Tag Archive: historical-fiction



When the Future Comes Too Soon (Malayan #2)When the Future Comes Too Soon by Selina Siak Chin Yoke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds the first book in the series, I jumped at the opportunity to read this second book. It continues the history of Malaya from the next generation dealing with WWII. It gave me a perspective I hadn’t had before of what happened to that part of the world. My education seems rather USA restrictive. It seems if you are teaching history that it should be more global. They are called World Wars.

Though I miss the main character of the first book, we are introduced to a new generation dealing with new governments and loyalties. I found the new main character equally engaging.

The author uses some words or phrases to help the reader feel the ambiance of the time and place without it causing a distraction. And to get to hear about the female point of view on both of these books is so rewarding. I love Herstory! There is not enough of it out there!

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The Witchfinder's SisterThe Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read this book. It was one of those books I think everyone should read.

We know what happened, Salem Witch Trials and all. As a human being, this topic should make you sick. As a woman, you should see all the warnings of letting anyone think they know better for you than you know for yourself. As a religious person, you should be wary of folks that don’t read the whole book and think they are hand in hand with the deities. This whole subject screams that scripture that should most be used “Judge not lest Ye be judged.” And in the case of most of these thumpers of parts and not other parts of the Holy book, my dad quoted better than anyone. ‘The Bible is God’s Word. SO “Judas hung himself.” “Go Ye and do likewise.”‘ Too bad he wasn’t around to speak his mind to people like the brother in this book.

As much as I think this is a good book for everyone to read, it is so HARD to read. It wasn’t the fault of the author. She did a fine job with her research on the subject and kept the story moving. I loved her ability to give the old English feel to the story without making it boring. You knew what was going to happen virtually hiding your eyes because you don’t want to see, but still wanted to see how the author was going to pull it off. She didn’t disappoint.

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The Shadow LandThe Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THIS is my kind of book! Okay, it isn’t fantasy or sci-fi but the elements I love in those stories are here. Adventure, new horizons, philosophies, some things to learn and think about. Those are all present in this book. I am sad that it has ended and think I may have to read it again sometime with Audible version. The text-to-speech was great but with this taking place in Bulgaria, I needed someone to pronounce words better than the British female robot. Which usually works quite well for me, but there were some names that when I was reading with my eyes too, I could see they were not pronounced anywhere NEAR right.

The main character is well developed, the secondaries not as deeply but the story wasn’t about them so that was okay by me. With the person so developed and the world so real I felt I was watching a movie. In fact, this would make a marvelous movie, there is just so much depth here!

The time of the book moves back and forth from about WWII and now. The political themes presented seem very poignant, and apropos warnings to our current system and how delicate it is.

But my favorite part of the book, though the saddest, was how music played a part in the day to day survival of the musician. I don’t want to expound on this as it would be a spoiler. Needless to say, it gave me the unavoidable courage to face the cold of my studio and play the piano for as long as my fingers could move, and then left me with a fire to get back in there as soon and as often as I can as Spring brings warmer weather.

Oh, how I wish there were a book two. I don’t know how it could be done as none of the situations or people remain in the right places for that. But I did want to see what happens now that the main character has made friends with the musician’s son. What could they give each other? Will they become more than friends? And what about the taxi driver? Is there happiness in his future? What a cool guy he was! Like I said, I am left wanting more and that may have to happen by re-reading with audio.

By the way, I was given this version for review by NetGalley dot com. Please, if you get the chance to read this, do. I hope you love it as I did.

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Say Goodbye for NowSay Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do you remember ‘Pay It Forward’? If you live under a rock or somehow never got to see it, I’m about to give a spoiler. Skip to the next paragraph where I will strictly talk about this book. The author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, wrote that book which became the most up-lifting and crash ending movie. I bought the movie because I loved that concept so much. But the ending of the movie, when the main character was killed, keeps me from watching it ever again. Ms. Hyde, though set up the foundation of Pay It Forward which is a marvelous way for folks to live. Maybe I will buck up and give it another try for the meat of the movie (or read the book). I would have loved to know that about the author before I began reading this book. But unfortunately, that information was in the back of the book after the book club questions.

A series of events in the 1950s gives the reader so many character-lines to follow that one wonders where this is leading. A wolf-dog hit by a car. An abused but wiser-than-his-age boy tries to find help for this poor creature. Seem to make it look like a simple book, a boy and his dog, kind of thing. But the story gets deeper and deeper. Some surprises happen as opposed to how the reader may think they would. The story was well-written and draws one in. The characters are deeper than some books offer. Sometimes I wanted more. But I think the author knew how to pull us through.

