Out of the Easy

Title: Out of the Easy

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Borrowed from: Ann Arbor District Library

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars*



Review: Jo, Josie or Josephine (depending on who you ask) just finished high school and needs to plan for her future. Her mother has a disreputable job** in an equally disreputable part of 1950’s New Orleans, her father is nowhere, the mob is at her doorstep looking for money and just when she can see the life she dreams of coming to fruition murder, theft and small lies and truths twist the story round and round. This beautiful coming of age story shares the trials and tribulations as Josie works to become anything but her mother (avoiding bad reputations and less than savory clients) while working in a bookstore with her dream of college just out of reach. Using her smarts and wit, Josie is able to start on her way out of New Orleans and although it doesn’t seem like it, she has a lot of people fighting in her corner to be something better.

Recommended for ages 14 – 18, historical fiction lovers and anyone intrigued by New Orleans.

Of note: This is the authors’ second novel. Her first was “Between Shades of Gray” which is also a beautifully, haunting work of historical fiction set in Russia during WWII. I highly recommend either book for history lovers in your life.

*Truthfully, 4.5 Stars if Goodreads had half star ratings. Sepetys is an author that can really take you places and her imagination comes across each and every page.

Spoilers may be found in the following discussion.

**For those interested: the disreputable job is working for a brothel. Although Josie only cleans the house every morning, many scenes are set inside and within the brothel house and many characters frequent the house or work there. Josie is also propositioned and although she ultimately decides it isn’t worth it, these decisions are not often ones openly discussed. If this is a concern it may be worth it to read this novel with your children or before your child reads it so as a family you can openly discuss issues it raises. I definitely wouldn’t skip this one!

Now for the real discussion: I love historical fiction and I am so excited that I am finding good historical fiction written for teens but enticing to adults. New Orleans has a certain mystery surrounding it (and has always been a place on my MUST travel to list) so seeing it via a teenage girl in 1950’s who is just trying to get out is an interesting perspective.


Rose Under Fire

Title: Rose Under Fire

Author: Elizabeth Wein

Received from: NetGalley

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars



Please note: this book was received as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) through NetGalley. Publication date is set for 10 September 2013 in the USA and 3 June 2013 in the UK.

Review: In this companion novel to Code Name Verity, Wein introduces us to Rose, an American pilot who is captured and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp where she meets numerous women who will forever change her life. What follows is an intricate tale weaving stories of those who were operated on in the name of medical science, “the Rabbits”, those who guard them and those who finally find freedom. Rose Under Fire is a haunting novel that truly shows the changes so many went through – one day a girl getting her nails painted for her date and the next day trading poetry for cigarettes to bribe prison guards. The book follows through there escape from Ravensbruck and the beginning of the trials that ultimately held many accountable for their actions and the actions of others. This is a must read. Although fiction, it is based on real events with real testimony and the authors’ note at the end works to explain where fact and fiction collide.

Recommended for ages 14 – 18, and anyone who loves historical fiction.

So… … … …

Woah. I haven’t blogged in over 2 months. No real reason why but let me explain.

I graduated from graduate school. I am now and alum of the University of Michigan and it feels great.

I’m job hunting.

I’m living with my aunt and uncle. Let me explain. My landlord was able to find people to take over my lease for the summer. Let’s chat numbers. My apartment was ~560 sq. ft. and I payed $950 per month. She rented it for $1100 per month. Because I’m not living there I will save $3800. When you consider hiring movers and storage for my stuff, total I will at least be saving $3000 (hopefully more).

I’m job hunting.

I’ve been seeing my friends IN PERSON and having lots of margaritas on porches because spring has finally arrive in Michigan.

I’ve been watching hockey playoffs (GO WINGS).

I’m job hunting.

But I have been reading. So I have a goal to get back into this whole blogging / reviewing thing. Mostly for practice because I still can’t shake the feeling that most book reviews are the same as reading a book jacket synopsis from the publisher (mine are no different).

Did I mention I’m job hunting?

Since I’m always interested in what people have been reading, here’s the list of what I’ve been up to since my last post (just because there were no blogs doesn’t mean there was no reading!):

So it totally depends on what type of book you are looking to read but of the above, Between Shades of Gray and Code Name Verity are musts.

Also if you have a NetGalley account (yay for ARC’s!) Elizabeth Wein’s next book Rose Under Fire is available for request. I was just approved and after I finish the book I’m on, I’ll be reading that next.

Well this is long enough – time to move on to other parts of my day. Hope you all have a safe Memorial Day weekend with lots of barbeques, friends and family, drinks, beaches and reading! Cheers!

(Did I mention I’m job hunting?)