Tag Archives: Historical

Book Title:
The Beautiful
Book Author:
Renée Ahdieh
Book Series:
The Beautiful, #1
Page Count:
448
Publishing Date:
October 8th, 2019
Publisher:
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
February 25th, 2020
Format:
Hardcover
Source:
Purchased

Synopsis

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

My Review

This is the first book by Renée Ahdieh that I have read. I have her other books, but I haven’t had the chance to read them yet. I was drawn to this one because of that absolutely stunning cover, and … Continue reading

3 stars
2 Comments
Book Title:
Blood Water Paint
Book Author:
Joy McCullough
Page Count:
304
Publishing Date:
March 6th, 2018
Publisher:
Dutton Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
October 25th, 2019
Format:
Kindle Edition
Source:
Library

Synopsis

A debut novel based on the true story of the iconic painter, Artemisia Gentileschi.

Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father's paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome's most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

He will not consume

my every thought.

I am a painter.

I will paint.

I will show you

what a woman can do.

My Review

Blood Water Paint was a lot different from what I was expecting it to be. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but it was just…not exactly this. This was so much better than I thought it was going … Continue reading

4 stars
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Book Title:
A Death-Struck Year
Book Author:
Makiia Lucier
Page Count:
288
Publishing Date:
January 5th, 2016
Publisher:
HMH Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
September 2nd, 2019
Format:
Paperback
Source:
Purchased

Synopsis

For Cleo Berry, the people dying of the Spanish Influenza in cities like New York and Philadelphia may as well be in another country—that's how far away they feel from the safety of Portland, Oregon. And then cases start being reported in the Pacific Northwest. Schools, churches, and theaters shut down. The entire city is thrust into survival mode—and into a panic. Headstrong and foolish, seventeen-year-old Cleo is determined to ride out the pandemic in the comfort of her own home, rather than in her quarantined boarding school dorms. But when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can't ignore the call. As Cleo struggles to navigate the world around her, she is surprised by how much she finds herself caring about near-strangers. Strangers like Edmund, a handsome medical student and war vet. Strangers who could be gone tomorrow. And as the bodies begin to pile up, Cleo can't help but wonder: when will her own luck run out?

Riveting and well-researched, A Death-Struck Year is based on the real-life pandemic considered the most devastating in recorded world history. Readers will be captured by the suspenseful storytelling and the lingering questions of: what would I do for a neighbor? At what risk to myself?

An afterword explains the Spanish flu phenomenon, placing it within the historical context of the early 20th century. Source notes are extensive and interesting.

A Spring 2014 Indies Introduce New Voices selection.

My Review

A Death Struck Year was one of those books that I bought ages ago, but kind of just sat on my shelf and never got read until recently. I’m not always big on historical fiction, and I really have to … Continue reading

3.5 stars
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Book Tour
Book Title:
In the Neighborhood of True
Book Author:
Susan Kaplan Carlton
Page Count:
320
Publishing Date:
April 9th, 2019
Publisher:
Algonquin Young Readers
Date Read:
March 24th, 2019
Format:
eARC
Source:
I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

My Review

In the Neighborhood of True has such a pretty pink cover, and I think that might have been one of the things that drew me to it initially. I’m not sure why, but I think the pretty writing, the flowers, … Continue reading

3.5 stars
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Book Title:
The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures
Book Author:
Aaron Mahnke
Page Count:
320
Publishing Date:
October 10th, 2017
Publisher:
Del Rey
Date Read:
November 27th, 2017
Source:
Purchased

Synopsis

A fascinating, beautifully illustrated guide to the monsters that are part of our collective psyche, from the host of the hit podcast Lore, soon to be an online streaming series.

They live in shadows--deep in the forest, late in the night, in the dark recesses of our minds. They're spoken of in stories and superstitions, relics of an unenlightened age, old wives' tales, passed down through generations. Yet no matter how wary and jaded we have become, as individuals or as a society, a part of us remains vulnerable to them: werewolves and wendigos, poltergeists and vampires, angry elves and vengeful spirits.

In this beautifully illustrated volume, the host of the hit podcast Lore serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of these terrifying creatures, exploring not only the legends but what they tell us about ourselves. Aaron Mahnke invites us to the desolate Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the notorious winged, red-eyed Jersey Devil dwells. He delves into harrowing accounts of cannibalism--some officially documented, others the stuff of speculation . . . perhaps. He visits the dimly lit rooms where seances take place, the European villages where gremlins make mischief, even Key West, Florida, home of a haunted doll named Robert.

In a world of "emotional vampires" and "zombie malls," the monsters of folklore have become both a part of our language and a part of our collective psyche. Whether these beasts and bogeymen are real or just a reflection of our primal fears, we know, on some level, that not every mystery has been explained and that the unknown still holds the power to strike fear deep in our hearts and souls. As Aaron Mahnke reminds us, sometimes the truth is even scarier than the lore.

My Review

It seems as though podcasts are popping up all over as of late – and since I haven’t typically been one to jump on the podcast bandwagon, it’s nice to see that many of the creators of those podcasts are … Continue reading

4.5 stars
6 Comments
Book Title:
Silver in the Blood
Book Author:
Jessica Day George
Page Count:
368
Publishing Date:
July 7th, 2015
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Date Read:
August 17th, 2017
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

Synopsis

As debutantes in 1890s New York City, cousins Dacia and Lou knew little about their mysterious Romanian relatives, the Florescus. Now, upon turning seventeen, the girls must journey to Romania--a journey that seems to be both reward and punishment--to meet their cousins and their tyrant of a grandmother and to learn the secrets of their family. Secrets spoken of in whispers. Dangerous secrets known as the Claw, the Wing, and the Smoke.

