Category: historical fiction

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi Review

Title: The Gilded Wolves

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Series: The Gilded Wolves, book one

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Roshani Chokshi captured my heart and imagination with her debut novel, The Star-Crossed Queen, so when I found out that she was writing a new book, I was so excited. I had some space in my library stack, so when I saw it sitting on a shelf at my local library, I snatched it up. I started it as soon as I was finished with Dry, and I just finished it last night, in a mess of emotions and tears. The Gilded Wolves is a fantastic series debut. I’m not sure how to describe it, actually, but I’ll do my best. This book was like a gorgeous, hilarious, dark mashup of Six of Crows, National Treasure, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them; original, lush, and seductive, I loved The Gilded Wolves! Easily one of my favorite books of 2018, and I’m already dying for the sequel!

               The Gilded Wolves opens in Belle Epoque Paris, with a group of lovable misfits working to right the wrongs of the past. But they are led by Severin, a young man with many scars and even more secrets. Desperate to reclaim the birthright that was so cruelly taken from him, he jumps at the chance to acquire true power and avenge his late mother. Enlisting his friends to help him, Severin finds himself drawn into a deadly game of monsters, gods, forbidden magic and secret loves. But he is hellbent on becoming who he’s always wanted to be, even if it means risking everything and everyone, he cares about…

               This book was a total knockout! I was blown over. There wasn’t a thing I didn’t like about The Gilded Wolves, except for the fact that I’m going to have to wait for over a year for the sequel! Beautifully written, expertly paced, with lovable, diverse characters, it felt like after I read this book, I was losing a beloved group of friends. I’m so excited for the sequel! The format was really cool; I liked the way that the author broke the narrative apart with different ‘case files’ and worldbuilding tidbits. I also adored the way that Chokshi took a time period that I thought I was familiar with and insert magic, mystery, and romance into it. I loved all of the characters, especially Zofia, Hypnos, Tristan, Laila, Enrique, and Severin, but I can’t decide who is my favorite! I loved them all so much; they felt like a family to me. And that ending! I was an absolute mess. All the ugly crying. All I can say is that I hope the sequel comes soon, because I am dying here! A beautiful, twisty puzzle wrapped in a mystery with more than one surprise in its center, I loved The Gilded Wolves! The bottom line: Gorgeous, surprising, and hilarious, I loved The Gilded Wolves! One of my favorite books of 2018, and I can’t wait for what’s coming next! Next on deck: Damsel by Elana K. Arnold!

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by M…

Title: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: The Montague Siblings, book two

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               One of my favorite books of 2017 was The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, so when I heard that Mackenzi Lee was writing a sequel to it, this time featuring Monty’s headstrong sister, Felicity, I was so excited. This book has been sitting in my library stack for a while, and when I realized I couldn’t renew it any more, I pushed it to the top of the stack as soon as I was finished with Outrun the Wind. This book is one of my favorites of 2018; I loved it so much. Full of hilarity, swashbuckling pirates, adventures that lead across the globe, dark secrets, and new friends, I didn’t realize just how much I missed Felicity, Monty, and Percy until I was plunged into their world once more. I finished the book in three days; I was that invested. It’s very bittersweet for me; I didn’t want to say goodbye to the friends I’d made in this book, familiar and otherwise.

Felicity Montague is a woman who seems to want too much. She longs to be a doctor, despite the medical field being closed off to her because of her sex. She knows what is expected of her: to marry, have children, and keep a wealthy man’s house, but she doesn’t care about convention or the society she was born into; all she wants is to follow her dream. When she is offered a chance to meet her idol, Alexander Platt, she leaps at the chance, and soon finds herself mixed up with most unsavory folk: pirates, scientists with secrets, magical creatures, and along the way, she discovers more about herself than she could’ve ever realized, and that it might take help in order to become a renowned physician.

               I absolutely adored this book! Sequels make me nervous; all too often I seem to forget everything that happened in the first book, so it takes me a while to get back into the swing of things. But that wasn’t the case with this one: Almost immediately I remembered what happened, and I was laughing, cheering, and seething through the whole book. Feminist, fierce, and funny, Felicity’s voice was wry, sharp, and hilarious, and I loved the way she was more comfortable with science and anatomy of the human body rather than talking to people. The pacing was breakneck; I was spellbound from the very first sentence of the book; I finished it all in three days, I was so enthralled. I also loved the way other characters from the last book came in, and the new characters were fantastic, particularly Sim and Johanna. The ending was amazing; I was so satisfied, but it was bittersweet as well; I’d had so much fun with Monty and Felicity! One of my favorite things about her was that she was asexual, and was not shy about letting people know about it. This book, as well as its predecessor, is one of my favorites, and I can’t wait to see what Mackenzi Lee has up her sleeve next! Absolutely amazing! The bottom line: Gorgeously written, hilarious, full of action, adventure and self-exploration, I loved The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy! Next on deck: A Thousand Endings and Beginnings by Elsie Chapman and Ellen Oh!

