing. First of all, it takes place in England, my dream home. They drink tea all the time and speak poshly, so of course I would adore the story.

Summary (in my own words because I’m not basic and stealing it from Goodreads):

Louisa Clark, a 26-year old “fashionista” who has just been fired and is dating a horrendous health-obsessed man named Patrick , is looking for a job when Camilla Traynor hires her to look after her son, Will. Lou is depended upon by her family to earn money, and she feels constantly outshone by her sister, Treena. She is unambitious and sad. Will was hit by a motorcycle and left paralyzed at the age of 35. While he was formerly successful and attractive, he is now unable to do the things he loves like climbing mountains and being active.

At first, Will is excessively rude to Lou, but eventually they become close friends. Lou notices scars on his arms but doesn’t say anything until she hears a conversation between Camilla and Georgina, Will’s sister. She discovers that Will is planning to die through Dignitas, the assisting suicide program in Switzerland, and is shocked.

Lou isn’t going to let Will die, and she will do whatever plan it takes to keep him here.

I give Me Before You five stars for its absolutely mind-blowing plot and emotional words.

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I’m serious, this book had me in actual tears after finishing it. It left me incredibly happy and sad, but mostly sad. Words can’t express the emotions it made me feel.

I wanted to be more like Will and Lou; I wanted to follow my dreams and live an active life. I wanted to fall in love and be that close to someone. I wanted to sit on my bed and stare at the ceiling until all my thoughts were under control.

Jojo Moyes did a PHENOMENAL job at developing two brilliant characters with bright attitudes. I’ve never read more intelligent thoughts. The way Will wanted Lou to get out of the small town and witness life in the big world was incredibly sweet. And the way Lou never wanted to be separated  from those she loved left me speechless.

The entire story had a cozy feel to it, but I felt angry when I found out about Dignitas.

You know me, I had to start reading the sequel immediately. After You will never be as good.

I especially loved how Lou was portrayed as a bit of a loser, but she refused to be one. She lived in a tiny bedroom in her parent’s house and never went to college, never even left her hometown, but she kept a dainty air about her. Her clothing choices also sound…interesting… Like her bumblebee leggings!

Will felt lost, but his mind could still love and laugh and learn. He might not have been able to walk or feed himself, but he could make witty jokes and fall in love and make everyone cry!

I can’t wait to see what the movie has in store, and I hope you all decide to pick up this excellent novel.