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Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Wishlist Wednesday – 27 January 2016

Wishlist WednesdayWishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper where we post about one book that has been hanging out on our wish list (either for a long time, or not so long)

My pick for this weeks Wishlist Wednesday is a book that is actually due out in less than a week and that I already have reserved at the library for when their copies come in (here’s hoping, I’ll be one of the first to get to read it).

salt to the sea
Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Release Date: Feb 2, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, World War 2 Fiction

Description:
In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Why am I excited to read it?
Ruta Sepetys’ debut book a few years back (2011), Between Shades of Grey, told the story of a teenager displaced and sent to Siberia when Russia annexed the Baltic states in 1941. It was a unique story to me as I read it, because not only did it touch on an era in history that isn’t routinely taught in high school (or college to my knowledge), but that it was also based in part on experiences by her family members. Ms Sepetys has the ability to write historical fiction in a way that just sucks you in and if her newest is like Between Shades of Grey, I might have to plan on a sleepless night, because I couldn’t put it down…

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2016 in Wishlist Wednesday

 

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TBR Tuesday – 26 January 2016

TBR TuesdayWelcome back to the first official TBR Tuesday of 2016 (yes, I realize its nearly the end of January, work has been keeping me REALLY busy). I’m making it my goal this year to read at least 4 books a month off my archive pile (for me, this is any book that has been purchased at least 12 months prior to the date of the post). I hope you join me in tackling Mt TBR!

The Rest Falls Away
Author: Colleen Gleason
Series: #1 in the Gardella Vampire Hunters series

Purchase Date: May 28, 2010
Date Read: December 28, 2015
Time on Mt TBR: 2040 days

Review:
So there is kind of a funny story attached to my reading of this book. I bought this back in 2010 and promptly lost it in my archives (and never actually logged it as being owned on my Goodreads shelves – which is one of my major problems). Anyways, as I was browsing on Edelweiss one night, I came across the first 3 books in this series (including this one) all available on auto-approval (they were being re-released), so I grabbed them because the premise sounded intriguing. When I went to download the first book in the series to my kindle, I got several options in my archives – which made me stop for a second and scratch my head, thinking WTF…and thus, I realized my mistake. So while I am posting a short and sweet review for TBR Tuesday here – i’ll likely have a longer ARC version of a review to go live later on.

Keeping with the theme of short and sweet – I really liked how this series was developed – it was much more in the realm of urban fantasy than paranormal romance, so don’t be expecting a happy ending at the end of the first book (don’t say I didn’t warn you). It is definately a developing story arc. I loved how Victoria wasn’t a push-over and while she def. tried to act like a proper young maid in this book, you could see the inner conflict of her character, between how she had been raised, and what she was destined to become. I’ve already read the second book in the series, and look forward to continuing it.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in TBR Tuesday

 

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Review – The Edge of Lost – Kristina McMorris

the edge of lostThe Edge of Lost
Author: Kristina McMorris
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy provided by Author

Description:
On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive.

Review:
There are some authors when a new book comes out that you drop everything and read, Kristina McMorris is one of those authors and added to that, its been a LONG two years since her last book was released. So when the Edge of Lost popped as a author donated book in one of my Goodreads groups, there was almost virtual bloodshed over who got to read it first (unfortunately, I lost out and had to wait not so impatiently). So when it finally showed up in the mail, I gazed in adoration at it and then couldn’t convince myself to pick it up and actually read it (yeah, you read that right). I probably have it in my hot little hands for close to 2 weeks before I read it – I think it was trepidation of knowing once I finish it, then there would be a long wait for her next book and I just couldn’t do it…but anyways, earlier this week, I found myself in a situation where I had time to just sit and read (while waiting for my cell phone to charge) and damn, if I didn’t devour it (i mean, I read nearly the whole entire thing in about 2 hours).

As with her previous books, Kristina draws you into the time period for the book, this time the 1920’s and 1930’s which is a bit of a departure from her previous World War 2 focused books. In the beginning, we met Shanley Keagan, a young child in Ireland. As I was reading these chapters, I felt like I was reading (in part) a fictionalized version of Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) – the similar descriptions of life in Ireland just resonated through me. I’ll admit this isn’t an area of history that I’m familiar with, but after finishing the Edge of Lost, I want to read some more about it.

