Showing posts with label historical fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label historical fiction. Show all posts

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Month in Review(s) - August 2017

August. Yeah, August...




August Tea-Cup pic











August, for me, was stressful.

My 88-year-old grandfather was very unwell and ended up in hospital, he's better now but we still have to do a lot to make sure he and my grandmother are safe, happy, and as healthy as they can be.




Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Review! - Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan by Hildi Kang

Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan title image




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Title: Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan

Author: Hildi Kang

Genre: Kids/Middle Grade, Historical Fiction

Amazon: UK - USA












Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Month in Review(s) - April 2017

(Warning: this post discusses depression, and has brief references to suicidal thoughts.)

April started sh**ty for yours truly - as you'll know if you read my March wrap-up, I've been having depression problems again.

So March wasn't too good, and April started out not too good.





books and tulips pic





But I went to the doctor, who put my tablet dose up, and things are starting to look up.

I've only been on this new dose for just over a week... but man, I feel so much better. I hate it that people are so anti-meds. I'm still alive because of those tablets.


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Really Mini Reviews! - 3 #OwnVoices Asian Historical Novels




Asian girls reading






Over half of the world's population lives on the continent of Asia, without counting people of Asian descent or birth who live elsewhere.

My reading certainly doesn't reflect that, does yours?



Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Review Time! - The Voices of Martyrs by Maurice Broaddus

The Voices of Martyrs title image




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Title: The Voices of Martyrs
The Voices of Martyrs book cover

Author: Maurice Broaddus

Genre: anthology, short stories

Genre (of individual stories): historical fiction, contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, vampires, urban fantasy, horror, dystopian, magic realism

Amazon: UK - USA








A few starting notes:


I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

Honestly, I like me some short stories - and I never fail to be impressed by Rosarium Publishing - so I figured, why not? And decided to give this a shot.





Premise:


A collection of voices - an unforgotten collected memory that encompasses the past, present, and future.

These short stories are tales of strength, pain, sacrifice, and life. These are the voices of martyrs.



Monday, 13 February 2017

Review Time! - Santa Muerte by Lucina Stone

Santa Muerte title image


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Title: Santa MuerteSanta Muerte book cover

Author: Lucina Stone

Genre: New Adult/NA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Witches, Vampires*, Werewolves*, Historical Fiction* (*ish)

Series: The Daniela Story #1

Amazon: UK - USA








A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book from the author, Lucina Stone, who I'm in contact with on Twitter.

This does not affect the content of my review; my review is fair and honest.

I agreed to read this with only the vaguest of notions of what it was about - I had read Naz @ Read Diverse Books' review of it, but had mostly forgotten about it by the time Lucina Stone contacted me.

I definitely didn't realise that it was urban fantasy - so that was a pleasant surprise!

I love urban fantasy - a subgenre of paranormal which involves magical-type-people (witches, vampires, etc.) faffing about in cities and/or towns in which they have their own societies (sometimes open to human society, sometimes hidden.)

It's strange, really, since I don't like cities in general - too much of a rural kind of girl. *shrugs* But there you have it.






Premise:

Turns out there's more to Daniela's family than she thought there was.

In the year 2030, Daniela sees no end to the pain. Depressed and hurt by an abusive relationship, she tries to take her own life...

...and wakes up somewhere strange.

This can't be happening. She can't be in the 1920s... right?

Dani doesn't get this time period, has no idea about magic, and, with a farm-girl named Daphne in tow, is being chased by a bunch of people who want her dead - or at least in jail.

All she wants is to go home to her mothers, but that seems almost impossible from here...







Best bits:

I love the chatty tone of this book. Stone grabs hold of you and says, 'come on guys, this way!' Which is spot on.

And the time travel element is well done! DID YOU HEAR THAT???? THE TIME TRAVEL ELEMENT IS WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!

Too often, time travel gets unnecessarily messy, or even just plain naff, but not here.

Here we have the reality of suddenly finding yourself in a world full of racism and rigid gender rules (Daniela ends up posing as a dude because of her short hair and trousers.)

And it's an element which is missing from your average time travel plot: the day-to-day-ness of living in that period, especially as a person of colour (PoC) in the USA.