When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen Review

Title: When We Caught Fire

Author: Anna Godbersen

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

Anna Godbersen first won my heart way back in 2005, my freshman year of high school, with her bestselling Luxe series, so when I found out that she was writing a brand new standalone, revolving around a love triangle and the Great Fire of Chicago, I was so excited. She became one of my favorite authors with her first series, and I was so happy that she was finally writing another book. I reserved it at my library, and after another library haul return, I put it at my stack. It took me almost a week to read it, as my life has been insanely busy recently, but I really enjoyed this book: rife with romance, betrayal, disaster, both social and natural, secrets and danger, When We Caught Fire took one of my least favorite tropes: the love triangle, and framed it within one of the most horrifying natural disasters in history. When We Caught Fire was beautifully written, captivating, frightening, and surprisingly informative. One of the reasons that I so love historical fiction is that I can learn about things that happened before my time, in my favorite format: A story! When We Caught Fire is one of my favorite books of 2018. Lush, beautiful, and more than a bit painful, I expected nothing less from Anna Godbersen, and I hope that there’s more to come from her!

Emmeline Carter, Anders Magnum, and Fiona Brynes all come from different walks of life. Emmeline longs to be a wealthy, admired socialite, and that dream is all but realized when she becomes affianced to one of Chicago’s richest scions. Fiona is her maid and best friend, and she is hiding secrets of her own; she has been secretly in love with their best friend, Anders, a fierce boxer and their childhood friend. But there’s a dangerous catch: So, too, is Emmeline. As the three former friends try to hide their secrets and reconcile their feelings for one another, another sort of fire is beginning to build, literally. As Chicago is swept up in wild, uncontrollable flames, these three friends must do everything to survive and achieve their dreams, or everyone that they love just might go up in smoke…

               I really enjoyed this book! The prose was gorgeous, lush, and captivating; I was entranced from the first line. The pacing was breakneck; I was immediately drawn into the dangerous, glittering world of early Chicago. I also loved the characters and the way the point of view moved between them: Emmeline, desperate for social standing and a romance straight out of a novel, Fiona, the lowly lady’s maid who longs for more in life than her class affords her, yet fiercely loyal to Emmeline, even as a young man comes between the two women, and Anders, the girls’ childhood friend, desperate to do right by them both even as their budding loves tear the three of them apart. But even more than I loved the character dynamics, it was so interesting to see an all-too familiar trope, the love triangle, framed within a survival scenario. I haven’t read much about the Great Fire of Chicago before this point, but to see it within the story, beautiful and deadly, was captivating, even as I wanted to turn away. The pacing really picked up as the fire swept through the city; the whole time, I was freaking out, hoping and praying that the characters I’d come to love would make it out. And that ending! It was so beautiful and bittersweet; by the end of the novel, I was in tears. At times, there were so many different names it was difficult to keep up; my only complaint was that I wish there had been a character list at the front of the novel. Nonetheless, Anna Godbersen makes a fantastic, exciting debut, reminding me of just how much I love historical fiction; I cannot wait until her next book! The bottom line: Bittersweet, gorgeously written, and meticulously researched, I loved When We Caught Fire, even though at times, it was hard to keep up with. Next on deck: Broken Things by Lauren Oliver!

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland Review

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Fatal Throne by M.T. Anderson Review

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Currently Reading: Stalking Jack The Ripper by @kerrimaniscalco! One of my book club buddies begged me to read this for her, and so I ordered it. I’m about three-fourths of the way through it, and honestly, I don’t know how I feel about it yet. The love interest is problematic at best, it seems like the main character is feminist and then something happens or is said to contradict that. If I wasn’t already so invested, I would’ve shelved this a long time ago. Maybe the next entry in the series will be better? I’m also not sure who The Ripper could be, but I have a few guesses. I’m hoping the ending saves this one. Shout out to my buddy and my local library for getting it to me! What are you guys currently reading? I hope you all had a happy holiday, whatever you may celebrate! <3 <3 <3 Love you all!