As the story progresses, we get to experience the trials of being an immigrant through the eyes of an Irish family in New York, the daily struggle to survive and to make something of themselves in the Land of Opportunity. But for me, the best part of The Edge of Lost was when Kristina transitioned to telling the story of Tommy Capello, a prisoner on the rock (also known as Alcatraz). Alcatraz is a place that even now, 80 years after the setting of this book that still brings shivers to peoples spines. Many of us probably grew up hearing stories about Alcatraz and the prisoners that were houses there and how it was believed to be inescapable (but is it really?). Its one of those places that is on my bucket list to visit (I was bummed when I was just in San Francisco and didn’t get a chance to go out there).

The Edge of Lost kept me on the edge of my car seat (as I sat there reading) and I was kind of unhappy when I had to go back to work and couldn’t finish reading it (that’s the sign of a good book right?). 4.5 stars for the Edge of Lost and now begins the waiting game for her next book.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Audacity – Melanie Crowder

22521938Audacity
Author: Melanie Crowder
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000.
Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world.

Review:
One of my favorite things to do (if I have the time) at the library is to just browse the new releases/new purchases shelf and see if there is anything that catches my eye. While I was looking at the young adult shelf a couple of weeks ago, there was something about Audacity that made me pick it up. I can’t explain exactly what it was, but the cover caught my eye, as did the brief description on the book flap – so I said, what the heck and added it to my stack of books. I will say that I didn’t look close enough to realize it was a novel told in verse until I got home (not that that’s bad, it just took me by surprise) – but since I have read/enjoyed books told in that format before, I figured I would enjoy it and I wasn’t wrong.

Audacity tells the story of Clara Lemlich, a young Russian immigrant who became involved in the rise of labor unions in the early 1900’s. I had never heard of her until this book, but now I want to read more about her. I knew a little bit about the establishment of the unions in NYC during that time period, and a bit more about the Triangle Fire which occurred during that time period – but it’s not one that i’ve really studied (and honestly, don’t really remember it being covered in any of the US history courses I took in college). I thought this went well with my idea to read books about different women in history and how they contributed (as a follow-up to listening to The Invention of Wings, about the Grimke sisters). Clara Lemlich lived up to this quote that I love, “well-behaved women rarely make history” – even from a young age she wasn’t destined to be the meek mannered female that she was expected to be – she pushed all the boundaries that were available to her – wanting to learn more, do more and be more – not just being settled with her lot in life.

I found that the novel told in verse approach was something unique to historical fiction – i honestly don’t know how popular it is, I know its the first time i’ve come across it in this genre (my other experiences with it have been for contemporary/realistic fiction writings). I kind of want to see if I can find more like it because it was really well done. The pages and segments of the book flowed well between the different events that occurred in Clara’s life, including not only her union work, but also events in her life prior to that. I’m intrigued to not only read more by this author, but also more about the time period in history.

This is a book that I would recommend to adults and teens alike, its written in a way that teens would find it enjoyable, as well as adults and for adults, it may cover a slice of history that you aren’t familiar with. Overall, I gave Audacity 4 stars and intrigued to read more by the author in the future.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Book Review, Review

 

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Wishlist Wednesday – 29 July 15

Wishlist WednesdayWishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper where we post about one book that has been hanging out on our wish list (either for a long time, or not so long)

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes books I get excited about are random advertisements that I find and this weeks Wishlist Wednesday book was next exception. It popped up as an banner advertisement on Goodreads while I was browsing last week and there was something about it that just caught my eye. I’m a sucker for World War 2 fiction (I always used to make the comment if I did graduate work in history rather than psychology, it would probably be WW2 based) as well as stories based on families. So when I saw this book advertised, I added it (quite happily) to my not-yet-released shelf on Goodreads to track. It wasn’t until I started to prep for this post and did some deeper digging that i got even more excited to read it. The author (Marius Gabriel) actually wrote a bunch a romances using a female pseudonym (Madeleine Ker) in the 1980’s. I always find it interesting to read books by these male authors who wanted to write something unexpected and so wrote in a genre that is very female dominated. I don’t know if I ever read any of his books that were written as Madeleine Ker, but I’m intrigued to check them out.

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Description:
As the devastating years of the Second World War march ever closer, the beautiful Redcliffe sisters must face their own struggles and navigate the perils of growing up—and growing apart.

