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!

26 Books I Plan to Read This Summer (ft. lots and lots of diverse reads)

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I know that this is an incredibly ambitious list and I might not read all of these books. But I do have them all on hold/currently borrowed so I’ll have to make an effort to read them.

I think this is the first time I’ve ever made a summer TBR post, but these books sound too good to not mention, so I figured this would be the best way to get these onto your radar. Be sure to check some of them out! There’s so much diverse representation here, and books from multiple genres, so there should be a little something for everyone.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Continue reading “26 Books I Plan to Read This Summer (ft. lots and lots of diverse reads)”

Why I love history & historical fiction // ft. some recommendations

*cue Victorian British accent*

Good day dear bookish friends! Welcome back to my little corner. I hope you have some tea, because it would be a bore to read this without some! Add a little cookies too; don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone!

Today, I shall be speaking with you all regarding my love for historical fiction, a wonderful genre full of interesting stories, quaint times, and dazzling characters. I will also be enlightening you, as well as myself, on the problems of the past and why loving this genre may not necessarily be for you.

And of course, to wrap it all up, I shall share some lovely reads from these bygone eras that I think would warm your little hearts.

Let us begin, shall we?

Continue reading “Why I love history & historical fiction // ft. some recommendations”

Book Review – The Book Thief

Hey ya’ll!! Welcome back to my first book review of the year (and my first one since November)! I’ve said it a few times now, but I’m going to start working on posting reviews more frequently maybe if I say it enough it’ll become reality. Honestly, I kind of miss writing them, and hopefully I’ll keep it up from here.

Today, I’ll be reviewing one of my favorite books of 2019, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Published: December 18th 2007

Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, Coming of Age

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary: It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Review Summary:

This was a really emotional coming-of-age book set in Nazi Germany during World War II. It has a really unique narrator who follows the life of Liesel, after the death of her little brother, and her placement in a foster home. Originally, it was slow, but towards the second half, I was really attached to all the characters, and I loved the story. The ending hit me so hard even though I knew it was coming.

Quote: “The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.”

*Characters. I love the characters. They were real and so wholesome. Liesel, Rudy, Mama, Papa, the Mayor’s wife, all the characters on Himmel street played a role in making this book what it is. Death as well, was a phenomenal narrator, and it was so interesting seeing the story from his point of view. I loved the relationships between each of the characters, and how they loved each other, despite Mama seeming really harsh. She still loved Liesel so much, and it made me feel so warm and happy to see all of their interactions with one another. Rudy was hilarious, mischievous, and very much a saukerl. Papa was kind, patient, and adoring. Mama was harsh, loud, but still loving underneath. The Mayor’s wife was quiet, kind, and so lonely. All of them supported Liesel in their own way, and I loved reading about their lives.

*Death. Having death as a narrator was different and really interesting. It was sad, it was painful, and I sympathized with him so much. One thing I didn’t expect was for me to like having him as a narrator. He’s not this gloomy cruel thing that loves death. He had feelings. He was real. You could feel the sorrow and sadness coming from him. It made me sad that he had to see so much horror and that he had such a depressing job.

*Story. I like how the story moved through the years, pointing out the big events, and mentioning the small ones as well. It was a coming of age over several years, and even though the pacing was slow to start, I got used to it later on and I didn’t want it to end. I just wanted their story to continue, to see all the mischief and adventures that Rudy and Liesel would have, to see them grow up and grow old. It was so heartfelt and I loved it.

Quote: “I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

*Max. Max was really interesting. What happened to him was horrible, but I’m glad that he still survived, that he found a family with the Hubermanns. I’m also glad that he found a way to express himself, and that he became Liesel’s reading companion. There’s so much power and beauty in words, and instead of falling into depression, or chronically over stressing, he wrote his story and stayed the strong despite the bleakness of his situation.

*Books. The book starts off with Liesel stealing a grave digger’s handbook, and it becomes a passion of hers. She has Papa teach her how to read, and as the years pass, she swipes books when she can to read some more. She meets the Mayor’s wife while doing laundry for her, and discovers a library full of so many books. The best thing is that the Mayor’s wife lets her come and read, which makes Liesel’s knowledge and power with words grow. I’m glad that books held such a special place in Liesel’s heart.

