Tag: historical fiction

Series I’d Like to Start/Reread/Finish

Series I’d Like to Start/Reread/Finish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl is one that I really enjoyed, because I am notorious for starting a series and then taking for-ev-er to finish them. Let me know if you’ve read any of these or have a suggestion!

Pern – Anne McCaffrey

Reread

Anne McCaffrey has always been my favorite author, from when I was a child, to now. She writes strong female characters, and they’re everywhere. Her books are like comfort food for me, and I think rereading all the Pern books is a great exercise for me right now. And there are dragons.

The Wheel of Time – Robert Jordan

Start

I have read 0 of these, but Shane has read all of them, and bought them on Kindle. It’s a classic series that I’ve heard great (and not-so-great) things about and I’m interested in seeing what the hype is about. I might put this off until I forget the tv show, though.

Riftwar Saga – Raymond E. Feist

Reread

I grew up reading Raymond E. Feist, and a few years back I decided I wanted to read through the whole thing again. I now own all 30+ of them, and have only re-read 10ish, so this is definitely at the top of my list of series to read. I won’t lie, some of them are….problematic, but overall, they’re classic Fantasy novels and bring back my childhood.

Smythe-Smith Quartet/Rokesbys/Lady Whistledown – Julia Quinn (Technically 3 series)

Start

I really enjoyed the Bridgerton books (and the show, to be fair), so I’m definitely interested in reading more of her books. I also just enjoy the time period. Technically, this encompasses 3 series, but none of them are terribly long, and they’re such quick reads, I combined them all. I really enjoy Regency romances, apparently. Who knew?

Countess of Harleigh Mystery – Dianne Freeman

Start

I also love historical mysteries with some romance, so when I saw this, I knew I wanted to read it. They’re cute and fun, the stakes are never terribly high and the romance is generally adorable, and it’s just comfortable. I guess going into the holiday season, I’m thinking of comfiness, and not hard hitting books that make me think.

Maisie Dobbs – Jacqueline Winspear

Start

Another historical mystery series! Apparently this one might be too cutesy, but I’m willing to find that out for myself. It’s also in my favorite time period – between 1910 and the beginning of WWII. A lot of people have recommended this series to me, so I’m looking forward to reading it.

Somershill Manor – S.D. Sykes

Start

Oh look! Another historical mystery series! A huge departure from the ones above, though. It’s set way earlier – 1300s – and with a much different protagonist – a monk turned Lord of the Manor. There’s also an added quirk is that the Plague has ravaged the land, so that’s fun. I haven’t read much in this time period, so I’m not sure how “true to life” it is – and I’m not sure I really care. I don’t read fiction as truth.

Krewe of Hunters – Heather Graham

Finish

Another series of over 30 books, of which I have read around 10. I don’t know why I love these books, but I sure do – paranormal mystery solving with romance? I’m in. I’m also curious as to how she finds all the people who fall in love.

First Colony – Ken Lozito

Start

Another deep love of mine is science fiction set in spaceships. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved to read about people voyaging across the stars and I’ve always been bummed that there aren’t that many in this genre, and those that are often poorly written. YA has some good ones, but adult fiction is lacking. This has been changing, and I’m hoping this one is one that I can start recommending.

Hell Divers – Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Finish

This is a wild ride, y’all. Seriously, this series is all over the place and I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s a dystopian military-ish found family, and there are cannibals. I’ve listened to 7 of the 9 currently published, with the 8th & 9th waiting for me in Audible. I won’t lie – part of the draw is that R.C. Bray is the narrator. I love R.C. Bray.

Top Ten Cozy Winter Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by That Arsty Reader Girl.

Little House in the Big Woods | Anne of Green Gables | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The first three of this Top Ten were easy to come up with: the first three books of my three most treasured childhood series. I can’t think of a better way to pass snowy (or more likely in my area – icy) day than revisiting old childhood favorites. 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society | The Midwife | The Maid’s Tale | Life in a Medieval Castle
Another thing that’s nice to do is escape to another time or place. Two memoirs by women of the past, a guide to medieval life, and a novel of post-war England certainly do that. I really can’t wait to curl up with some of these this winter.

The City Who Fought | The Dragonriders of Pern | The Name of the Wind
Speaking of ‘another time or place’ – a great sci-fi or fantasy book is just as good at taking you away. Anne McCaffrey is my all-time favorite author, and honestly a big part of why I want to write books. Her Brainship books are some of the first science fiction I ever read and her Pern novels are the first blending of sci-fi/fantasy that I ever really got into. Patrick Rothfuss has created a masterpiece as well, and sitting in a cozy chair reading any of these books would be an amazing thing to do on a cold winter day.

