What I’ve Been Reading Lately: Adult Fiction Edition

book recommendations and books to read

 

Hello hello! Time to share what I’ve been reading lately and what I thought about it! I have been on a reading roll lately in between getting ready for the baby and being semi-social (honestly I’ve been taking my social life a lot more easy I get tired so easily now in third trimester….so more curling up on the couch with a book for me than normal). So let’s talk about some of the adult fiction  I’ve been reading lately (which I feel like I’ve been picking up a bunch of books that really work for me) and then sometime next week I will share some of the YA I’ve been reading.

[Keep Reading]

8 Recently (Or Soon-To-Be) Released Historical Fiction Books I’ve Added To My TBR

New historical fiction must reads 2017

 

I’ve been a little out of the loop lately when it comes to what adult fiction books are coming out so recently when I had some free time I started perusing through Goodreads and publishers catalogs to get a sense of what was coming out and what I might want to add to my TBR. I always like to feel on top of things but things have been busy and ever-changing so it’s kind of fallen on the bottom of my TBR list. It was really relaxing to put on some music and discover some titles that piqued my interest. So today I figured I’d share with you 5 recently (or soon to be) released historical fiction novels I discovered. I loooove historical fiction so I’m hoping to snag some of these soon because I’ve definitely been in the mood for historical fiction lately.

[Keep Reading]

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

book recommendations and books to read

 

I currently have 13 books that I’ve read and haven’t talked about yet on the blog. I hesitate to say I’m “13 books behind for review” because it creates unnecessary pressure on me but alas. I haven’t been doing a good job about blogging plus I’m still trying to decide if I just want to do batches of talking about what I’m reading or take the time to do longer book talks. I feel like people don’t really read reviews/book talks anymore and I want to talk about books in a way that lets me get out all my ~book feels~ and a way that is helpful for you guys in finding book recs or someone to commiserate over a book with.

Anywhoooo, here’s some of what I’ve been reading lately! Let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading also!

[Keep Reading]

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

I have a feeling this summer is going to be a lot of me doing shorter book talks especially since, as I talked about here, I’m going to maybe post a little less during the summer.

 

Outrun the Moon stacey lee

Outrun The Moon by Stacey Lee

I received this for review consideration but this in no way affected my opinions.

 

About In A Sentence or Two: Mercy, a young determined young Chinese girl, refuses to let the fact that she’s Chinese and a girl get in the way of her dreams. She cunningly bribes her way into an exclusive all-girls school and endures the push back from those who don’t want her there and keeping her story under wraps….until it all changes in an instant when a historic earthquake hits the city.

Thoughts: I loooove historical fiction and, while I loved Under a Painted Sky, this one blew me out of the water and stirred me up emotionally — and by that I mean there were lots of tissues next to me upon finishing. I loved the setting of San Fransisco at the turn of the century during this historic earthquake. I LOVED Mercy and how determined, strong and resilient she was and loved watching her go after what she wants — regardless of the roadblocks set up because she’s Chinese AND a woman. Her resilience in the face of tragedy was inspiring. I thought Stacey Lee tackled racism/prejudice in such a nuanced way in this book and I loved seeing it contrasted in the before and in the after — especially to see these glimmer of hopes that barriers could come down when everyone is mourning this tragedy together as a city. I thought the way she wove it through the novel was so perfect. The secondary characters were incredible, truly. If you like historical fiction, this is a must read for 2016.

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Book Talk: Salt To The Sea by Ruta SepetysSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Published by Philomel Books on February 2, 2016
Genres: YA Historical Fiction
Also by this author: Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Joana, Florian and Emilia meet as they are making a dangerous trek towards freedom in East Prussia towards the end of the war when the Russians invaded and overtook. They have the common goals of freedom and survival but come from different countries and have different secrets they are carrying on this road to their future. Their future is in the form of a ship, one of many taking refugees to safety, called the Wilhelm Gustloff — a vessel that brings them hope of survival after their harrowing journey until they find themselves on it when it is hit by a torpedo and fighting to survive once again.

a2Screenshot at Jan 31 17-11-42

a4Oh man had I been waiting for this one! I loved both of her previous books — Between Shades of Grey and Out of the Easy. She is a tremendous writer and seriously writes some of the best historical fiction out there. It’s so easy to get lost in her books and I always find myself recommending her books the most when people want historical fiction or want to give it a try — with the caveat that Between Shades of Grey will destroy you (Out of the Easy made me emotional but in a different way).