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I liked the Mexican variations on the stalwarts of urban fantasy.

All of the different species of the paranormal and urban fantasy worlds - vamps, wolves, witches, etc. are removed from their White European stereotypes and instead seen through the lens of Mexican folklore.

Most notably we have the brujas - the Mexican witches - who are written with skill and intrigue, and are far removed from the average urban fantasy witch-chick (who is normally a white goth-girl and/or biker-chick.)

The depression representation is good overall, devastatingly realistic as a whole - but I did have a minor issue with it, which I'll write about in the next section.

The sense of hopelessness and worthlessness depicted is accurate and heart-breaking, and Daniela doesn't magically get better the moment she ends up in 1923, meaning it's not treated as just a plot point.

And we get a same-sex, lesbian, parenting couple - which is awesome.








Not so great bits:

First thing, as ever, is first, here's the potentially distressing content from this book (hold on, there's some stuff to get through):
  • depression
  • attempted suicide
  • suicidal thoughts
  • hanging
  • abusive relationships
  • low self-worth/self-esteem
  • racism
  • racial slurs (including the 'n' word)
  • the KKK
  • lynching
  • segregation and discrimination
  • sexual abuse
  • child abuse
  • sexual assault
  • rape
  • torture
  • kidnapping
  • burning (as a form of torture)
  • attempted murder
  • homophobia
  • grave-robbing
  • missing persons investigation

I think that's everything - v. sorry if I've missed anything out.

There's swearing and violence; if you can handle all the other stuff though... *shrugs*

At one point, the phrase totem pole is used in as a metaphor in a non-native setting, which is seen as cultural appropriation, affecting some First Nations tribes (this piece by Robin R R Gray explains more.)

It was only once, but was still disappointing, and I hope won't occur again in future books.







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Also, and this one is more of a personal preference, the relationship between Dani's mothers is referred to as a lifestyle. I don't like this.

I'm aware that a lot of LGBTQ+ people are ok with it (especially from older generations,) but I am personally not a big fan of the term.

But then, a lot of LGBTQ+ people find the term queer very offensive, but I personally identify as both sexually fluid and queer.

I guess you just have to understand that some people will be offended by both of these terms, and you need to examine how and why AND WHETHER YOU SHOULD use them in any given context.

Occasionally it felt like the representation of Daniela's depression was a little bit hit-and-miss, simply because at the times when it wasn't affecting her so much it was almost as if it didn't matter any more.

Honestly though, the representation of depression was, overall, heartbreakingly affective.






Verdict:

This is a great book - a strong foundation for the series, with great characters and interesting paranormal elements.

If you're an urban fantasy fan, this is a must. But those not so familiar with the genre will love it too.




UPDATE 22nd APRIL 2017:

A couple of people have raised issues with the lesbian and depression representation in this book, as well as a few other matters. Some people have equated Dani's lesbian mother having sex with a man with biphobia.

I personally don't agree with the lesbian rep/biphobia criticism - because if anyone knows that sexuality is fluid, it's yours truly. But I see the validity of the points made.

For an overview of the issues that some people have with this book, see C T Callahan's Goodreads review.

I do find C T Callahan more than a little harsh on this book, but you guys all know that I believe in having all the cards on the table so that you can make up your own minds.

















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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Month in Review(s) - November 2016

November; the month in which the USA decided to make the UK's stupid political choices look relatively intelligent in comparison.

All we did was leave the EU... maybe... with no real plans, and a strong sense that nobody WAS LISTENING TO THE INFO ABOUT WHAT THE F**K THEY WERE VOTING FOR.

America decided to go bigger, and elected Trump. *sighs*











Still, we are so, so, so sorry America. We did let Farage faff around your country spreading his toady hatred by campaigning for Trump.

He's now wrecked two countries and potentially the whole world - maybe we shouldn't have given that man a passport.






But, my dearest nerdlets - if you're scared, if you're feeling hurt or alone, please understand this: THERE ARE PEOPLE ACROSS THIS ENTIRE PLANET WHO LOVE YOU AND ARE THINKING OF YOU. I promise.





