I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys – Anticipated Reads of 2022 // a histfic set in 1989 communist Romania

Ruta Sepetys is releasing another historical fiction novel!

And this time, it’s set in 1989 communist Romania.

Adult, Historical Fiction, Romania, Spies

I Must Betray You
by Ruta Sepetys

Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.

Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?

Expected Publication: February 1, 2022

Chance to learn about a new culture? Check!

Chance to learn about another country’s history? Double check!!

Chance to love and enjoy another histfic by Ruta Sepetys? Check, check, CHECK!!!

Out of the four historical fiction books that Ms. Sepetys has written, I’ve read three of her works and enjoyed them so much. I first discovered her novels in the summer of 2020 when I read The Fountains of Silence. I very much enjoyed the story, because it offered a look at 1957 facist-controlled Spain while also weaving a tale of love and family. I ended up giving the book 4 stars because it was a nice read, but I hadn’t been satisfied with the ending.

Fast forward to September 2020, and I read Between Shades of Grey. I cried. Three separate times. It was a very emotional story that highlighted the labor camps run by the Soviet Union in the 1940s. It reminded me so much of the Holocaust and the labor camps that Germany had, and I was shocked that I hadn’t known about these Soviet-run camps previously (I mean, maybe it was passively mentioned, but I have no recollection of it, and it was most certainly not as highlighted as the German Holocaust was). Who knows, maybe the American education system isn’t really too keen on teaching that one of its allies during WWII did something quite similar to Lithuanians.

In June of last year, I read my third Sepetys book, Out of the Easy. This one was set during the dawning of 1950, in the French Quarter of New Orleans. As my Goodreads mini review stated: “This book reminds me of why I love histfic. The characters are so vivid and colorful, the backdrop is so vivid and colorful, everything is just so vivid and colorful and it makes me want to dive into the book so I can experience it directly with the characters. I loved everything about it.”

I’ve come to adore Ruta Sepetys’ books. Being that I know virtually nothing about Romania or its history, I’m especially eager to dive into her latest novel and learn something about another part of history that I hadn’t known before.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you heard of I Must Betray You? Are you looking forward to reading it?
  • Have you read any of Ruta Sepetys’ books before? What did you think?
  • Do you have any recommendations for historical fiction novels that are set in not so common places/time periods (ie not the US, the UK, or Germany and France during the World Wars)?

Chat with me in the comments below!

The Red Palace by June Hur – Anticipated Reads of 2022 // a historical korean murder mystery

A historical fiction novel?

Set in 1758 Korea??

With a quadruple homicide to solve?

SIGN ME RIGHT UP!

(Young?) Adult, Mystery, Korean-Rep

The Red Palace
by June Hur

Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.

But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.

In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.

Expected Publication: January 25, 2022

I’ve only read one of June Hur’s books before (currently reading The Forest of Stolen Girls after a recommendation from Ele, which thank you!), and that was The Silence of Bones. I really enjoyed that because of the historical Korean rep, and I loved the complexity of the characters and how they grew as the story unfolded. It was also very interesting to see the culture of Korea at the time and learn about the customs, conflict with religion, and the kind of life that some people lived during that time.

And now, June Hur has yet another historical Korean murder mystery, and I am so excited to delve into the past with her amazing story-telling all over again. There’s something about historical murder mysteries that is just so much more fascinating than modern mysteries (probably because it’s interesting to see/learn how they would be solved without modern tools to help), and adding a new setting and culture instantly makes it 10 times more exciting.

You know, I actually took some notes when I read The Silence of Bones because I liked it so much and I wanted to remember some details so I could write a review…but I never actually did write one which is a serious shame. I might type up those notes and post them anyway, perhaps as a mini review since I don’t fully remember the book to write a more fleshed out review.

What I know for sure is, this time around with The Red Palace, I’m going to take notes and I will make sure to actually write a review at least that’s the plan. Hopefully this book will become a favorite and I’ll be screaming at kindly explaining to you guys all the reasons why you should pick it up immediately 🙂

Some questions for you:

  • Have you heard of The Red Palace? Are you looking forward to reading it?
  • Have you read any of June Hur’s books before? What did you think?
  • Do you have any recommendations for books set in Korea (contemporary or historical)?

Chat with me in the comments below!

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf – Anticipated Reads of 2022 // muslim MC solving a mystery

I desperately want this book.

I want it so badly 😭

Words can not describe my sheer need for this.

Young Adult, Mystery, Muslim-Rep, Malaysian-Rep

Queen of the Tiles
by Hanna Alkaf

They Wish They Were Us meets The Queen’s Gambit in the world of competitive Scrabble when a teen girl is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend a year after the fact when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages.

CATALYST
13 points
noun: a person or thing that precipitates an event or change

When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.

But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.

As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.

Expected Publication: April 19, 2022

A Muslim girl.

Solving a potential murder mystery.

Not just any potential murder mystery, but one surrounding her best friend’s death.

*incomprehensible screaming*

Y’all, I am a mystery geek. I love whodunits, I love thrillers, and one thing that I’ve always wanted ever since I started reading the genre almost 7 years ago was a Muslim girl solving the mystery.

Adult mystery books are honestly not that diverse; I’ve only seen them starting to have non-white main characters in recent years, so I never got much representation with that in any way (besides the MC being a woman). And I’m not a huge fan of the YA mystery scene because it tends to be highschool related, which was too much drama for my liking. But I have read a couple of those and enjoyed them.

But this! This is the first time ever that I’m finding a female Muslim MC solving a mystery, AND I AM SO HERE FOR IT.

Also, can we please talk about how beautiful that cover is? It’s absolutely gorgeous I love it so much 🥺

April has never seemed so far away. At least I can use this to get through the next semester, because I’ll hopefully get to have this amazing book and enjoy it as the semester comes to an end.

And hopefully, hopefully it won’t disappoint.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you heard of Queen of the Tiles? Are you looking forward to reading it?
  • Have you ever come across a mystery book with a Muslim main character?
  • What’s a book you can’t wait to read this year?

Talk to me in the comments below!

8000+ Words Ranty Spoilery Review of A Throne For Sisters // why instalove rarely ever works

This has truly been one of the most painful books I’ve read in a while.

It’s actually free for download on Kindle and Google Books, so I picked it up on a recommendation from a friend. My friend thought that the premise of the book was my kind of thing: it’s like historical fantasy, with politics and court drama. What’s not to love?

Everything.

Just everything.

A warning, there will be spoilers for the book. I thought about making this non-spoilery and keeping spoilers in skippable dropdowns because I want everyone to be able to read this (I wrote over 8000 words, okay), but that means pretty much all of the review will end up in spoiler dropdowns.

So I’m sorry. Maybe the synopsis won’t sound like your kind of book so you won’t care and will read the post anyway? And I can honestly give a non-spoilery review of this book in like 4 phrases: insta-love; flat and boring characters; i don’t get this plot or world; at the end, i just wanted to melt into a frustrated mess.

That is a very accurate summation of my entire experience with this book. But what’s the fun in a summary?

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Continue reading “8000+ Words Ranty Spoilery Review of A Throne For Sisters // why instalove rarely ever works”

August 2021 Reading Update

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve told you guys what I am up to reading wise, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

Back in June, I did a post sharing 26 books I planned to read in the summer, and I do plan on doing an update on how that went. Some of those books I read at the start of August, and then everything else I read was kind of random.

So yeah. Let’s get started I guess.

If you can’t tell, I don’t know how to write intros anymore 🤦🏾‍♀️

Continue reading “August 2021 Reading Update”