Yes, there is a bit a romance but it isn’t the leading subject. But neither is the dog. Have I made this vague enough to incite interest? Don’t come into the book thinking, like I did that it was going to be a sweet book about a boy and his dog. This book is worth the read. I wish there was a book two as I already miss these character and wonder what happens next.

By the way, I received this book free of charge from NetGalley. Thank you!

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Everything Belongs to UsEverything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

NetGalley gave me this book to read and review. Thank you.

Maybe it’s the busyness of the holidays or my usual ADD, but I found this book confusing. I must’ve read the first six chapters 5 times. Once I was understanding whose point of view I was reading, I found the story engaging enough. In fact, I wanted to know what was happening to the characters. But…

The ending was dull, the ending was cheap, and I felt like I had wasted my time. I wanted to feel that the characters had achieved at least the title of the book. But it just left me flat.

That said, taking my ADD and the holidays into consideration, maybe you will love this book. And maybe I need to read it again someday.

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DodgerDodger by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was having trouble getting into my local electronic library. I know now that it was due to the card expiring. But I decided to try Washoe County and got in with my old card. This Overdrive version came up and I thought, what the heck? Can’t go wrong with a Terry Pratchett. (R.I.P)

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but I seem to be reading a lot of books that are centered in the late 1800s –early 1900s. (Victoria, The Diaries of Ethel Turner, The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds, Out of the Past–sort of) so this fit right in. Mr. Pratchett brought into the story some very far-fetched concepts like how Dodger nearly gets a shave by the crazy Sweeny Todd and meets Queen Victoria etc. I don’t think what I just wrote is a spoiler as it is in the book blurb.

Anyway, since the only copy I could get was the audio version I spent a couple days catching up on projects while listening and occasionally laughing out loud. Though not as funny as other books by the same author this one is fun and the story one adventure after another. English humor is best!

I need to read more of his stuff like this. By the way, the narrator, Stephen Briggs, was fabulous!

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Simon Ships Out A heroic cat at sea. Based on a true storySimon Ships Out A heroic cat at sea. Based on a true story by Jacky Donovan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It hasn’t been that long ago that I got a phone call while I was at my writers’ meeting that my Panda, a beautiful tuxedo cat, had passed away while playing with his cat mate. Must have been a heart attack, we had decided, but we miss him lots. So when I saw the cover of this book with a near twin to Panda, I had to pick it up. It didn’t hurt that it was free. (Now it is $3.99)

What a great way to teach a historical event, through the eyes of the cat, and sometimes the dog. These two pets are on a ship that is in the war. This is not from an American point of view but rather from the British side. That is a part of history not taught in our US schools so this is a cool way to teach about ship and the war and how it might have felt to be a cat with bombs and guns going off. Poor little creatures can’t understand yet they do their best for the nice people who take care of them.

Often I found the narrative from the cat’s mind seemed either too smart or not smart enough. In other words, in my life with cats this point of view often didn’t ring true. But then again, who knows what those furry friends think anyway? It’s worth the read, and I think sailors would love it even more.

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The Dangerous Thaw of Etta CapstoneThe Dangerous Thaw of Etta Capstone by Karen J. Hasley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I want to thank my friend, Kimberly, for suggesting this read to me. I didn’t think I would like it. I’m not into cowboy westerns. Even though the main character is a strong female, this felt like the shows my dad used to love to watch. Those made me feel gritty, dusty, and tired. But I think the book is fairly close to how it must have been back then (1870?) in a Texas town. Had Kimberly not been the kind of reader I respect and share common tastes in literature, I might not have tried. I’m glad I followed through, though, and read it.

Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful feature on Amazon. You can borrow up to ten ebooks and there is no expiration date. When my friend suggested this one I was able to grab it and save it for when I was ready to read it.

Still, the old dusty-gritty feelings followed me into the book. Thank goodness I loved the characters. Etta, main character, is the kind of woman that protects those she loves but take no guff from anyone. It is obvious she grew into the person she is when we meet her. I like how we learn her history and are witness to her present growth.

Though there is a little romance in this story, that is a minor storyline. And it isn’t all squishy or angsty like a lot of modern books portray it. Just two grown ups who respect each other and their pasts and care for each other deeply. It’s a more natural flow of things, I think. And the story is much more about Etta and her friends. Looking at what I just wrote makes it look boring. But this story is strong. It leaves you feeling good, which is rare. Ms. Karen J. Hasley (author) made sure that all the threads winding through the book are all tied up at the end so you don’t feel a need for a book two. The only reason I might want one is that I will miss Etta and friends.

