Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Historical
Year Release: 2019
Source: Library audiobook
|Listened to the audiobook
Trigger/Content warning: war (off-page), gore, sexism, domestic assault (off-page), mental illness, miscarriage (off-page) depression, starvation, lice, in-school corporal punishment (one scene)Historical fiction isn’t a genre I normally dip into, but I saw that this book takes place in Chicago, where I currently live, so I picked it up. This story takes place pre- and during World War II and tells of Frankie, a young Italian woman who lives in an orphanage with her sister, also told from the perspective of a ghost named Pearl.
This book takes complete advantage of its unique perspective. Pearl wanders Chicago, relaying to the reader different facets of the hardships faced by Chicagoans during the Great Depression. Though Frankie, her sister, and their friends have tender and even humorous moments during their lives at the orphanage, Ruby does not flinch away from harsh realities, such as fear of the nuns and their stern rules or the ways the Depression affected life in Chicago in general. Pearl also meets other ghosts during her hauntings which tell a variety of stories of those who came before and the challenges they faced. It all felt very well-researched, though I cannot say for sure. What I can say is that this book could not have taken place anywhere but the Windy City.
It also covers many aspects of feminine strength, some of which I had to take pauses. My heart hurt most, I think, when the complexities of Frankie’s family are put to page. Life in the orphanage was hard enough, the distance when their father moves out of Chicago to start a different life in Colorado added another layer. In addition, I could barely handle the scenes when the girls exchanged letters with boys at war, some of which came from the orphanage (like Frankie’s brother, Vito). So much of this book is about survival in several categories, and I really just wanted to give every girl we met throughout the read a hug.
A haunting, beautifully-written piece of historical fiction which cannot be separated from its setting or time period.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Year Released: 2014
Source: Library Audiobook
|Going into the His Fair Assassin, I didn’t know that this series will follow three different heroines. Coming out of Dark Triumph, specifically, it was such a great way to develop the world. Grave Mercy follows Isme, who is the reader who is completely new to the world of the convent of Mortaine and to this version of medieval Britain and France specifically. Sybella, on the other hand, is a little bit more ingrained to the noble courts. In this third book, we meet Annith, who was a central friend to Isme and Sybella and a bit of a mystery. Everything is spoilers, but wow she has such a compelling arc.
I really liked the presentation of her intimate knowledge of the convent and the tension between her serving her lord and her own wants and needs played out. Of the three books, this one features the most supernatural elements. The Hellaquin were terrifying, a French version of the Wild Hunt. In addition, we get to see more of the other orders worshiping different gods, and the different idealogical tensions there made for some fantastic world-building.
Characters from previous books really make this series cohesive, despite not following the same character’s point of view from start to finish. The romance, much like in the other two, was compelling and swoony. Plus, it absolutely blew my mind once the third act twist comes.
If you want court intrigue, murder, loose pagan mythology, and a whole lot of female characters who are strong in a variety of ways, do not miss His Fair Assassin.
I received an eARC of The Last Hope (2019) from Wednesday Books. This sequel and thrilling conclusion goes off Saltare as our soul-linked heroes, Mykal, Court, and Franny, are trapped on a ship. I can’t reveal too much because everything would be spoiler territory, but there’s a shady new guy named Stork, and conspiracy after conspiracy. The ending just fits the path laid ahead. Trust me, friends, it’s a good one!
Read on below for an interview with Krista and Becca about how they brought The Last Hope to its epic conclusion.
When I found out there was a dark YA fantasy partially inspired by Poland, I knew I had to get on that hype train asap. Thank you Wednesday Books for an ARC of Wicked Saints, Emily A. Duncan’s debut about blood magic, religion, pious girls, alcoholic princes, and monster boys. Dark and gothic in aesthetic, this book is not for the faint of heart and I loved so much about the conflict and dynamics among our three protagonists, Nadya, Serefin, and Malachiasz. Emily took time to answer some questions about Nadya’s holy relationships and books to read once the book hangover wears off. Continue reading
I received an eARC of The Raging Ones (2018) from Wednesday Books. Because life got in the way, I haven’t finished it yet, but so far, I am enjoying this one. The Ritchie twins tell the story of a frozen planet where everyone who lives knows when they’ll day. Three teens have avoided this death day and are trying to get on a ticket to a Distant Star to escape the consequences. I really like these teens’ spiritual bond and dynamic. Read on below for an interview with Krista and Becca about how they brought The Raging Ones to the page.