Genre: historical

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Blood for Blood: Review

Blood for Blood: Review

I felt a bit winded as I finished reading Blood for Blood. It’s an exhausting, emotional, punch-to-the-gut kind of read, and making it to the end feels like its own kind of victory. This is a book that is in turn triumphant, bittersweet, and harrowing. It is a journey that is both cathartic and enraging which might not seem like the most satisfactory reading experience, but one that has an undeniable sense of rightness. It’s an important read, even more so now than before. I enjoyed this volume more than its predecessor, for a number of reasons. I am not a huge fan of journey-type narratives, and Wolf by Wolf is very much that. It’s very straight-forward in that the point of the book is getting from Point A to Point B. This is true of many narratives, but I find the particulars of a motorcycle race not that engaging…. Read more »

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The Dark Days Club: Review

The Dark Days Club: Review

A dark fantasy/paranormal YA novel set in Regency-era London is a setting I simply cannot pass by. Add in a delightfully relatable and unlikely, yet nonetheless badass, heroine and a little romantic tension so thick you could cut it and…well, I am more than sold. This was such a refreshing entry into the YA paranormal realm. In a genre where I am used to reading about vampires, werewolves, and witches, it was absolutely delightful to have these succubi-like demons. Roaming around Regency London no less! Paranormal usually falls under the domain of urban fantasy, as well, so it was doubly delightful to add this historical British flair. The demons and the magic involved were also delightfully creepy which is always a plus in my book. The Deceivers feed off of human sexual energy, depleting the human’s life force, with their creepy energy tentacles. I approve. Lady Helen Wrexhall has been… Read more »

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A Curious Beginning: Review

A Curious Beginning: Review

If you’ve been itching to curl up with an absorbing historical mystery that will make you laugh and swoon, then A Curious Beginning is right up your alley! I am not usually much one for mystery novels, but the combination of features here, Victorian London, an intrepid and super sassy heroine (also a lady scientist, yay!), and a developing romance hit all the right checkmarks for me. I’m glad I gave this one a try as it really is a super enjoyable set up to what could, finger crossed, be a long and rewarding series! The story begins with our heroine, Veronica Speedwell, burying  her last “relative” and remaining connection to her childhood. A foundling, Veronica had been raised by two spinster sisters, often moving at a whim around the country, causing constant upheaval in her life. Veronica soon discovers, though, that her very life is under attack, with mysterious… Read more »

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Blackhearts: Review

Blackhearts: Review

I was excited to read Nicole Castroman’s debut, Blackhearts, because I love historical fiction! I love historical fiction set in the 18th century! and Blackbeard! And, um, as a North Carolina resident, I went to the NC Maritime Museum this summer and saw artifacts from Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. If you are in or around Beaufort, NC, by the way, you too can do this thing. While I did not totally love Blackhearts, I am not sure that it’s the fault of the book? I went into Blackhearts wanting richly developed historical fiction with a little bit of romance on the side. What made Edward Teach into Blackbeard? Instead, the book is … a lot of romance. It’s primarily about Teach’s relationship with Anne Barrett, who is working, when they are first introduced, as a maid in Teach’s father’s home. Anne is the daughter of a white merchant and a… Read more »

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Front Lines: Review

Front Lines: Review

What if the draft had been extended to young women in WWII as well as men? That’s the premise of Michael Grant’s new book, Front Lines, and that’s pretty much all I needed to know before making grabby hands at it at NCTE this year. I saw the cover, saw the tagline – “she’s fighting for her country” – and was like, oh yes, I shall be reading you, book. I mean, I will read alternate histories any day of the week and if they’re alternate histories that focus on women’s experiences, then hell yes, I’m there. And as far as that goes, Front Lines did not disappoint! So Front Lines follows three young women – Rio, Frangie, and Rainy – as they enlist in the army and are shipped overseas. They have different motivations: Rio, a white girl from California, wants to do her part (but is also talked into it… Read more »

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These Shallow Graves: Review

These Shallow Graves: Review

If you enjoy historical fiction with a spunky female lead, some romance, and a murder mystery thrown in for good measure, you might want to pick up Jennifer Donnelly’s latest book, These Shallow Graves. I admit, I was lured in by the promise of a spunky female lead in this case – a girl who secretly dreams of being a writer and defying societal expectations! – ’cause that’s my jam all the time. In turn-of-the-century America, no less! (An aside: my love for American history has been totally revitalized by the release of the soundtrack for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical, by the way. And this is … a century later! Where’s my Revolutionary War YA when I need it?) Anyway. Ahem. Back to business! Despite the spunky female lead, while I liked many aspects of These Shallow Graves, I didn’t connect with it emotionally in the way that I wanted… Read more »

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Out of Darkness: Review

Out of Darkness: Review

Out of Darkness brings to light often marginalized voices in young adult fiction. Centered on the New London School explosion of 1937, Out of Darkness features protagonists who are racially and culturally diverse and a heartbreaking story that confronts you with the realities of racialized and gendered violence in 1930s Texas (and … also contemporary American culture). If you are in the mood for some truly excellent historical fiction that will emotionally devastate you, well then, do I have the book for you. I read this book in less than a day and I couldn’t put it down the entire time. I haven’t seen much press around this book yet, which is a bummer, because Out of Darkness is so, so good and also as thoughtful and thought-provoking as hell. It’s one of my favorites of the year so far. (And hey! My list of favorites for 2015 is not going to be… Read more »

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