-Sarah-

The Darkling Bride {Review}

darkling.jpg A solid 4 stars.

This book refuses you to miss the connections with Jane Eyre. It’s a quality book, though. Eerie vibes throughout the novel help set the stage and unexplained references to a main character’s shady past help to set the mood for most of the novel.

There’s a lot going on in here, by the way. There’s the thread of the Darkling Bride going through everything as well as a ton of story lines. There’s a mystery in the 1800s involving an author and his ‘mad’ wife, a 1990s murder/suicide mystery which involve several people from the current day shenanigans. Current day, the Lord of the Manor Castle is trying to sell his family’s home to the Heritage Trust which brings everyone back to the Castle. Oh, that’s right, there’s a creepy 700 (800?) year old castle in rural Ireland  with a monastic city’s ruins nearby. And a super creepy tower. Carragh is an American hired to catalog the family’s library and has A Very Dark Past that she references a bit until It All Comes Out later on. There’s also a brand new Detective Inspector from Dublin down to investigate the unsolved murder of Aidan’s parents. She has her own story line as well. The other characters have stories, obviously, but they aren’t given their own chapters/portions of chapters.

Overall, I really liked this book. My only issues were that the lurve story (of course there’s a love story) goes from 0 to 100 suddenly, Aidan’s kind of a dick & his redemption isn’t super redemption-like, and there wasn’t enough ghost stuff. There’s some ghost stuff, but not enough. I wanted haunting. I think I’d have added a part of a star if the author had included the ‘real’ story of the Darkling Bride instead of leaving us with bits and pieces.

-S-

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate {Review}

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

I’d say a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I knew about Georgia Tann (thanks Unsolved Mysteries!!), but this book really drives the awfulness home. It also had tidbits that I didn’t know, so that was interesting. The only issue I had with her section was that it was unrelenting horror. Which was the point, so I guess that’s a good thing.

To be honest, it really doesn’t carry that sense of loss and pain into Rill’s adult life. A second book following her into adulthood and her search for family would be great. The book seemed to close up with a rush and left a lot to wonder about. I just really wish we had more information about everything. This is so hard to write without spoliers!

The other main character, Avery, is a bit annoying but her story is okay. I would have liked to spend more time on her search instead of her worrying about if she wants to be a politician. Also, her obsession with people knowing her last name and treating her differently made me laugh. Your daddy may be a senator but did he play football, Avery? It’s a real thing, sure, but her attitude about it struck me as funny.

This novel covers a very important (and hushed up) time in history. Joan Crawford adopted her children from Georgia Tann. People should read it, then read more about the whole shenanigan, and then give past US authorities some serious side eye.

Before We Were Yours has some weaknesses. Avery is a snoozefest and I was left dying for information about what happened when the ‘orphans’ became adults. And why did Big Trent hate his dad so much? Why is Jonah given such a weird backstory? But its strengths greatly outweigh the weaknesses. Wingate hits every awful thing that could have happened to a Tann child and I don’t think I’ll ever forget reading Rill’s story. Read it.

-Sarah-

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis {Review}

Cover art for A Madness So DiscreetFrom Goodreads:

Grace Mae knows madness.
She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.
When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

This book is a solid ‘meh’ from me. I’m not sure what bugged me specifically, but it was a nagging in the back of my mind. Overall, though, I don’t regret reading it and would probably suggest it to others depending on their reading tastes. I struggled with the more ‘supernatural-ish’ bits in the book and also everyone was just…too progressive for the time. Which is a weird thing to be bothered by, since I agree with all of their views, but it kept pulling me out of the story. There are several relationships that I side eye, as well as character aspects that I have a hard time buying (aka come out of nowhere for no reason). The first two thirds or so of the book are pretty well paced and plotted. I bought a lot of what happened and why it happened, but then that last third kind of came from nowhere and felt overly rushed. It kind of spun away from what I thought was happening. Also, Grace’s actions re: the chemist make me scratch my head…I really want to write a spoiler here, but I won’t. I just didn’t get it, I guess.

But I did enjoy a lot of the book. Grace’s friends in the ethical asylum are a duo that I would love to hang out with. They are bright spots. The text itself is often incredibly lyrical. I can’t find my copy of the book, so I won’t put in an example, but there were many many times where I reread a passage just because it was so beautifully written.

I think my problems with the book are just that, mine. I can definitely see people loving this book so if it seems interesting to you I think you should give it a try.

-S-