Review: Bottled Goods, by Sophie Van Llewyn

bottled goods sophie van llewyn

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Literary fiction, Magical Realism, Historical Fiction

Goodreads

Bottled Goods is one of the most interesting and unique books in the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 Longlist! It tells the story of Alina, who lives in Romania in the 1970s and is suffering the aftermath of her brother-in-law running away from communist Romania and leaving her and her husband to deal with the suspicion, interrogation and violence.

A bit under 200 pages, this took about a couple hours to read, and I highly recommend it to people who love a bit of magical realism! This was my favorite part about the book, how seamlessly the author managed to add magical elements to an otherwise heavy story, adding some whimsical and funny moments. Continue reading

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Review: Swan Song, by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

swan song kelleigh greenberg-jephcott

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Historical Fiction

Goodreads / Amazon

I didn’t think I would pick up Swan Song, but my recent undertake of reading up the nominees for the longlist of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 made me more curious about this book. I haven’t read anything by Truman Capote yet, although In Cold Blood has been on my list for years. I did find Swan Song much more a collection of gossip about the glamorous women in the 60s that Truman Capote hang out with – before they all shunned him after reading what he wrote in the Esquire. Continue reading

Review: Daisy Jones & The Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

daisy jones and the six taylor jenkins reidRating: ★★★★★

Genres: Historical Fiction

Goodreads / Amazon

Daisy Jones & The Six has been on everyone’s most anticipated lists for 2019, after the emotional breakdown everyone had after reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I heard great things about the audiobook, so that is how I read it, and, based on reviews from other bloggers, this is how I recommend everyone read it!

Daisy Jones & The Six is the story of seven band members and all the other people involved in the big phenomenon of the late 70s. From Daisy joining the band to the reason why it dissolved in 1979.

Gosh, the audio narration of this was… amazing. It’s full cast, it’s done with such emotional depth… I was hooked. And it went so perfectly with the documentary-style of the book it’s almost like it was meant to be listened to. Highly recommend. Continue reading

Review: Transcription, by Kate Atkinson

transcription kate atkinson

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Historical Fiction, WWII, Mystery

Goodreads / Amazon

In Transcription, Juliet Armstrong is recruited to join MI5. The year is 1940 and the war has just begun – she believes she can make a difference with her work, and finds the reality of her job alternatively boring and terrifyingly exciting. In 1950, Juliet is a different woman – she works at BBC and has a rather dull life. One day, she sees someone from her past. Little by little, all the people she used to know from her obscure work during the war seem to reappear, and something dark she thought she left behind is coming back to haunt her and make her pay.

I loved this book so much. Juliet is such a witty, funny character who constantly gets underestimated. She’s a talented liar and finds herself a quite accomplished spy as well, whether she wants to or not. Reading about her time as a typist and a spy during World War II was so interesting! The pacing of this novel is fast and it reads almost in a light-hearted way. For people who would like a historical fiction without the sobbing (especially rare for a WWII book), this is it. Continue reading

Review: The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi (The Gilded Wolves #1)

the gilded wolves roshani chokshi

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Young Adult Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Goodreads / Amazon

The Gilded Wolves has created quite a stir in the YA reader community, giving off Six of Crows vibes with its lovable crew, heists and cool fantasy world. It’s Paris, 1889 and the air is full of tension and wish for revolution. Meet the characters:

Séverin, a rich hotelier who desperately wants his inheritance back.
Tristan, his brother, who loves all things living.
Laila, a dancer with a dark secret.
Zofia, an engineer with a debt to pay.
Enrique, a historian nerd with a desire to prove himself. Continue reading

Review: Bitter Orange, by Claire Fuller

bitter orange claire fullerRating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Historical Fiction, Drama, Mystery

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This kind of story is such a recipe for success for me – it’s dark and twisty and feels so personal, with how close you get to the characters. It gave me Tender is the Night vibes and also a bit of Tangerine. I think if you enjoyed either book, you’ll like this one too!

It’s a hot summer, and Frances is moving into a grand but decadent house to write a report. This is going to be her home until late August – and then she meets her neighbors. Gorgeous and dark-haired Cara, and Peter, so very handsome. It is 1969, and Frances is excited for her new life after taking care of her mother for 10 years. Cara and Peter are incredibly charming, and she is drawn by their magnetism and their offer of friendship. But there are dark secrets between them and Frances doesn’t know what she got into… Continue reading

Review: The Widows of Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey

the widows of malabar hill sujata massey

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Mystery, Historical Fiction

Goodreads / Amazon

The Widows of Malabar Hill is a mystery set in India, and our protagonist is Perveen Mistry, a lawyer in Bombay who works with her father as a solicitor. After coming back from Oxford, she is the first female solicitor, which puts her in a position to deal with some of her father’s clients – a group of widows who wish to leave all their inheritance from their late husband to a charity, leaving them in a very bad financial situation. When Perveen talks to them to make sure they understand what they’re giving up, many mysteries and tensions start showing.

Continue reading

eARC Review: The Impossible Girl, by Lydia Kang

the impossible girl lidia kang

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Goodreads / Amazon

The Impossible Girl is the story of Cora Lee, a half-Chinese girl who makes a living as a grave robber. To do her dangerous job, Cora dresses up as Jacob at night, her body padded to fake muscles and her chest bound. The bodies she and her crew dig up go directly to universities, and they are valuable for the medical students because of the anomalies in them. But she has a secret: she has two hearts. In the wrong hands, this information might cost her life.

This book gives me Audrey Rose (from Stalking Jack the Ripper) and Elizabeth Barnabus (The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter) vibes. Cora is headstrong, with callused hands from passing for a man for years and constant physical labor as a resurrectionist, and a sharp tongue. Still, despite the difficult life she leads, her heart is in the right place, and refuses to steal and sell the bodies of the poor. I liked Cora a lot, she’s so smart and resourceful. Continue reading

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society mary ann shaffer annie barrows

Rating: ★★★★★

Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance, World War II

Goodreads / Amazon

First of all, I’d like to address the title and the cover of this book. As of the title: it sounds whimsical, but the story isn’t whimsical, although it’s quite witty! And as for the cover: there is romance, but the story is mostly not about the romance.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is one of the most charming books I’ve ever read. I was absolutely enchanted by it already in the first chapters: this tells the story of Juliet Ashton, a writer from London. She has written a lighthearted column during World War II to keep the spirits of her readers up during that horrific time, but now she wishes to leave that behind her and start writing serious stories. When she finds out that one of her books is in the hands of a man who’s part of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Juliet is intrigued by the funny name of the society and also by its creation during the war as an alibi for breaking curfew. Continue reading

eARC Review: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, by Mackenzi Lee

ladys guide to petticoats and piracy mackenzi lee

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Goodreads / Amazon

I have received this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Can I just start by saying I absolutely love this cover? I’m so smitten by covers with historical-looking people with modern font on it (like My Lady Jane), is that strange?

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy has far more adventure than the Gentleman’s Guide, and I loved Felicity’s story so much. Her personality, her passion for medicine were so inspirational, but I was surprised to find myself absolutely loving Johanna too! Although to be fair I suspected early that I might like her when she showed up with a big, drooling dog. She was such a great person, so soft and strong and loving and but with iron will. Gosh, I love them both.

And I now have a crush on Sim, as well. She’s a Muslim pirate, all sharp retorts and secrets. I truly liked how rough her edges were, how it still revealed a soft inside. Continue reading