My favorite books from the first half of 2017!


Hey! We’re halfway through the year! I’ve read 56 books so far and I ‘m excited to see what I read later this year!

I just the mid-year book freak out tag, which you can click here to see! In that tag I didn’t think I was able to show what my favs have been so I thought I’d dedicate a post for it!

My favorite YA contemporaries have been:

Image result for emmy and oliver Image result for the upside of unrequited Image result for always and forever lara jean Image result for history is all you left me

Image result for more happy than not Image result for the hate you give Image result for the sun is also a star Image result for aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe

My favorite young adult fantasy/fiction/dystopian books have been:

Image result for the murder complex Image result for code name verity Image result for caraval Image result for the midnight star

My favorite Adult/Adultish books have been: 

Image result for goodbye paradise Image result for the hating game Image result for mistborn Image result for our savage song

Image result for our dark duet Image result for a conjuring of light Image result for vicious by v.e. schwab Image result for darkfever

My favorite New Adult and Middle Grade books have been:

Image result for beastly lights Image result for a court of wings and ruin Image result for the iron trial

And that is all! There haven’t been any books I’ve read that I hated this year so far, I don’t think I rated any book lower than 3 stars this year!

Yay! Some of the 3 and a few 4 star books didn’t make it into this post just because they weren’t memorable enough or cause I thought they were okay.

Which books have you read that you loved so far this year?! Do we share any in common?


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys // Book Review

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Publisher: Philomel Books

Publication Date: February 2nd, 2016

Page Number: 400 pages

Format Read: E-book (Live-brary)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book! The events that occurred throughout were so tragic and felt so heartbreaking! It was so interesting learning about new things in history and that there was a ship sinking even worse than the Titanic that isn’t even as well known.

You really start to feel attached to all of the characters and want them all to make it through the war.

One thing I found incorporated really well was the romance and the air of mystery and secrets. Like despite the horrible situation happening and people being killed, the plot and story was still propelled by the secrets and romance.

And those things helped make the story more interesting and want the reader to keep turning the pages.

At first I thought the multiple character POV’s would turn me off the story and I would get confused, but after three chapters, I was perfectly fine since each character was really diverse.

The only person whose chapters I kind of skimmed was Alfred. He just freaked me out in general. When we found out what really happened to his love back home, I was shocked. Like how does one not understand that they’re giving someone they love a death sentence basically??

And poor Emilia! I found her such a strong girl given that we’re practically the same age. I couldn’t imagine being on the run from Hitler while pregnant and Polish.

I think my favorite character was probably Joana, but I loved all of them too.

I definitely loved this book more than Between Shades of Gray and didn’t know much about it going into it so I was pleasantly surprised to see that Salt to the Sea took place during the same time era nearly as Between Shades of Gray.

I’m excited to see what Ruta writes next!


A historical fiction book with characters that brought the story to life and a plot propelled by secrets.

My Rating:

4.5 stars

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Stay awesome Sassenachs!-Calliope Fraser

P.s. This will probably be my last post for July, apart from my July wrap up since I’m leaving today for a sleep away journalism camp!

Top Ten Tuesday- Books Set Outside of the U.S.

Hello! Welcome back to another top ten tuesday! It’s been a while since I did one of these, but I couldn’t resist when I saw the topic, which is books set outside of the U.S.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish !

1. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

This books is set in in many different places, France being a large part of the book. This was my first Gayle Forman book too.

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Obviously this book takes place in France, and it’s also one of my favorite contemporaries

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The majority of this book takes place in Germany and is another favorite of mine.

4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Majority takes place in Scotland! I love this book and it’s my favorite adult historical fiction book.

5. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Okay technically there is some American setting, but the majority of the book takes place in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I had to read this for English this year and I really loved it!

6. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

The U.K. Obviously I absolutely love Harry Potter.

7. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

In Europe, largely Germany I think. I just finished reading this book and thought it was amazing, much better than the previous book I read by Ruta Sepetys, which is actually below!

8. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

I think it was Lithuania, or one of the Slavic states. While I did like this book, it wasn’t exactly wow like Salt to the Sea was.

9. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

The U.K. This book was really good, and I think the movie fell short largely because of the lack of chemistry, but moving on to the last book…

10. The Bad Queen by Carolyn Meyer

Austria and then later France. This was my first Carolyn Meyer book and the reason why I love history so much and the history of European monarchs. Carolyn Meyer was my historical fiction queen growing up and I’ve read nearly all of her many books.

Have you read any of these? What other books did I miss that take place outside of the U.S.?

Stay awesome Sassenachs!-Calliope Fraser

Between Shades of Gray Review/Discussion


Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Publisher: Philomel Books

Publication Date: March 22nd, 2011

Page Number: 344

Format Read: Hardcover (School Library Borrowed)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

My Thoughts:

Yeah, wow, this book was written so beautifully and even made me tear up some. The main character Lina is so resilient and brave and her story was so moving.

I’m currently learning about the events that were inspired by this book in AP World History and I’m really glad I was able to read this book first to get a glimpse into what really went down during Stalin’s rule.

After reading it, I was so horrified that I went to talk to my dad, who used to live in Soviet Ukraine and we had a serious conversation about Stalin and Russia during this time period.

My one complaint, (which in all honesty, is something I complain about with nearly every book) is that the ending was so bittersweet and we didn’t even get to see the romance between Lina and Andrius in the end. Though I have to admit, it was concluded in such a bittersweet and creative way.

I grieved so much for and with Lina whenever tragedy struck her and her family. I sighed when a character suffered. Though this book is historical fiction, it could be like a diary, which is I’m sure what the author was going for.

I loved that we got to see that guard have a soft spot, and that Lina’s mother was able to pull it out of him like that.

Lina is 15 years old, and so am I, and I wouldn’t be able to survive what she did and her story is similar to countless girls, and just wow, props to them if they survived, and I grieve for those who didn’t.


A brilliant historical book that will have you raging and grieving at the same time, amazing!


4 out of 5 stars

What was that guards name!? Kretsky or something, I honestly can’t remember and it was only two and a half weeks ago.

Please share your thoughts on anything I might have left out!

Stay awesome Sassenachs!-Calliope Fraser

P.S. My mom saw that I was reading this on line at Universal and she saw the title and automatically asked if it was appropriate. Ugh, she obviously thought it was Fifty Shades of Gray and that bothers me a lot