Anyways, Salt to the Sea. INCREDIBLE. I love it when the historical fiction I read makes me want to crack open a textbook to learn more about the time or the events that are related to the novel. She gives you just enough with the historical setting and the details of the event to transport you there but still want to know more about it.

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Book Talk: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnisA Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegan on October 6, 2015
Genres: YA Historical Fiction, YA Mystery
Also by this author: Not A Drop To Drink, The Female of the Species
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

With a pregnant belly and family secrets buried in the depths of her mind, Grace Mae finds herself in an insane asylum in the late 1800’s. She keeps silent but her sharp mind is always alert. When she has a violent outburst she finds herself locked away in the darkest depths of the asylum next to a man who becomes her ally, as he can tell she’s a great mind, and helps her escape with a doctor who is dabbling in criminal psychology. They flee to an asylum in Ohio where they embark on their work and Grace finds friendship and strength in this new home of hers.

a2PERFECT FIRST HALLOWEEN-ESQE READ! Also, yesssss to loving another Mindy McGinnis book!!

a4I loved Mindy McGinnis’s Not A Drop To Drink so I was SO here for this book about something so completely different than that one…and I have to say I’m just so ready to read ANYTHING Mindy writes after experiencing both of these stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and could not put it down. It was a PERFECT October/Halloween read for those who don’t want scary but like a little mystery and an atmospheric setting that is equal parts dark/brutal (the mystery, Grace’s family secret, the conditions at the insane asylum) as it is heart-warming (Grace’s friends).

Specifically what I enjoyed:

  • Blend of historical fiction and mystery: I love historical fiction so I was definitely excited for this setting in the late 1800’s in Boston and small town Ohio. I hadn’t really read the blurb because I knew Mindy McGinnis + insane asylums + historical fiction was all I needed to know so I was pleasantly surprised by the thread of mystery in this one. Thornhollow reminds me of a quirky Sherlock-esque kind of character and I was so interested in their search for the killer and their delving into how the murderous mind works. I don’t want to say much but OH MAN for how the mystery ended up…not only who did it but how it all works out. GAH.
  • Insane asylum setting: Wow did Mindy McGinnis do a phenomenal job with the setting. I could picture these asylums — the cold, dark cells and the sounds of the patients. It was chilling. I just am so thankful to not have been alive in a time where it was so easy to throw women in these places for any reason that a man could say and it is their word vs the woman’s. We see two different asylums, the one from before she escapes and the one she and Thornhollow head to,  and they were pretty different from each other and I’m so glad that the bulk was spent in the more ethical asylum because the Boston asylum and their practices were just awful and I couldn’t handle Grace being there any longer.

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Book Talk: Vengeance Road by Erin BowmanVengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Published by HMH Books For Young Readers on September 1, 2015
Genres: YA Historical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

 

A1

When Kate’s father is murdered by a notorious gang, she finds out that it was all because he had a map leading to a hidden gold mine and perhaps there were things her father kept from her. She sets out on a dangerous trek, disguised as a boy, across unforgiving terrain and elements to follow the gang and get revenge for her father’s murder. Along the way she hits danger head on, plus learns the greed that gold can breed, but also meets some people who help her along her quest.

a2I WANT TO WATCH SOME WESTERNS WITH MY GRANDPA LIKE I USED TO WHEN I WAS LITTLE.

a4I have been loving the branching out that historical YA has been doing lately — I’m so here for all the Wild West and Gold Rush novels! Vengeance Road was all the adventure I had hoped it would be but I wish I would have felt more for the characters.

What I liked:

The setting — Wild West, y’all: Erin Bowman really knew how to give this gritty feel of life during this time. I could imagine them riding their horses through the plains and along the river. I could see the rocky terrain through the mountains. The small town main streets from the Western movies.  The effects of the gold rush. The saloons. The lawlessness that abounded. The danger of life in this time. I love being plopped in this time period even though I’d never want to live it. Also, I really kind of loved that you got that rough vernacular with how the characters spoke. It took a little bit to get used to but it added to that Wild West scene in my head.

