Tag Archives: Historical

Book Title:
Burn Baby Burn
Book Author:
Meg Medina
Publishing Date:
March 8th, 2016
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Date Read:
March 7th, 2016

Synopsis

While violence runs rampant throughout New York, a teenage girl faces danger within her own home in Meg Medina's riveting coming-of-age novel.

Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous New York summer of 1977, when the city is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam who shoots young women on the streets. Nora’s family life isn’t going so well either: her bullying brother, Hector, is growing more threatening by the day, her mother is helpless and falling behind on the rent, and her father calls only on holidays. All Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. And while there is a cute new guy who started working with her at the deli, is dating even worth the risk when the killer likes picking off couples who stay out too late? Award-winning author Meg Medina transports us to a time when New York seemed balanced on a knife-edge, with tempers and temperatures running high, to share the story of a young woman who discovers that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit — and the hardest to accept.

My Review

Burn Baby Burn is an incredibly powerful novel about a young girl growing up in New York City in 1977.  It deals with A LOT of sensitive issues, including domestic violence, drugs, and shootings that occur throughout the city at … Continue reading

4 stars
4 Comments
Book Title:
Blackhearts
Book Author:
Nicole Castroman
Publishing Date:
February 9th, 2016
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Date Read:
February 5th, 2016

Synopsis

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

My Review

Blackhearts is an original, sweet retelling that didn’t really seem like a retelling at all.  We all know Blackbeard, the fearsome pirate that really ruined a lot of sailors’ days out on the sea.  But Blackhearts doesn’t really go on … Continue reading

4 stars
8 Comments
Book Title:
Anna and the Swallow Man
Book Author:
Gavriel Savit
Publishing Date:
January 26th, 2016
Publisher:
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
February 1st, 2016

Synopsis

A stunning, literary, and wholly original debut novel set in Poland during the Second World War perfect for readers of The Book Thief.

Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone.

And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see.

The Swallow Man is not Anna’s father—she knows that very well—but she also knows that, like her father, he’s in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness.

Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man.

Destined to become a classic, Gavriel Savit’s stunning debut reveals life’s hardest lessons while celebrating its miraculous possibilities.

My Review

I tend to really enjoy historical YA novels, so I was really looking forward to Anna and the Swallow Man.  It sounded like it had such an adventurous premise and I was so excited to get lost in Anna’s world, … Continue reading

3 stars
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2 Comments
Book Title:
The Conspiracy of Us
Book Author:
Maggie Hall
Book Series:
The Conspiracy of Us, #1
Publishing Date:
January 13th, 2015
Publisher:
Speak (Penguin)
Date Read:
January 26th, 2016

Synopsis

A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance--perfect for fans of Kiera Cass and Ally Carter

Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family--but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with.

My Review

I might be a little behind here, but wow is this book amazing.  I know it came out over a year ago now, and I’ve had it on my to be read list since it came out, and I finally … Continue reading

4.5 stars
2 Comments
Book Title:
The Violinist of Venice - A Story of Vivaldi
Book Author:
Alyssa Palombo
Publishing Date:
December 15th, 2015
Publisher:
St. Martin's Griffin
Date Read:
December 12th, 2015

Synopsis

Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d'Amato adores music-except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family's palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair.

Adriana's father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice's patrician class-and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could love, only complicates matters-but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana's marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice-and of Adriana's own choices-will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined.

Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana's life, Alyssa Palombo's The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends.

My Review

If ever a beautiful, alluring historical novel has been written, The Violinist of Venice, debut novel from author Alyssa Palombo, is definitely it.  Absolutely captivating, this stunning novel will capture your heart with the beautiful descriptions of Venice, the characters … Continue reading

5 stars
1 Comment
Book Title:
The Yearbook
Book Author:
Carol Masicola
Publishing Date:
November 15th, 2015
Publisher:
Merit Press

Synopsis

Misfit teen Lola Lundy has every right to her anger and her misery. She's failing in school, living in a group home, and social workers keep watching her like hawks, waiting for her to show signs of the horrible mental illness that cost Lola's mother her life. Then, one night, she falls asleep in a storage room in her high school library, where she's seen an old yearbook--from the days when the place was an upscale academy for young scholars instead of a dump. When Lola wakes, it's to a scene that is nothing short of impossible. Lola quickly determines that she's gone back to the past--eighty years in the past, to be exact. The Fall Frolic dance is going full blast in the gym, where Lola meets the brainy and provocative Peter Hemmings, class of '24. His face is familiar, because she's seen his senior portrait in the yearbook. By night's end, Lola thinks she sees hope for her disastrous present: She'll make a new future for herself in the past. But is it real? Or has the major mental illness in Lola's family background finally claimed her? Has she slipped through a crack in time, or into a romantic hallucination she created in her own mind, wishing on the ragged pages of a yearbook from a more graceful time long ago?

