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!

The ​7 1⁄2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – Review

Hello friends, and welcome to my review of The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. I really liked this, but felt like it was a bit confusing in the beginning. I really wanted Aiden to get out, and maybe take Anna with him and was shocked by that ending.

Book: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author: Stuart Turton

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.


Quote: “How lost do you have to be to let the devil lead you home?”

*Original and Unique plot. I loved the idea of Blackheath. I loved the idea of putting Aiden in different bodies so he can experience the same day through multiple viewpoints which will help him solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. It was unique, refreshing, and something I have not seen before, at all.

*Mystery. The mystery itself was intriguing and all the twists surprised me. However, I think the ending was a bit too grand? Or just, a bit excessive. The mystery was great, and I was in suspense for most of the story. Evelyn’s murder is a whole lot more intricate than it seems.

*Aiden Bishop. I honestly felt so so sorry for him. Blackheath seemed like a barbaric place that only served to make people lose their minds. However, Aiden took it in stride, and it was really amazing how he didn’t go crazy with all the clues, and all the secrets and horrors that he kept discovering. My head was bursting and I wasn’t even experiencing it in real life. Even though we know so little about him and who he really is as a person-besides the few glimpses we catch when he’s trying to control his hosts-he still seemed like a complete and great character.

*Eight Hosts. The way that the hosts influenced Aiden and his actions was really cool, and also how he personally tried to fight some of the urges his hosts felt. I thought that, at the end, he’d taken a bit of each of his hosts personalities with him which was good.


Quote: “Anger’s solid; it has weight. You can beat your fists against it. Pity’s a fog to become lost within.”

*Confusing. I was honestly really slow at getting a hang of the story. I was so confused for about the first 20% of the story while I tried to wrap my head around how the different hosts worked, and what the rules were. It also didn’t help being in Sebastian’s head, but it was still important and I liked it once I understood.


Quote: “Too little information and you’re blind, too much and you’re blinded.”

I really loved this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! This was at first confusing, but it turned out to be a great historical mystery with a very unique and amazing plot. However, I couldn’t give this 5 stars because my confusion made me not like this story at the start.

One sentence summary: A unique historical mystery with a great main character.

Overall, 4 stars!!

★★★★☆

Have you read The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle? What did you think? Have you read a historical mystery similar to this one? Chat with me in the comments below!

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco – Review

Welcome bookworms! Today’s review is of Stalking Jack The Ripper. I really enjoyed this, and I think for a debut novel, it was great. However, there were some aspects that annoyed me, or that I would have loved for it to be explored some more.

Book: Stalking Jack The Ripper

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.


Quote: “Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.”

*Audrey Rose. Audrey was a great character. She was a very bold girl who was determined to excel at a job that was deemed a ‘man’s job’. She believed in equality and didn’t let social norms confine her. However, some issue are mentioned below.

*Mystery. First of all, I loved the idea of solving Jack The Ripper’s murderous reign in England. Many of the clues that the police did use back in 1888 or received were used through-out the story. The final plot-twist was shocking and the motive very twisted. However, the person who did it was partly predictable.

*Historical Aspect. I love historical fiction, and historical mystery fiction is my second most favorite genre ever. I’m especially very very fond of the Victorian Era and I loved that the story was set during it. I think it was pretty accurate in portraying 1888 London but I am no expert. However, I still thoroughly enjoyed this part of the story.

*Thomas Cresswell and Audrey Rose. Thomas was amazing. His flippant impropriety was amazing, and though he is sometimes very rude and arrogant, he was an amazing character. He and Audrey Rose were great together, both seeming to hate each other, or at least Audrey, and trying to out-smart and out-do the other. I wouldn’t say they were the best Sherlock and Watson duo, but they were great together outside the mystery.

*Clues. There were a lot of clues sprinkled around the story, and the cast of potential murderers was small enough to raise your suspicion of every person.

*Forensic investigation. It was fascinating to learn about how autopsies were carried out during Audrey Rose’s time. It was a bit disgusting, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever want to perform one or even see a cadaver, but it was fascinating and very informative.

*The Ending. The ending was disgusting, twisted, creepy, and horrifying. I had an inkling about who it was, but actually reading the full reason why the person did the crime was revolting. And for that reason, I really liked it.


Quote: “There’s nothing better than a little danger dashed with some romance.”

*Audrey Rose. She is a great character, however, her mystery solving skills were not that great in my opinion. She was very stubborn and determined to prove that her father was the murderer. It annoyed me that she wasn’t very open to the possibility that it could be someone else.

*Indian Heritage? Through-out the story, we get several hints that Audrey Rose’s is part Indian, and she talks about saris and Indian food etc… but it’s almost like an after-thought. Something to say, “I’m not entirely white, I’m part Indian too”. I would have loved for this to be explored a lot more.

*Too many men. This has been pointed out by a lot of reviewers already: Audrey Rose is literally the only female character besides her aunt and cousin. I would have loved more time to meet Audrey Rose’s cousin because she sounds like a great character who was unfortunately cut-out to make more room to showcase Audrey Rose’s ‘feminism’. (I also personally think that her cousin might have been a great partner for Audrey Rose in solving the mystery.) It would have been nice to see some other female characters who are also bold and who fight in their own special ways against the social norms of the society.


Quote: “Wield your assets like a blade, Cousin. No man has invented a corset for our brains. Let them think they rule the world. It’s a queen who sits on that throne. Never forget that.”

In the end, I really liked this, even though there were some issues. I would recommend it, and I really hope you enjoy it if you read it.

One sentence summary: An engaging historical mystery with great characters, and an intriguing, yet predictable plot.

Overall, 4 shining stars.

★★★★☆

Have you read Stalking Jack The Ripper? What did you think? Did you find any of the things that I mentioned problematic as well? Let’s chat in the comments!