I think anyone, male or female, would like it.

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A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over a decade ago, I met an online friend that would change or at least, modify my life. I met Judith on LiveJournal, you remember that old site, better than MySpace but not quite as social as FaceBook. Judith was chatting in her journal about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo scene (Which resulted in my first novel being written between the Ides of March and the Ides of April. I didn’t finish the novel then as we had to move to a new city and I just couldn’t stay with it. But I added more than enough wordage to that novel in November 2002 to “win”. (First of 10 or 11 novels since.)

The other thing Judith introduced me to was BookCrossing.com. The concept that grabbed me with BC was how my read book could be recycled to others and then the new reader and the old could discuss this story. The book could travel even when I couldn’t, so it felt like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. It is fun to see where your book could end up and the friendships that develop over said book. I still belong but since my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I am happy for the invention of Kindle and other e-readers. So I release far fewer books nowadays.

Besides Judith, what do the above paragraphs have in common, and what do they have to do with ‘A Tale for the Time Being’? The art of writing and the art of reading. Both concepts play strong in this story. Rather than a message in a bottle, this message floats ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox in layers of freezer bags. The writer was in Tokyo, the reader/finder in Canada. Years separate the two. Yet a bond is formed. Oh, yeah, Judith read and reviewed this and hooked me in. I think she didn’t like the Zen parts of the book. I found that part delightful. I have to admit that most of the book is believable whereas the Zen bits are a little more ‘magical’. But the title twinkles with that magic. If you read it right.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I actually read it one and a third times. I borrowed the Kindle version from the library. Between reading it on my Kindle app on my Tablet and listening on my old Kindle text-to-speech, I managed to get to about 36% in. Then I found that my library also had the OverDrive version. So I restarted reading the book with the author’s voice. That pumped up my ratings for this wonderful tale. Each layer of depth into the story has its own built-in amazements. Level one, tree book, and the Kindle version, there are many footnotes and definitions to help with a deeper understanding of that time in history or that country, language. But the narration includes minor helps. Hearing a voice say the Japanese names or words adds to the believability of the whole story. Ms. Ruth Ozeki has an impeccable voice and narration, her variations of voices for each character supreme! I enjoyed rereading the first third with her help. I felt I gained deeper understanding just by hearing her. Please, if you get the chance to pair both versions, go for it!

By the way, I want to thank Jonelle Patrick and her Mysteries and website: http://jonellepatrick.me/ for introducing me to many contemporary Japanese subjects presented in A Tale for the Time Being. At least I was forewarned.

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COME, THE DARK: (Forever Girl Series Book Two)COME, THE DARK: by Rebecca Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A while back I picked this Kindle edition for free from Kindle Unlimited. I was lucky to find book one for free soon after. I’m glad I was able to work it out that way. This was a fun read.

This book two, could have been read separately as the main characters from book one are not in this book. The concept of “Forever Girl” is explained fairly well. So I don’t think anyone would feel lost if they had to read these out of order.

One of the things I felt most off with this book, that didn’t occur in book one, is the language and historical issues feel unmet. Our main character is able to smoothly make the process from modern-day Georgia to the years of the Salem Witch Trials with no one noticing her modern speech or clothing. But if you get used to that kind of thing and remember it only as a story, that isn’t a problem.

The book begins with a rape/incest trigger warning. If you have had these things happen to you, then be warned. Even though the main character is able to leave the situation it is always in her mind and is brought with her, as such a situation would live within anyone. One of the things that bothers me is: If you go back in time and hopefully fix the problems of the past, you could cease to exist, and the newborn babe you’ve left behind. If Pa had remained a loving father the babe would cease to exist, too.

Though the main character remembers a time when her parents and life were happy, before the darkness, why does she never wonder if she could go back and help her folks by her newfound abilities? Maybe the baby she only knew one day would cease to exist, but she could save the lives of those she once loved. But this poor girl only remembers her one-day-old baby.

Regardless of the problems I mentioned above, the story is suspenseful and is quite the adventure. Ms. Rebecca Hamilton is quite the writer. There were editing errors, but the story kept me involved so I couldn’t get involved with the mistakes. And I can’t wait to see if there is more to the series, even with the problems I’ve mentioned.

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