*Message. This book has several messages, and all of them are so important. Nazi Germany was a horrible time, and I loved how the Hubermanns, and Liesel, fought Hitler in their own way. They hid a Jew, showed sympathy to other Jews despite the severe consequences, and used Hitler’s own powerful device, words, to fight and tell their own story. This was about giving them a voice, when they didn’t have any. This was about doing what’s right, even when your whole country, your own son, is against you. It also offered a new perspective, because this was the first time that I’ve read a book about a non-Jewish German family hiding a Jew in their own home. It’s about the horrors of war, of the Holocaust, and how it can affect one small family that just wants to stay far away from it. And I absolutely loved it.

*Ending. That ending punched me so. hard. It still hurts to think about it. You know it’s coming, you get warned beforehand, but I still spent a few hours crying, feeling so much pain and sadness for all these amazing characters.

Quote: “Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”

*Slow. Starting out, it was slow, and I was a little impatient because of it. But once I got used to the pacing, and I began to like the characters, I didn’t care that it kind of dragged anymore.

Quote: “He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.”

In the end, I loved this, I would highly recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! The characters are so interesting, and it was so heartwarming to read about their lives. The ending shattered me. Great job to Zusak for absolutely destroying my heart.

One sentence summary: A heartbreaking and important historical fiction novel with amazing characters and books.

Overall, 5 shining stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

That’s it for today! I’m working on my Monthly Wrap-Up post, so you can expect that either tomorrow or Thursday.

Have you read The Book Thief? What did you think? Am I the only one who fell in love with Mama as the story progressed? What are some of your favorite World War II books? Chat with me in the comments below!!

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee – Review

Good morning! I hope you are having a great day. I am so so behind on reviews (I read this book in August!!) but I’m trying very hard to catch up. Today’s review is of one of my most anticipated releases for 2019, The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee. This was a spectacular historical fiction novel that touches on a lot of important topics from the 1800’s of the Southern US.

Book: The Downstairs Girl

Author: Stacey Lee

Rating: ★★★★★

Summary: By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light. With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, Stacey Lee masterfully crafts an extraordinary social drama set in the New South.


*Jo Kuan. I loved Jo for her wit, for her outspoken attitude, and because of her love for her friends and family. By day, she is a maid for a cruel and rich society belle, and by night she writes an unconventional column that tackles issues of race and gender equality. Her form of feminism, her way of challenging society’s ideals, was amazing, and I loved how she spoke for all women, and all races, rather than just a certain group of women, like the suffragist group in this story did. Also, she and Nathan were funny and cute.

*Reconstruction Era Georgia. I love love love love love historical fiction and I love historical fiction that is set in the Victorian Era, or the 1800s the most. This is one of the rare times that I’ve read a book set in this time period in the good old American South. And I loved it. The rising tensions, the segregation/racial issues, and the general change that was happening in the South during that time period is really interesting, and reading about a strong female character trying to change society’s mindset and trying to survive the growing tensions is something that I am absolutely here for. I think all the issues were handled beautifully in this book.

*Friends and family. The support of Jo’s friends and family made the story so whole. Noemi was so much fun, and I loved how she was just as outspoken and strong as Jo. She was an amazing friend, and always managed to make me smile. Old Gin was an interesting character, and I loved his small bits of advice, and the special bond that he had with Jo. I also loved how he always put Jo first, and Jo also did the same. Nathan was adorable (I don’t know why, I just thought he was super cute??) and the slow tentative relationship that he and Jo formed was so so sweet. Even Caroline, who was beyond rude and cruel, had her moments, and I really hoped that she and Jo could eventually become friends. Honestly, all the side characters in the book were so interesting and amazing.

*Horses. I also liked the small horses aspect in the story, and that ending with the race was the best.


*Nothing. I loved this book from beginning to end.


In the end, I really loved this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! The main character was strong and independent, the side characters were diverse and amazing, and the plot tackled many important issues that were relevant in Jo’s time, and some that are still relevant today. I also loved the family and friendship dynamic between the characters, and it made the story more whole and sweet.

One sentence summary: An interesting historical fiction novel with amazing characters and diverse topics.

Overall, 5 stars!!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

That’s it for this review! Have you read The Downstairs Girl? What did you think? Did you find Nathan weirdly adorable as well? Have you read any amazing historical fiction novels this year? What was one of your most anticipated books for 2019? Chat with me in the comments!