Recommendations: Historical Fiction

I’ve been enjoying a lot of historical fiction novels lately and I think it’s time that I Recommend some of my favorites. Although, not all of these are set in the same time period, they still hold a common theme, they’re all YA. I’ll probably post a separate one for cozies, since I’ve been reading a ton of them lately as well.

Anyways, lets get on with the recommendations.

Jackaby by William Ritter

I came across this novel by accident. I needed to buy another book to get free shipping and this just happens to be at the right price. I’m so glad that I had a chance to pick it up because I enjoyed this series immensely. I love the main characters, I love the setting and even Jackaby is a character that you eventually grow to love by the end of the first book. Set in the late 1800’s, Jackaby is an extraordinary human, in terms of he can see things that most cannot and so he is in charge of those that gets a little bit too difficult for the regular mortals to handle. Told in a similar fashion as Sherlock Holmes, you really can’t help but be gripped by this series.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

I enjoy YA novels that centers around the Jack the Ripper murders, and Maniscalco’s novel is no different. I may not be as in love with the first book as I am with the rest in the series, but I think it does a marvelous job in being the first. It was able to introduce us to all the characters we grow to love as the series progress and the setting itself is just as amazing. Set in the 1800’s we are taken to different parts of the world, following our young heroine embark on a journey of self identity and young love. Along the way we are treated to some gory mysteries. I still have to finish the last book in the series but I’m hoping it will be a great ending to a great series.

Diviners by Libba Bray

This series took forever to finish, but when the last book came out I had to pick it up. I love everything about this series and even though the ending was not one that wholly enjoyed, I think it was still fitting for the characters. Set in the middle of the Roaring Twenties, Eve and her hand of friends must stop evil from spreading with the help of their powers. To be honest, I really enjoyed the minor characters more than the heroine herself, but like I said overall, it was still a great read. I enjoyed the historical depiction of Bray of the Roaring Twenties, with the speakeasies, the 20’s slang and the jazz movement. Definitely a must read if you’re into the 1920’s era.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

This novel is technically more fiction than historical since it does touch on more of the zombies rampaging through 1900’s America, than the actual American history. I still enjoy the “historical” context of it, in terms for the rights movement that many were fighting for and the overall lives of black people during those times. It’s definitely a great read and I’m currently in the middle of the second novel.

A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood.

An anthologies of stories of women fighting for their rights between the 1700’s to mid 1900’s. I enjoyed almost all the stories in the book and even those that didn’t grip me still told an amazing story of women’s fight for equality. This is a great read, not only for its historical content but also the liberation of women. The title itself is already amazing!

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So that’s it for my recommendations for historical fiction. Let me know down below if you have any recommendations similar to these books!

2021 Mini Review Monday

These past few months I’ve started a couple of new cozy mysteries and I wanted to review some of them. Since I don’t really want to go crazy in any of them, I decided to just compile it here.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been really drawn in with reading books set in the 1920’s/1930’s, which I think is the time frame that I really enjoy, especially with cozy mysteries. Maisie Dobbs is one of those series. Although, this novel does start out slow in the beginning, it does eventually pick up at the end. I’ve already read the second book and I’m still not 100% if I want to continue on with the series. The characters do fascinate me and our protagonist is interesting, it just the slowness of the novel aggravates me from time to time. The good thing about the novel is that it does make you think on whodunnit, which is rare for a cozy. So, let see where the third book takes me and I’ll make my decision then.

Lady Takes the Case by Eliza Casey

This is another representation of cozies that I enjoy. This one is set in the early 1900’s and you really see the decline of aristocracy in the novel. I think the author does a great job in representing royalties taking on jobs that are usually not deemed respectable for high class society, but with our heroine, Lady Cecilia she shows initiative and I can’t wait to continue on with the series. The mystery in this novel is interesting and made me scratch my head all the way at the end, I’m hoping that the rest of the series will be just as good. I’m not really sure where the next one will take us, but I’m excited to pick it up.

