Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Big Water

I wish historical fiction would take off in young adult. Well technically I wish it would get way more popular across the board. It’s one of those tough genres that houses hesitate to take risks on and as a person who loves historical I’m sick of seeing mostly WWII fiction these days. Historical fiction can be a great way to get teens interested in history, so when I found Big Water I was excited to pick up a YA historical based on a real historical event and it didn’t disappoint. I would love to find some YA historical based on real history for my own client list too.

Big Water is based off the true story of the steamship Asia that sank in Ontario’s Georgian Bay in 1882. The only two survivors of the wreck were two teenagers. Christina is struggling with the death of her twin brother and believes her family wishes she’d died instead of him. She decides to run away to find work elsewhere and winds up on the ship Asia. When an unexpected storm whips up, the overloaded boat is no match for the large waves and the ship sinks. Christina finds herself in a fight for survival against the storm in a lifeboat alongside fellow passenger Daniel. She fears he might be a criminal but she has no choice but to rely on him if they both want to make it off the water alive. Continue reading “Book Review: Big Water”

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Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Enchantée

Enchantée by Gita Trelease is a young adult historical fantasy. Personally I love historical fantasy so this hit the sweet spot for me. I can see this book appealing to other historical fantasy lovers and especially those who like a book placed within historical France, specifically Revolutionary France. This is the sort of historical fantasy I’d love to have on my client list. I enjoyed the strong personal stakes and the way the magic felt like it belonged in historical France.

At its heart this book is about two sisters (Camille and Sophie) trying to survive and keep themselves from living on the streets. With their parents dead it falls to Camille as the older sister to look after Sophie in a France that is being ravaged by poverty. But with their older brother racking up gambling debts, he is intent on taking everything they have to protect himself from. Camille refuses to let him destroy them and uses magic to walk amongst the aristocrats at Versailles and gamble at cards to win money. The longer she spends at Versailles the more she struggles to reconcile the real her with the pretend baroness she has become. However she isn’t the only magician at court and if she isn’t careful she’ll get ensnared  in another magician’s web before she sees it coming. Continue reading “Book Review: Enchantée”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Contagion

I’ve been reading a lot more science fiction lately and I find myself gravitating toward YA sci-fi due to the fast pacing. One of my latest reads was Contagion by Erin Bowman. This book was fantastic and I loved the tension and mystery of it. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a creepy science fiction read and I would especially recommend it if you’re a Riddick Pitch Black fan. Overall this book has great tension and exceptional writing.

When a SOS message is sent from a mining site on a distant planet, a search-and-rescue crew is sent. However when they arrive there appears to be no survivors and not enough dead bodies to account for the missing. A note left behind by one of the dead proclaims “It Got In Us.” With no idea of what the note means they search for answers, but once they find the dead, they quickly wish they hadn’t. Continue reading “Book Review: Contagion”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is a few years old (from 2013) and it was one of my first reads of the year. This contemporary book is a great reminder of why it’s so unfortunate that the New Adult category is all but forgotten by publishers. I wish I would have found this book when I was still in college because this is exactly the sort of book I wanted during those years. I always felt like those years are missing from fiction or purely romance, which is bad news for new adults searching for similar experiences in books. This book was great and I highly recommend it.

This book follows Cath during her first year of college and the struggles that come with the transition. Her twin sister Wren doesn’t want to be roommates, forcing Cath out of her comfort zone. And unlike Wren she isn’t as good at meeting new people or making friends, causing her to feel isolated at her new school as she drifts from her sister. She prefers to delve into the world of Simon Snow fanfiction and her popular fanfiction C. College brings new experiences and all Cath can do is rise to the challenges or fail. Continue reading “Book Review: Fangirl”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: The Royal Art of Poison

Who doesn’t enjoy stories about people dying due to unsavory plots to grab power or wealth? Stories of people being poisoned and dying young are all through history and this book explores the most famous cases as well as the poisons of the day. The full title of the book is The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul  and that title really is the best descriptor of this book. Let me tell you this book was absolutely fascinating! This is definitely one of my favorite recent nonfiction reads and I highly recommend it. Eleanor Herman has all kinds of interesting books on history.

This  book is great not just for those interested in poisons of the past, but any authors looking for information for their writing. This covers everything from how dirty the palaces were (men used to just piss everywhere apparently) to how they used mercury for medicine and in makeup along with arsenic. The makeup of the day was more likely to kill you than keep you beautiful. And if you wanted to die your hair red to be like Queen Elizabeth you might lose it all instead. Sometimes mercury could cure you, but only if it didn’t kill you first. Continue reading “Book Review: The Royal Art of Poison”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Vessel

While I try to keep up with some of the latest books, I read all over the place including visiting older books. Vessel is a YA fantasy by Sarah Beth Durst and is an older book, by which I mean it’s from 2012. This book is a desert fantasy where religion plays a big role in the characters and plot. I see a lot of people hunting for non-European fantasy, and if that includes you I recommend this book. I love stories where a character is expected to sacrifice their self for their religion or other purpose only for them to fight that expectation. So this book was right up my alley.

Let’s get to what it’s about. Liyana is meant to be a vessel for her goddess, but when she doesn’t come Liyana finds herself on a journey to save the deities and her people. This story explores the role religion has for Liyana’s people as well Liyana’s changing feelings about the role laid out for her. You see when Liyana’s goddess comes, Liyana is meant to die. But once she starts to fall in love she isn’t so ready to sacrifice herself. However saving her people comes first. Continue reading “Book Review: Vessel”

Reading · Reviews · self publishing

Book Review: Wool

Wool is part of Hugh Howey’s Silo series. Wool is about a post-apocalyptic America where people live in underground silos. I’ve already read the second book in the series, Shift, and I find the world building of the series brilliant. I also wanted to review this because Hugh Howey got famous for his indie success before getting a print only deal with a major publisher. If you haven’t read any indie books but like post apocalyptic fiction, I recommend this series. Hugh Howey also has a lot of other great science fiction books.

So what’s it about? Sheriff Holston misses his wife and is breaking under his grief. He asks to go outside, a big taboo for the residents due to the toxic air outside. Juliette gets appointed sheriff after Holston against her will. However, Holston’s decision set off a chain of reactions leading to an uprising and some of the sordid history of the silos being revealed. Continue reading “Book Review: Wool”