The action & adventure: I *LOVE* a good adventure novel. I love fantasy obviously but sometimes I just want an adventure novel that IS set in this world. Kate’s quest definitely fit the bill there. This was definitely a page-turner as Kate sets out on this mission for revenge in a blaze of fury. There are shoot-outs, perilous escapes, dangerous gangs and also shocking moments that I didn’t expect. Lots of hold-your-breath moments! I was so happy to find such an action-packed adventure that surges forward into more and more dangerous situations until the OMG explosive conclusion to Kate’s quest for revenge.

The actual high stakes: Sometimes I read books that I think will have high stakes because of the nature of the book and I feel like they don’t really live up to them…this was not one of those. I could FEEL the high stakes of this book. Kate is propelled forward with intensity to exact revenge on this awful gang members who killed her father and you can FEEL how reckless she will be to make sure that happens….no matter if she dies or not. She was going out guns a-blazing and she didn’t really care what the outcome was as long as she avenged her father’s death. When the characters were in danger, I believed it. The ruthlessness I expected? Totally there. Erin Bowman created a world of grit and danger and it lived up to what it was set up to be.

[Keep Reading]

It’s History, Baby!

I just recently read 2 historical YAs in a row so I figured I’d talk about them together! Now, before I blogged, I read A LOT of historical fiction. It was mostly adult historical fiction then. Since getting really into YA I haven’t read that much historical fiction. It’s there but until the last year or two I feel like there weren’t THAT many new releases in that genre in YA so I’m excited that there seem to be more on my radar recently! If you like historical fiction, check out some of my favorites! I wrote that a year ago so in that time I’d add A Mad Wicked Folly to that list as well as Brazen!

 

So what two time periods in history did I time travel to recently??

 

Munich, Germany in the 1930’s as Hitler is rising to power & on the Oregon Trail in 1849!

So let’s talk Oregon Trail first because UM THAT WAS MY JAM BACK IN THE 90’s. That game, man. I always died from dysentery and what a bitch it was to shoot like 2000 pounds of bison and only be able to carry a 1000 back to the wagon. AND WHEN IT SPOILED?!? UHHHH. And anyone else name the people in your wagon after people you didn’t like so you were like WELP SORRY YOU DIED FROM CHOLERA AIN’T THAT A BITCH.

Under A Painted Sky by Stacey lee reviewUnder A Painted Sky
Published: March 17, 2015

So I really liked Under the Painted Sky! Firstly, it was a great book about friendship between two girls who are on the run together and who are definitely outsiders in Missouri in 1849 — one is a Chinese immigrant and the other is a black slave. I love how their friendship starts as companions out of necessity to flee towards California but it grows along the way and they really feel like sisters. Also, I loved the friendship that forms with the group of boys they meet on the trail. Secondly, GENDER BENDING. So, it’s already going to be hard for them trekking on the Oregon trail as Chinese and African American BUT they are women and they are on the run. SO THEY PRETEND TO BE DUDES AND HAVE TO KEEP THAT UP AROUND THE GROUP OF GUYS THEY JOURNEY WITH (who she even maybe sorta feels romantical feelings about). I loved it.I mean, the logistics of having to pee but also not blow your cover??

I think the only thing that fell sort of short for me (it was a matter of expectations I think) is that I just imagined the sort of harsh conditions of the Oregon Trail that I always learned about (I literally almost also typed in “experienced as I played Oregon Trail hahha maybe that was just my bad gaming). I mean, they had some bumps in the road along the way for sure but it never FELT super dangerous or exhausting or hard to me in the way I thought it was aside from one part closer to the end. I’ve read books where I FELT the elevated danger but for some reason I didn’t have that tense feeling while reading. Still REALLY good and wonderful. Loved the setting and the plot — definitely haven’t seen it done before in YA! And I definitely fell in love with the characters. AND THAT COVER IS EVEN MORE GORGEOUS IN PERSON.