My Review

Imagine cleaning out a small room in the library in your school…then falling asleep looking through an old yearbook you found…and waking up in a completely different year.  You wander out of the library to find a school dance going … Continue reading

4 stars
2 Comments
Book Title:
Until We Meet Again
Book Author:
Renee Collins
Publishing Date:
November 3rd, 2015
Publisher:
Sourcebooks Fire
Date Read:
October 27th, 2015

Synopsis

They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time.

Cassandra craves drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and stepfather in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on their private beach claiming it's his own—and that the year is 1925—she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making.

As she searches for answers in the present, Cassandra discovers a truth that puts their growing love—and Lawrence's life—into jeopardy. Desperate to save him, Cassandra must find a way to change history…or risk losing Lawrence forever.

My Review

This book was absolutely beautiful.  It was romantic, it was thoughtful, and it was completely original.  The writing flowed so well, and the words just wrapped you in the story and created a sweet time-travel romance that will make your … Continue reading

5 stars
2 Comments
Book Title:
Wolf by Wolf
Book Author:
Ryan Graudin
Book Series:
Wolf by Wolf, #1
Publishing Date:
October 20th, 2015
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
October 11th, 2015

Synopsis

Code Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

My Review

Five stars simply aren’t enough for this book.   Ryan Graudin has spun a creative tale about heartbreak, revenge, and what it means to find yourself, even if you feel you’ve been lost for a long time. Yael has had … Continue reading

5 stars
2 Comments
Book Title:
Daughters Unto Devils
Book Author:
Amy Lukavics
Publishing Date:
September 29th, 2015
Publisher:
Harlequin Teen
Date Read:
October 15th, 2015

Synopsis

When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner's family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn't right on the prairie. She's heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can't be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.

My Review

On the cover of this book, there is a quote from the lovely author, Cat Winters, which states: “Imagine Stephen King writing Little House on the Prairie.”  This one statement can sum up this entire book.  It’s a dark, disturbing … Continue reading

4 stars
5 Comments
Book Title:
Sweet Madness
Book Author:
Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie
Publishing Date:
September 15th, 2015
Publisher:
Merit Press
Date Read:
October 3rd, 2015

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Bridget Sullivan is alone in Fall River, a city that sees Irish immigrants as nothing more than a drunken drain on society. To make matters worse, she's taken employment with the city’s most peculiar and gossip-laden family—the Bordens. But Bridget can’t afford to be picky—the pay surpasses any other job Bridget could ever secure and she desperately needs the money to buy her little sister, Cara, passage to the states. It doesn’t hurt that the job location is also close to her beau, Liam. As she enters the disturbing inner workings of the Borden household, Bridget clings to these advantages.

However, what seemed like a straightforward situation soon turns into one that is untenable. Of course Bridget has heard the gossip around town about the Bordens, but what she encounters is far more unsettling. The erratic, paranoid behavior of Mr. Borden, the fearful silence of his wife, and worse still…the nightly whisperings Bridget hears that seem to come from the walls themselves.

The unexpected bright spot of the position is that Lizzie Borden is so friendly. At first, Bridget is surprised at how Lizzie seems to look out for her, how she takes a strong interest in Bridget’s life. Over time, a friendship grows between them. But when Mr. Borden’s behavior goes from paranoid to cruel, and the eerie occurrences in the house seem to be building momentum, Bridget makes the tough decision that she must leave the house—even if it means leaving behind Lizzie, her closest friend, alone with the madness. Something she swore she would not do.

But when Bridget makes a horrifying discovery in the home, all that she thought she knew about the Bordens is called into question…including if Lizzie is dangerous. And the choice she must make about Lizzie’s character could mean Bridget’s life or death.

Sweet Madnessis a retelling of the infamous Borden murders from the point of view of Lizzie’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan.

My Review

Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one.   We all know this rhyme, right?  We’ve all heard of Lizzie Borden, but no one really … Continue reading

5 stars
4 Comments