The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton

This one is a lot more contemporary that the previous two, but what’s so different about this series is that it’s set in Scotland, which I think is a great change. I’ve been reading cozies set in either America or England and I’m starting to get tired of it, so a change was in order. A lot of people have problems with the characters, but I’m actually enjoying them. If you take it at face value, all the different characters are quite unique and eccentric individual. To be honest, the main character is the least interesting one in the bunch. That being said, I’m enjoying the series and will continue on. I’ve just recently finished the second book and can’t wait to pick up the third. I’m hoping that the mysteries will get more intricate as the series progress, but we’ll see.

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So those are the three cozies that I’ve recently started, I’m excited to continue one with all three of them and I have started a few more, but I’m waiting until I’ve read at least the second one to write a review for them. So we’ll see what those have in store for me.

Spring into Horror 2021 Readathon

I’ve decided to participate in a month long readathon. I found this through a site for readathons and I think it’s an interesting topic. I’m very much into all thing creepy and mysterious all year round so, I think this is perfect for me. Plus, can we just take a moment to look at this picture, pretty creepy! I’ve participated in other readathons that SeasonsReading hosted before and I’ve always enjoyed them.

Anyways, I won’t really go into details as to what the readathon is about, but check out the host’s site for more details! I’ll link it, here. I’ve been technically participating in the readathon since April 1st, but just never got around to posting my intention to join. I’m not really going to focus my attention to horror novels, but rather thrillers and mystery novels. It’s just my thing you know. However, I do still want to read at least one “horror” novel so I’ll have to peruse my bookshelves for that.

Here are the books, I want to read for the readathon:

Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware and Copy Cat by Alex Lake are both thrillers I’ve been meaning to read for a few years now. Maybe this readathon will let me buck up and actually pick it up to read. As for the other two, Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland have zombies in it so horror is pretty much a get go on that genre. The actual anomaly is Recursion by Blake Crouch, it’s technically a Science Fiction novel, but his books always tend to hover around the thriller genre, so for my sake I’m counting it as well. As for the rest of the month, I’m hoping I get a few cozies under my belt so that it can go towards this readathon since those are technically mystery novels.

So that’s it for my TBR, let me know if you’re planning on participating on this lovely readathon!

March Wrap-up and April TBR

For the month of March, I wasn’t really 100% myself, so I wasn’t really able to read as many books as I usually do. Last month, I read a total of 5 novels. I also didn’t really create a TBR for March, so I think I already foresaw that last month would be a difficult month for me. Anyways, lets get on with the books I did manage to read.

I’m actually proud that I got 5 books read in March, considering I didn’t really start reading until half way into the month. I enjoyed most of the books I read and will continue on with the cozies that I just started. I really won’t get into them because I’m going to be posting a separate review for new cozies that I just recently started.

The Tower of Nero is the last book in the Trials of Apollo series and I did write a review for it, here. I hate to say this, but this book is probably my least favorite in the ‘Percy Jackson’ world. I’m not sure if it’s the book itself or it was just me, but I feel that the ending was underwhelming. It’s definitely not my favorite. I also wrote a review for Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious, here, and for me it was a great read. I did try to start this book last year, but just never really got into the story, but I’m glad I decided to pick it up again. That being said, I’m definitely going to continue on with the story.

So that’s it for my March wrap-up. It’s not much, but I’m still glad that I was able to at least read something.

APRIL TBR

For the month of April, I’m going to be focusing on thrillers and mysteries, since I’m going to be participating in the Spring into Horror Readathon, but more on that in another post. However, I do still want to get through a few books before the month is over.

Technically these books are not priority since I do want to focus on the readathon more than these, but I’m just trying to be optimistic and aim high this month (maybe to over compensate for March). Let’s see what this month hold for us, I just want to take it one book at a time.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Rating: Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder. 