RATING

RATING-reallyliked

Next up was:

Prisoner of Night & FogPrisoner of Night & Fog by Anne Blankman
Published: April 2014

I have read A LOT of books set in Nazi Germany and the war and dealing with the Holocaust. Where this one was different is that 1) it was set AS Hitler was gaining more popularity and power, not when he was in power and 2) it’s POV is from a young girl whose family (and her own beliefs) are Nazi through and through aka Adolf Hitler is a family friend (until she starts questioning things). Normally the books I pick up are from the POV of the people being persecuted or people who are helping them (aka The Book Thief the family is German but they don’t believe the Nazi agenda).

I love watching the main character question everything she’s ever been told/believed as she’s faced with some truth that changes her whole life and she gets close with Daniel who is Jewish…who she’s been told to hate and fear. It was SO interesting to see Hitler as a person — he’s called Uncle Dolf and she’s super fond of him. There was still no good feelings towards him from me but it was an interesting thought how he might have looked to family and friends. This book got REALLY intense and I could NOT put it down. As she started looking into things that went against EVERYTHING she and her family stood for, the stakes got higher. Loved her and thought she was so brave — for how she handled it but also I think it takes a courageous person to stand up to everything you believed even when it means you’ll probably lose everything you had before. Can’t wait to read the conclusion (it’s a duology I’ve been told).

RATING

RATING-reallyliked

*Standard disclaimer: I did get both of these for review but PINKIE SWEAR/GIRL SCOUT HONOR…these opinions are mine whether they sent it or I hauled my butt to the library/doled out cash money to get it.*

So let’s talk…have you read either of these? What historical settings are your favorite to read? Have any recs for me??

Mini Review Time: 2014 Backlog

So, I purposely took a lot of time off from normal blog things in December (reviews, discussions, etc.) and did lots of end of year lists and fun giveaways to give myself some rest. But I also did a lot of actually RESTING and doing NO blogging stuff. Which means I got a lot of reading in. I’ve created quite a backlog for myself so I’m going to just highlight some things I read recently but am not going to have a whole dedicated post about.

 

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

 

Whistling Past The Graveyard

This one was an adult historical fiction novel that takes place in the South in the 60’s. The main character is a nine year old girl named Starla who lives with her strict grandma (her dad works on an oil rig and isn’t home) and she decides to run away to Nashville to find her mom who she hasn’t seen since she was 3 when her mom left to become a famous singer. Early in her journey she gets a ride from Eula, a black lady who has a white baby with her, and the two become unlikely companions on the road. I really enjoyed this one — it was both a reminder of the harsh realities of segregation and the fight for equality but also incredibly heartwarming. Their adventure held my attention the whole time and my heart was just bursting with love by the end as family begins to take on a whole new meaning for Starla.

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

AHHH the second book in Marissa Meyer’s series was EXCELLENT. We still get to follow Cinder but we are introduced to some amazing new characters — namely Scarlet but also Wolf and Thorne!! I was so excited to have Cinder’s perspective still but getting to know these other characters and watch their stories intersect with Cinder’s was something that just kept the pages turning for me! It was a great sequel that set up well for the rest of the series but still stood as an important book and helped develop some new, great characters. Lots of action and things revealed and I finished the book with racing heart from what went on and knowing what is to come!!

Rating

RATING-loved-it

 

 

All Of You by Christina Lee

All of You by Christina Lee

I haven’t read a TON of new adult romance (okay well been able to make THROUGH a lot of it — favorites are Boomerang & All Lined Up) but this one was enjoyable enough that I devoured it in one day. I was in need of a light-ish, quick romance and this delivered — and it especially delivered a new guy to swoon over for sure! Avery is into just hooking up and no commitments — a lot thanks to her mom’s mistakes that have affected her and her own desire to not turn out like her mom and rely on men and lose control of her own life. Then she meets her new upstairs neighbor — a hot tattoo artist and a virgin who wants his first time to be with someone he loves — a lot to do with his own family situation.