On the personal side of things, my depression hasn't been as bad as it was last month (woo!) so that's got to be a good thing.

And my blog hit over 45k pageviews, followed by over 50k pageviews in the early days of December!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!






But what about the books?

Well my nerdlets, here are the books I reviewed in November:





New Adult




Eyes of Persuasion by Adrienne Monson - Novella, Fantasy, Historical Fiction*, Crime*, Romance (M/F)* (*ish)





Adult







God Help the Child by Toni Morrison - contemporary, magic realism* (*ish)
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin - classics (modern,) LGBTQ+ (M/M; M/F)
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - LGBTQ+ (M/M; M/F,) Mythology, Historical Fiction*, Mythology*, Magic Realism* (*ish)





Graphic Novels




Who Killed Kurt Cobain?: The Story of Boddah by Nicolas Ortero - biography, contemporary, magic realism, non-fiction* (*ish)














Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Review Time! - Eyes of Persuasion by Adrienne Monson










Title: Eyes of Persuasion

Author: Adrienne Monson

Genre: New Adult, Novella, Fantasy, Historical Fiction*, Crime*, Romance (M/F)* - (*ish )

Series: Blood Inheritance (#1.5)

Amazon: UK - USA







A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book from the author, Adrienne Monson, via The Review Chain in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Long story considerably shortened - I applied to review a different book of Adrienne Monson's via The Review Chain, and ended up with this one instead.

Just go with it - s'all good ;)





Premise:

Isabeau Maybrick has a lot of cr*p going on - not only does she have to marry some dude because her douche of an uncle is making her, she also has to make money on the side to pay off said douche-y uncle's gambling debts.

(Yes, before you ask - I've had coffee. Let's do this!)

Oh, and to cap it all off? Isabeau has a magic-y eye power which means she can persuade people to do stuff - but it's more than a little hit-and-miss.





Best bits:

This book is hugely enjoyable.

Like dude, it's readable, indulgent, and fun. Kind of like dessert in book form - too much is probably bad for you, but at this amount, you just have to treat yourself.

(Anyone else hungry for chocolate fudge cake right now? Just me? Ok.)

I like Isabeau - she's quite cool. But Meg, her resourceful maid, is clearly more of a bad-a*s, and I would've liked to see more of her.

The idea of Isabeau's magicky-type eye-power thingy is really intriguing - but I also like the way we didn't get caught up in the detail of it.

I think if we'd had too much of the ins-and-outs, it might've spoiled it a bit - the casual way it's approached somehow makes it feel more realistic.

The whole thing is just... fun... in the way of any swashbuckling entertainment with a side of fantasy, and just a smidge of crime as our intrepid heroine faffs about in boy's clothing as an early type of private investigator.





Not so great bits:

I don't like the name Isabeau - I know that's a v personal thing, but it bugged me for pretty much the whole book.

Also, Isabeau feels a little damsel-in-distress-y more than once. Possibly because she makes stupid decisions. #JudgingYou Isabeau - stop doing stupid sh**, m'k?

Unfortunately, there were places where the writing felt sticky and clunky - like it didn't flow right.

In places, it just felt like the author had gripped the prose too tightly, and that can make it feel awkward.

There's violence, a lot of domestic abuse from Isabeau's uncle, as well as references to attempts to force her into prostitution.

There might've been swearing, but I honestly can't remember (note to self: pay more attention to the naughty words.)





Verdict:

This was enjoyable as all hell, and one heck of an adventure :)


















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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Review Time! - The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller











Title: The Song of Achilles


Author: Madeline Miller

Genre: LGBTQ+ (M/M; M/F,) Mythology, Historical Fiction*, Fantasy*, Magic Realism* (*ish)

Amazon: UK - USA





A few starting notes:
If any queer men have reviewed this then let me know! I'd love to link to your review.

This was actually a recommendation from the lovely Charlotte @ Bookmarks and Blogging - who was spot-on with her rec! :)






Premise:

This is a retelling of the story of the Iliad (the Trojan War and all that jazz) from the point-of-view (POV) of Patroclus, the beloved companion of hero Achilles.