But as dangerous as those family secrets might be, even more dangerous is the centuries-old bond between the Florescus and the royal Dracula family, and it seems that it's time for Dacia and Lou to give up their life in New York society and take their place among the servants of the Draculas. When the devilish heir, Mihai Dracula, sets his sights on Dacia as part of his evil, power-hungry plan, the girls must accept or fight against this cruel inheritance. Do they have the courage to break the shackles of their upbringing and set the course of their own destiny?

My Review

This book has been on my to read list for ages – probably since I started my book blog back in 2015.  The thing is, I never got around to reading it because I’ve seen so many negative reviews about … Continue reading

1 stars
5 Comments
Book Tour
Book Title:
Knife's Edge
Book Author:
Hope Larson
Book Illustrator:
Rebecca Mock
Book Series:
Four Points, #2
Page Count:
224
Publishing Date:
June 27th, 2017
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Date Read:
June 26th, 2017
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - Thank you!

Synopsis

Twelve-year-old twin adventurers Cleopatra and Alexandra Dodge are reunited with their father and realize that two family heirlooms reveal the location of a treasure that is their birthright. When they set sail with Captain Tarboro on the Almira, they know they’re heading into danger—the ocean is filled with new and old enemies, including their nemesis, the infamous pirate Felix Worley. But like a coral reef that lurks below the surface of the waves, trouble is brewing between the siblings. Alex is determined to become a sailor and is happy with his role aboard the Almira, but Cleo—the only girl on the ship—is tired of washing dishes in the galley. In an effort to find her own purpose, she begins studying sword fighting with Tarboro, but neither Alex nor her father approves. Can the twins remain close as they pursue different goals and dreams, or will their growing differences tear the family apart before the treasure can be found?

In this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Compass South, Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock once again create an outstanding seafaring adventure.

My Review

I read Compass South right before I read this one, and I’m glad that I did.  While I’ve seen it said that this book can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the first book of the two … Continue reading

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Book Title:
Between Two Skies
Book Author:
Jamie O'Sullivan
Page Count:
272
Publishing Date:
April 25th, 2017
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Date Read:
April 29th, 2017
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - Thank you!

Synopsis

Hurricane Katrina sets a teenage girl adrift. But a new life and the promise of love emerges in this rich, highly readable debut.

Bayou Perdu, a tiny fishing town way, way down in Louisiana, is home to sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley. She has her best friends, Kendra and Danielle; her wise, beloved Mamere; and back-to-back titles in the under-sixteen fishing rodeo. But, dearest to her heart, she has the peace that only comes when she takes her skiff out to where there is nothing but sky and air and water and wings. It's a small life, but it is Evangeline's.

And then the storm comes, and everything changes. Amid the chaos and pain and destruction comes Tru a fellow refugee, a budding bluesman, a balm for Evangeline s aching heart. Told in a strong, steady voice, with a keen sense of place and a vivid cast of characters, here is a novel that asks compelling questions about class and politics, exile and belonging, and the pain of being cast out of your home. But above all, this remarkable debut tells a gently woven love story, difficult to put down, impossible to forget.

My Review

Between Two Skies takes us inside the life of a girl who had a happy life before Hurricane Katrina hit, and the aftermath that she is forced to deal with after the storm.  This book is heartbreaking, yet inspiring, at … Continue reading

5 stars
4 Comments
Book Tour
Book Title:
The Warden's Daughter
Book Author:
Jerry Spinelli
Publishing Date:
January 3rd, 2017
Publisher:
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
December 24th, 2016
Source:
eARC from publisher via NetGalley - Thank you!

Synopsis

From Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee, Stargirl) comes the knockout story of a girl who must come to terms with her mother's death from inside the walls of a prison.

Cammie O'Reilly is the warden's daughter, living in an apartment above the entrance to the Hancock County Prison. But she's also living in a prison of grief and anger about the mother who died saving her from harm when she was just a baby. And prison has made her mad. This girl's nickname is Cannonball. In the summer of 1959, as twelve turns to thirteen, everything is in flux. Cammie's best friend is discovering lipstick and American Bandstand. A child killer is caught and brought to her prison. And the only mother figures in her life include a flamboyant shoplifter named Boo Boo and a sullen reformed arsonist of a housekeeper. All will play a role in Cammie's coming-of-age. But one in particular will make a staggering sacrifice to ensure that Cammie breaks free from her past. Master storyteller Jerry Spinelli spins a tale of loss and redemption like no other. The Warden's Daughter shows that kindness and compassion can often be found where we least expect it.

My Review

Stargirl was one of my favorite (if not favorite favorite) book that I’ve read, and I read that one when it first came out in 2000.  I was eleven, and made me fall in love with reading.  Because that book … Continue reading

3 Comments
Book Title:
The Last Cherry Blossom
Book Author:
Kathleen Burkinshaw
Publishing Date:
August 2nd, 2016
Publisher:
Sky Pony Press
Date Read:
August 7th, 2016
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher

Synopsis

Following the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this is a new, very personal story to join Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes.

Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and Japan's fate is not entirely clear, with any battle losses being hidden fom its people. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bomb hits Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.

This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.

My Review

Middle grade fiction has a tendency to be more powerful and honest than young adult or even adult fiction, and the stories you find within the middle grade level can be stories that stay with you throughout your lifetime.  This … Continue reading

5 stars
2 Comments