Posts Categorized: historical

Under a Painted Sky: Review

Under a Painted Sky: Review

Who here used to play the computer game “Oregon Trail” obsessively as a child? Let’s see a show of hands. Think back fondly on the days you used to carefully select your wagon train, hunt for buffalo, and decide whether you needed to ford the river or caulk your wagon. (Sometimes, when I am driving, I feel like I am rafting down the Columbia River and trying to avoid boulders and like driftwood and stuff. A fun fact about me, I know. If you would like to relive the magic, you can play the game here, btw. It’s not perfect but it sparked my interest in this period of American history as a kid.) Anyway. When I found out that Under the Painted Sky was about two young women – one Chinese-American, one African-American – who cross-dress as teenage boys in order to navigate the Oregon Trail – I was sold. If… Read more »

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Nest and Nightbird: Audiobook Reviews

Nest and Nightbird: Audiobook Reviews

I’ve been short on time and unable to concentrate on reading lately, so I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks. They’re so wonderful when you’re driving or cooking or doing something else with your hands! I’m weirdly picky when it comes to narrators–I literally reject about 90% of the ones I sample–but it’s always a joy when I come across a reader whose voice and style I like. Today I’m reviewing two audiobooks I listened to recently, both of which are middle grade books featuring main characters with unusual names. Nest by Esther Ehrlich For fans of Jennifer Holm (Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise), a heartfelt and unforgettable middle-grade novel about an irresistible girl and her family, tragic change, and the healing power of love and friendship. In 1972 home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist… Read more »

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The Queen of the Tearling: Review

The Queen of the Tearling: Review

Have you read The Queen of the Tearling yet? If not: stop what you are doing immediately; do not pass Go; do not collect $200. Just go read The Queen of the Tearling. You will not regret it. I’m really bummed that I didn’t read it sooner. (And didn’t read it soon enough to count it among my 2014 favorites, because it definitely is, you guys.) It’s the sort of novel I’m predisposed to like because it features all of the following: lost princesses, a kingdom in turmoil, a tiny bit of romance, and ladies being badasses. And the underlying message is “this is why books are important, you guys.” So, this is all to say: if you like any of all of these things, please go read The Queen of the Tearling, and then join me in biting my nails, squealing like a ten year-old, and making grabby hands for… Read more »

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Classic Readalong Discussion: Little Women

Classic Readalong Discussion: Little Women

It’s our very last classics discussion of the year! And what a long book it was, my GOODNESS. Thank you to everyone who read it with us–it’s been so fun chatting with everyone on Twitter, and we look forward to a lively discussion with you below as well! IT’S ALSO RECKONING TIME. Below you’ll find directions on how you may prove you completed/participated in the challenge this year. We have two giveaways, plus a little thing for some additional participants.     Kim: Okay, due to my most inconveniently timed illness I was only able to make it halfway through this book. Terrible! But I have been long familiar with the story ever since I saw the 1994 film adaptation as a wee one. (Also my first ever introduction to Little Women was this anime I had as a kid. It it very dear to teeny tiny Kim’s heart )… Read more »

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Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

Assassin nuns! Who doesn’t love assassin nuns? (All of the people who get assassinated by them, probably.) If you aren’t a threat to 15th-century Brittany, though, you’re probably safe. That said, if you haven’t read any of the books in the His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers, GO READ THEM NOW. That is an order. The second book, Dark Triumph, is one of the best books I’ve read in the past year, and I think the series as a whole is pretty awesomesauce. The premise is as follows: the books follow the adventures (murder adventures) of three initiates – Ismae, Sybella, and Annith – of the Convent of Saint Mortain, the god of Death. All of the convent’s novitiates are also supposed to be the daughters of Mortain and have the creepy birth stories to prove it (with the exception of Annith whose birth is mysterious and unknown). They have all… Read more »

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Classic MG Discussion: Harriet the Spy

Classic MG Discussion: Harriet the Spy

Hello, dear readers! It’s time for our discussion of Harriet the Spy, which is perfect since it’s the book’s 50th anniversary this year. We’re so pleased that so many of you have been participating in our classics challenge, though we have to apologize again for being so behind on answering comments and visiting your review posts. Once summer was over we’d hoped things would slow down, but it’s still pretty busy around here, though we’re doing our best to get back on track. In any case, we’re very excited about this month’s book–we hope you enjoyed this read/re-read as much as we did! Wendy: Harriet M. Welsch is a perfectly dreadful child and I love her to pieces! This is one of my favorite books of all time, and she is a child so dear to my heart. She is so terribly suspicious and thinks awful things about the people… Read more »

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The Perilous Sea: Review

The Perilous Sea: Review

The Perilous Sea is one of those rare creatures: a sequel that is better than its (already pretty great) predecessor.  Where The Burning Sky sometimes dragged in places and was a little fuzzy on the magic and the rules of this fantasy world, everything in this installment is much improved. The plot zips along with breathless tension, more action, and a larger scope to the world of the story that never becomes daunting or confusing. The elemental magic is more present in the story and there’s none of the confusion of the first book. There are zigs and zags that I never saw coming and guarantees almost certain heartbreak. I devoured this book even more eagerly than the first and I loved every minute of it. The characterization is superbly done overall. Brave and stolid Iolanthe with her quick wit and easy bravado. Sweet Titus with his seriousness and sense… Read more »

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