Eldest sister Isobel—passionate, domineering, misguided—is infatuated with Fascism. But can she continue to justify her dangerous political beliefs when faced with the shocking realities of Nazi Germany?

Chiara, the bright and happy golden child, is more interested in the joyful whirl of the season than matters of faith or ideology. But even her breezy innocence cannot survive the harsh lessons of heartbreak and war.

Insecure and introverted Felicity, youngest of the three, is about to take her vows and enter the convent, against her sisters’ wishes. A chance meeting with an American soldier threatens the very foundations of her decision.

Each sister must follow her own path and, as they do so, their differences threaten to take them beyond the realms of forgiveness.

Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye will be re-released on August 4 from Lake Union publishing (was previously published as Weep No More)

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Wishlist Wednesday

 

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Thursday Quotables – The Invention of Wings

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Thursday Quotables is a weekly feature hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies. It is a weekly feature where readers highlight a quote or quotes from their current weeks reading. Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written.

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I just finished listening to the audiobook of An Invention of Wings (Sue Monk Kidd) on my commute this morning, so Thursday Quotables seemed like a perfect time to reflect on a few of the quotes that really caught my eye (or is it ears?).

The first one that really struck me, actually came from the authors note at the end of the book, where she was discussing the development of the book, why she took the different liberties that she did with various parts of history etc.

“History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.” – Professor Julius Lester

I think this quote caught my ear because it not only describes various parts of the book, but also fits well into the current climate in the US with the debate going on over the Confederate flag.

“To remain silent in the face of evil is itself a form of evil.”

I thought this quote would go well hand-in-hand with the one about all it takes for evil to succeed in that good men (or women) do nothing. Sarah Grimke could have been content to just let the status quo be when it came to slavery, but she knew in her heart (even from the age of 11) that it was wrong and it became her crusade to abolish it, in fact, this quote from early on in the book shows her abolitionist thoughts even then – “At the age of eleven, I owned a slave I couldn’t free.” I’d actually never heard of the Grimke sisters prior to listening to Invention of Wings but am intrigued and want to read more about them.

The last quote that really caught my interest was from Angelina Grimke, who became known as a foremost female orator in the mid-1800’s. This quote occurred when the Grimke sisters were accused of muddling the cause of abolish with the cause of women’s right’s and that they needed to cease pushing for women’s equality for the time.

“the time to assert one’s right is when it’s denied!”

I’m sure there were many more quotes in the book that I would have loved to have written down, but its really hard while listening to do that.

What about you – any quotes from your reading this week that you want to share?

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Thursday Quotables

 

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Waiting on Wednesday – 24 June

Wishlist WednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper where we post about one book that has been hanging out on our wish list (either for a long time, or not so long)

This is the first time that I have participated in Waiting for Wednesday, but I have a huge can’t wait for this book to be released list. In fact, I have an exclusive shelf on Goodreads dedicated solely to books that I need to stalk for release dates ;) This week, the book I can’t wait to be released is actually a fairly new addition to my shelf, but I never imaged that the author would write another book about the main character, following the first one. So when I stumbled across it, I was like dancing with joy. The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate takes the reader back to the word of Calpurnia (Callie Vee) Tate, a young girl at the turn of the 20th century. The first book (The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate) was a breath of fresh air when I listened to it a few years ago and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to in this new adventure. As a bonus, the author did a great job of discussing evolution in the previous book (through the use of discovery of new plants) and I’m intrigued to see what she brings into this one.

You can read my review of the first book HERE

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate is going to be released on July 7th and I know, already that I need to check and see if my library has it on pre-order (or if not, see if I can sweet talk the librarian into getting a copy).

calpurnia tate

Goodreads Description:
Callie Vee, Travis, Granddaddy, and the whole Tate clan are back in this charming follow-up to Newbery Honor–winner The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.

Callie’s younger brother Travis keeps bringing home strays. And Callie has her hands full keeping the animals—Travis included—away from her mother’s critical eye.

When a storm blows change into town in the form of a visiting veterinarian, Callie discovers a life and a vocation she desperately wants. But with societal expectations as they are, she will need all her wits and courage to realize her dreams.

Whether it’s wrangling a rogue armadillo or stray dog, a guileless younger brother or standoffish cousin, the trials and tribulations of Callie Vee will have readers cheering for this most endearing heroine.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Wishlist Wednesday

 

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