Their chemistry is undeniable and I kept flipping the pages to see how their very different ideas about sex and relationships would be at play considering the strong feelings they developed for each other. It was sexy and just what I needed though sometimes a LITTLE bit corny at times (but this maybe this is also me still being a newb to romance). If you don’t like pretty detailed sexytimes in your books, this might not be for you! ALSO BENNETT TOTALLY DEFIES NEW ADULT DUDE STEREOTYPES THANK YOU JESUS. And he’s hot. Did I mention that?

Rating:

RATING-LIKED

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Book Talk: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Book Talk: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin TalleyLies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Published by Harlequin Teen on September 2014
Genres: YA Historical Fiction
Also by this author: Results May Vary, As I Descended
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

It’s 1959 and a high school in Virginia is integrating. It’s told from the perspective of two teenage girls — one white and one black — who are in this middle of this fight for integration/segregation. Sarah is a senior and should be enjoying her last year of high school in choir and with her friends but she’s now part of the small group of students that are the first to integrate into the white high school where it’s clear she’s not welcome by all the protests, the assaults and the nasty words being thrown. Linda is also senior and her dad is one of the biggest voices against the integration. The two get paired together for a school project everything they have ever known about themselves and the world feels uncertain.
.

a2My heart. And also, MAN I love historical fiction and want to see even more of it in YA.

a4

1. When I studied history in high school I always wondered what the teens were doing & this book explored that for me: You always are talking mostly about adults in history class but I would always wonder things like, “I wonder what the teens were doing during civil rights or what was it like for them during these wars.” Lies We Tell Ourselves gives me exactly that. Yes, they were being teens and worrying about the dance and relationships and school but they also were very affected and influenced by the current events of the day. We got to see the prejudices they learned from their parents and the media and just how the decisions made by the adults affected them so intensely. I mean, the decision to integrate schools was something that affected the kids more than it did anyone else. They were at the epicenter of that and I loved that we saw just how quizzical teens were and how they explored their own opinions — just as teens do about anything.

2. It broke my heart in a lot of ways and was so hard to read because I knew, while this was fiction, this was a reality: Reading what the black teens who integrated into the white school had to endure just made my stomach hurt and also made me want to hug them all and tell them how brave they were. It’s always hard for me to read about any sort of oppression or injustices in fiction but to read about that 1) REALLY DID HAPPEN and 2) was in recent-ish history and not like hundreds of years ago just killed me. You realize how far we’ve come but also, when I see current events of today, how far we still have to go. Reading the scenes of being mobbed in the halls, having things thrown at them and knowing people wanted you to die shook me up physically. Robin Talley wrote it in such a way where it just reverberated off the pages — the hatred boiling, the fear, the yells echoing. SO real.

3. I really loved watching both characters interact with each other because it felt pretty realistic: You can’t hate Linda — even when she does the wrong thing over and over again and is cruel and obviously racist. At least I couldn’t. So much of coming of age is also figuring out stuff for yourself vs. what you’ve always been told. When your parents believe certain things, they are easily rubbed off on you and that’s what we see with Linda. I loved watching her and Sarah interact and the curiosity that was there in both girls and started crumbling the walls that had been erected by society. Truthfully I thought this was just going to be a novel about two girls navigating a friendship when they weren’t supposed to so I was a little thrown for a loop when I realized it was more of a romantic thing. I think it was a lot to explore in one book considering both prejudices but Robin Talley did it well.

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ story, writing, FEELINGS
No real criticism just maybe didn’t feel as head over heels as others despite really liking it.

Re-readability: Probably wouldn’t.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Maybe not for myself because I wouldn’t re-read/it wasn’t a favorite but I want this to be on the shelves of every high school and YA section in the library.

a5fans of historical YA fiction, people looking for fiction dealing with civil rights, readers looking for LGBTQ stories, anyone looking for a powerful story

a8Lies We Tell Ourselves is a powerful story that really reminded me how brave people are and that’s how change happens — standing up for what is right, figuring out WHAT you think is right for yourself and not being afraid to have a voice. Sarah and Linda were two brave characters navigating this battle of civil rights and it really made me wonder about all the real, unknown acts of bravery during this time that helped change happen. I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it!

review-on-post-it

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
Have you read any books set in this time period you could recommend me?
*

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...