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

Review: I’ve read Maureen Johnson’s other work, The Name of the Star, which I liked, not loved, but enjoyed it enough to check out her new series. To be honest, this isn’t really new since it’s been out since 2018, but I just recently found out about this novel and was intrigued by it. A lot of people have raved about it and I really did want to get my hands on it, unfortunately, I ran out of time last year. So for 2021, I wanted to make sure I at least start the series. I also included this book as one of my 5-star prediction and even though it didn’t really live up to my 5 star rating, I still enjoyed it.

As YA mysteries goes, this book was actually well written. I feel that mysteries are always being overshadowed by other genre’s in the YA world, and I really can’t blame writers, because sci-fi and fantasy is where the money lies. However, for those who do venture into the mystery YA world, I feel that it’s a risk that they take because they must have a good balance of detective work and preserving the ‘innocence’ of the teens. When I say innocence, not so much of worldly knowledge, but rather innocence of detective work, it’s pretty hard to be a detective when you run interference with the law. I feel that Maureen Johnson did a job in creating this balance. She was able to create Stevie, our heroine, who is a prodigy in detective work and yet, she didn’t really overstep her boundaries. Yes, there were some risky moments, but the risk that Johnson created is believable. I also really enjoyed the main mystery arc in the novel, it makes the readers want to continue on with the story, especially if we (the readers) do not know the outcome. The mini mystery that ended with the first book was ok, it was still a pretty good mystery, but I feel that it’s being overshadowed by the main mystery. Overall, the mystery of the novel is pretty good, it was interesting and even though there are bits that made the story dull, I feel that it’s still a good read.

Speaking of Stevie, I enjoyed her as a main character. She somewhat reminded me of myself when I was younger, cause I enjoyed reading mystery novels even back then. I wasn’t a prodigy and never went to a special school, but still, I enjoyed detective novels. As for the minor characters, I’m still not sure about them. They really weren’t pertinent to solving the mystery, but maybe in the future books they would be more important to the overall storyline. I didn’t really mind them, but at the same time I don’t think they were that important. I’m really intrigued about David and his family line and I feel that it would play an important role in the main mystery, but we’ll see.

All in all it’s a pretty good read, not a 5 star rating, but still worthy of a 4 star. I enjoyed the main character, the mysteries and even the world that Johnson created. The school itself holds a lot of mysteries and I can’t wait to read more of it as I read the rest of the books.

Stay at Home Book tag

It’s been so long since I did a book tag and I’m really in the mood for one. As usual I decided to peruse Youtube and I came across the Stay at Home Book tag, created by Princess of Paperback. I think it’s a perfect tag right now, especially with everything going on. Anyways, let get on with the tag!

Laying in Bed: Bed you could/have read in a day

I could usually read cozy mystery novels in a day. It’s really depending on how long the book is and how interesting it is for me, but usually 1 day is all I need to start and finish a cozy.

Snacking: Guilty Pleasure

I’ve always said this, but cozies are my guilty pleasure. I could get stuck in a whole series in a month and not pick up any other genre to read. For me, I’m ‘guilty’ of reading cozies because they’re so easy to get lost in and I forget to even read other books in different genres.

Netflix: Series you want to start

I’ve been wanting to start the Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake for a while now and I’ve just never gotten around to picking it up, but this year I’m making it a goal of mine to actually start this series.

Deep Clean: Been on your TBR for ages

Last year I did a deep clean of my TBR and I don’t really think I have a book on my TBR that has been on there for more than two years(?). I guess if I had to choose it would be Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco, since this was released in 2019 and I’ve been wanting to read it since 2019.

Animal Crossing: Book you recently bought because of hype

I haven’t bought a book in a while because of the whole lockdown business, but the book that I did read because of the hype is The Duke and I by Julia Quinn. If you weren’t here for the Bridgerton hype, then you were literally living under a rock. If you haven’t watch it on Netflix, please do!

Productivity: Book you learnt or had an impact on you

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor was a recent read for me and it was very impactful because I haven’t really read anything like it. I enjoyed the sci-fi aspect of the novel, but I enjoyed it more because it was set in a different country than the regular places I read.