What follows is a Greek tragedy of love and war.






Best bits:

Uerkjnhrylojmnprkmtnoltknklnmnbreope!!!!!!!! This bookkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guys, I love Patroclus - HE WAS A PURE PRECIOUS LITTLE GEMSTONE, AND THEY DIDN'T DESERVE HIM DAMMIT!

The strong voice of Patroclus comes through the POV - and I think this was a smart plan. Achilles is a lot more likeable through Patroclus' eyes than I think he would be in 3rd person.









Honestly, Achilles can be a bit of a douche - and it's only through Patroclus' love and light that we see him as more than just the boring role of 'the perfect hero.'

Patroclus is the first and foremost strong point of this book - he is just so exceptionally... lovely and wonderful, that I would love to actually meet him.

And even though I had some knowledge of the story of the Iliad, and knew how this was going to end, IT STILL RIPPED MY HEART OUT AND HANDED IT TO ME (in a good way.)

And the writing is completely awesome-sauce and good quality :)





Not so great bits:

*rolls up sleeves* - Look, for a book that won a women's fiction prize, I expected less of a sh**y role for the women.

We have few female characters - in a way, that's not too bad, because we're at war with a Greek army, so I wouldn't expect that many women around.

But every woman in this book gets either married off to the highest bidder and/or against her will, raped, murdered, or some combination of all three.

There's a lot of rape here - and it's used as a throwaway plot device, just something that happens. Again, probably not unrealistic - but the emotion, the trauma, and the victim seriously needed more attention.











I've seen - out and about there in Internet-land - criticism of Patroclus' representation.

Some people seem to think that he was overly feminised or forced too much into the 'wife' role in the relationship, but without knowing the backgrounds of the reviewers, I honestly can't tell you whether this is a legitimate concern from queer reviewers, or masculine insecurity from heterosexual reviewers.

What I can tell you is that I didn't find him overly feminised at any point.

There's some sexy-times, much violence, and swearing, as well as the aforementioned references to rape.





Verdict:

OK, there were some issues. But I loved this book.

AND I ADORE PATROCLUS - HE WILL BREAK YOUR HEART DAMMIT!!!!! THEY DID NOT DESERVE HIS PURE GOODNESS!!!!!!!!




Update 19th Feb 2017: I've become aware that this book has issues regarding the Bury Your Gays trope. If anyone has a post or review which discusses this, I would be more than happy to link to it.




















Wednesday, 16 November 2016

My Diverse Welsh Authors TBR

Okie dokes my dearest nerdlets - it's time to combine two of my obsessions, diverse authors and Welsh authors.

A lot of these actually came from a post on black Welsh authors I read the other day, which I will link to here.











So, I give you my modest TBR list of diverse Welsh authors:




Ash on a Young Man's Sleeve by Dannie Abse

Amazon: UK - US



This is a semi-autobiographical novel by Jewish Welsh author and poet Dannie Abse. If you've never read any of his poetry - go. Go and look it up. Read. READ NOW.







dat's love by Leonora Brito

Amazon: UK - US



This is a short-story collection by a black Cardiffian author, and looks pretty awesome.







Sugar & Slate by Charlotte Williams

Amazon: UK - US



This is an autobiography which explores the intersection of Welsh and Guyanese identities - which sounds pretty cool.







Telling Tales by Patience Agbabi

Amazon: UK - US



This is like a re-telling of The Canterbury Tales I think? So I'd probably better read the original first!







Asylum: Docu-Drama by Eric Ngalle Charles

Amazon: UK




This bills itself as a docu-drama(?) based on the true stories of asylum seekers in Wales.









Vicious by Bevin Magama

Amazon: UK - US



This is an autobiography of a Zimbabwean immigrant to Wales, and the tale of his time in the Zimbabwean military.









Proud by Gareth 'Alfie' Thomas

Amazon: UK - US







This is the autobiography of Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas - the first professional sportsman in a team sport to come out as gay, national superstar, and nice local boy t'boot.









Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Amazon: UK - US



I only realised recently that Sarah Waters is Welsh! And I really want to read this, and possibly some of her other books, because F/F historical fiction dammit!!!!











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