Facetime: A book you were gifted

It’s been awhile since I was gifted a book since my family knows I buy books a lot and they never know if I have it or not. So they usually give me a gift card. However, my husband did buy me a Harry Potter limited edition series. So that’s that.

Self-care: What is the one thing you have done recently to look after yourself

I recently changed my skincare routine. I notice as I get older my skin is getting dryer and dryer. So I had to change my skincare routine and hopefully that would change the texture of my skin.

Bonus: Name a book coming out soon

One of my most anticipated release for this year is Daughter of Sparta by Claire M. Andrews. I’m really excited for this book to be released, and shocker, this might actually make me want to go to the bookstore and grab it. (or maybe just online shopping! hahaha…)

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Anyways, so that’s the end of the Stay at Home Book Tag. Hope everyone enjoyed it and if you want to do it TAG, you’re it!

SPRING 2021 TBR

A few years back I started posting TBR for books I want to read during a specific season. Although I was somewhat unsuccessful last year, I still want to continue on for this year. Since Spring just started here Canada, I might as well post my Spring TBR for 2021.

I’ve been want to read this books for a few years now and I think it’s time that I pick them up this year, especially A Court of Mist and Fury.

Three Dark Crown by Kendare Blake

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago—her father.

Leaving London behind to settle the inheritance from her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home, nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, joined by the half-sister who’s almost a stranger to her.

Ailsa can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her—as if her past hungers to consume her. She also can’t ignore how the neighbourhood animals refuse to set one foot within the gates of the garden.

When the first nighttime intruder shows up, Ailsa fears that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything. 

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland

The sequel to Dread Nation is a journey of revenge and salvation across a divided America.

After the fall of Summerland, Jane McKeene hoped her life would get simpler: Get out of town, stay alive, and head west to California to find her mother.

But nothing is easy when you’re a girl trained in putting down the restless dead, and a devastating loss on the road to a protected village called Nicodermus has Jane questioning everything she thought she knew about surviving in 1880’s America.

What’s more, this safe haven is not what it appears – as Jane discovers when she sees familiar faces from Summerland amid this new society. Caught between mysteries and lies, the undead, and her own inner demons, Jane soon finds herself on a dark path of blood and violence that threatens to consume her.

But she won’t be in it alone.

Katherine Deveraux never expected to be allied with Jane McKeene. But after the hell she has endured, she knows friends are hard to come by – and that Jane needs her, too, whether Jane wants to admit it or not.

Watching Jane’s back, however, is more than she bargained for, and when they both reach a breaking point, it’s up to Katherine to keep hope alive – even as she begins to fear that there is no happily-ever-after for girls like her. 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights. 

2021 TBR Challenge #3

Hi all! Sorry I’ve been MIA since the beginning of March. This month has been somewhat traumatizing for me and I didn’t have the energy to post anything. Hopefully now that April is around the corner I’ll be able to post more regularly again.

This is technically late in terms of posting, but I did read the book the beginning of the month so I might as well post a review for it.

The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan

RATING: 3.5/5

WHY? This book was one of my most anticipated release of 2020, but unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to pick it up and read it last year. So for 2021 I made it one of my priorities to read it. This is basically the last book in the Trials of Apollo series, which is a sequel to the other Riordan books. Technically it can be read on its own, but they do discuss other characters from the other series so it’s better if you start from the beginning, which is the Lightning Thief. Also, Riordan is one of my favorite Middle-Grade authors and I’ve read most of his works (I really need to pick up his Red Pyramid Series!)

REVIEW: To be honest this book is not my favorite in the series. I really won’t go into too much details because it is the last book in the series, but it was a bit of a disappointment. I don’t know if it was just me because of the whole ordeal that I went through, and I was reading this book during those times, but the book was very underwhelming. I guess my expectations for it was too high, and usually Riordan’s last book is usually epic. This though was lackluster.

I did enjoy the fact that the ending does give closure to the story of Apollo and the other characters in the novel. I just never thought that it would be so bland. I didn’t know what to expect as endings go, but I was hoping that something different would have happened. I really wanted Riordan to pull a Tolkien, unfortunately, that wasn’t in the books.

Anyways, I know my disappointment is quite evident, and I’m really not sure if I’m going to continue on reading this storyline. I find that all the characters that I loved in the previous books have all grown up and these new ones, I’m not as interested in them. I’m pretty sure there will be another set of story arc, since there was hints of it in this novel, but I’m not 100% sure what it would entail.

All in all, the Trials of Apollo is not my most favorite story arc in the whole Greek/Roman Riordan story, but it’s a good addition to the overall world. I just wasn’t a fan of the last book.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Review: I’ve been wanting to read this book for awhile now, but just never gotten around to it. I actually wanted to read Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone first before I dug into this, but I just never felt the need to read that, unlike this novel. Seriously, when I heard this was a ‘heist’ novel, I was all for it. I’ve always enjoyed a good heist novel and this wasn’t any different. I enjoyed everything about it, and even though it took me awhile to actually get into the story, once I did I couldn’t lay off it.

As characters goes, the group of teens that Kaz assembled to proceed with the heist, were all interesting enough. I know that fans of Bardugo says that the two series are not really linked with each other, and as far as I’m concerned, I feel that Six of Crows can stand on its own. I’m not 100% sure if any of the characters in this novel is present in the other series, but I feel that Bardugo did justice with them. We got to know each character well, their relationships with each others, we get to see character development for each of them. I’m still not sure how I feel about Kaz, he’s very much a “business” minded person to fully enjoy him, but he does get some “likes” from me at the end of the book. Hands down, my favorite will have to be Iniej, which I think is everyone’s favorite character. For someone to go through what the has gone through, I totally applaud her. Even though my heart was stuck in my throat at the end of the novel, I’m going to hope for the best and hope everything goes well.

The one thing I really enjoyed about this novel is the world development. I really wish that there was more background information on the world, but I think if I do end up reading The Shadow and Bone trilogy I will be able to fully enjoy the world. However, that being said, I think Bardugo did a great job in creating this amazing world of the Ketterdam and Ravka. Which I think was only marred by the involvement of guns. I know its just me, but the fantasy genre and guns never really worked for me. That’s really just a personal opinions, and has nothing to do with the book itself.

The plot itself is very high energy and you can’t stop reading as soon as the heist starts. It was action packed, full of mystery and an amazing unravel, which is the most important part of a good heist. It’s all about how the groups seems like they were the ones against the odds, and yet, the leader planned everything all along. It’s like I’m watching the A-Team on paper (mind you, that’s like one of my favorite heist movie!).

So all in all, I really enjoyed my reading experience with this novel and although it’s not a full 5 star rating, it was still a good read. I will definitely pick up the sequel to the book.

February was a great reading month for me. I didn’t read as many books as January, but I did read a lot of great books. Like I said, I want to focus more on quality than quantity.

Anyways, as far as TBR goes, I was able to read the four books that was on my list. Which I think is great. I actually rated these books between 3.5 and 4.5 stars, which is the highest things I rated for this year so far. Unfortunately, still no 5 stars. As a re-cap, here are the four books that I included in my TBR and I had fun reading all four of them.

Besides the four books from my TBR, I was also able to read seven other books, which are all cozies, to no ones surprise!

After reading Remote Control, I wanted to read more of Okorafor’s novels, so I decided to pick up Akata Witch, since I do own the book. However, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book I picked up. I’m most likely going to writ a review for this. I also stated a new cozy mystery series, which is the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear and I enjoyed the first one well enough that I’m going to continue on with the series.

I really enjoyed a lot of the books I read for February, and I’m hoping March will be, if not better, at least just as good.

MARCH TBR

I’m really not sure what I’m in the mood for to read right now. I might read mostly sequels from books that I started already since I do need to finish some series this year. I’m really not sure what I want to read, so I’m keeping this blank.