Saturday, February 26, 2022

CHALLENGE: Historical Reading Challenge, February Books


Only two historical fiction books this month, and neither delivered the great story I was hoping for. Neither was terrible, but neither was one I'm pushing on to people to read. They both had a bit of buzz at one time and I'm glad to have them off my mental TBR list.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Washington Black is a child slave on a Barbados plantation when he is chosen to be a manservant for the owner's brother, Christopher. Christopher is a naturalist, inventor, and philosopher who takes Wash under his wing. Christopher, or Titch, is against slavery, but seems to have less problems living off the money the plantation gives the family. After an incident, Wash and Titch go on the run so protect Washington. They end up in the north of Canada, and then Titch ends up having to survive on his own, in Nova Scotia. 
Anyway, there is lots of travelling, lots of adventures for a young black man in the 19th century travelling the world. I was a little disappointed as I wasn't as interested in Washington Black as I was Half-Blood Blues, also a historical novel by Edugyan. I didn't like Titch or Wash that much and didn't feel like I got to know them. It reminded me of The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. Start with slavery atrocities, get away from the plantation, end up in Nova Scotia where life isn't all that much better.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Historical fiction taking place in two time periods - 1940s and 1980s in Seattle. Our serious topic here was Japanese internment, but our story's main character is a Chinese man/boy. There are strong jazz motifs in the book as well. As thirteen years olds, Henry and Keiko develop a friendship at school as two visible minorities in the 1940s. After Pearl Harbour Keiko and her family are taken to an internment camp, but Henry tries to stay in touch with his love. 
I was put off by an inaccuracy at the very beginning which made me question more than I might have. (Henry's son was involved in an online grief group in 1986. Nope, that wasn't happening. I remember 1986) So that kind of thing made it hard to believe. Henry spends time in the 1980s at a hotel basement where all the belongings from the 1940s Japanese interment people were still being stored, which also strained credubility that so much was still there. The ending was what you would expect, again, not bad but predictable.
It wasn't awful, but it wasn't the compelling epic story I want in historical fiction.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books Too Good to Review Properly


Top Ten Tuesday topic this week is books too good to review properly. Although I am sure I have tried many times, lol. Pretty much just ten almost perfect books.

For future Top Ten topics and posts, visit That Artsy Reader Girl

Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding

Mabel Murple - Sheree Fitch

Evening Class - Maeve Binchy

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

The Invention of Hugo Cabret -  Brian Selznick

Souvenir of Canada - Douglas Coupland

Einstein's Dreams - Alan Lightman

Finding Wonder: Three Girls Who Changed Science - Jeannine Atkins

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Love Freebie - Books I Want to Read with Love in the Title


It's a Love Freebie this week for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I'm going with Books I Want to Read with Love in The Title.

This is Not My Life: A Memoir of Love, Prison, and Other Complications by Diane Schoemperlen

Love Marriage by VV Ganeshananthan

Dewey Decimal System of Love by Josephine Carr

Love and Olives by Jenna Evans Welch

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality by Edward Frenkel

The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honoree Fannone Jeffers

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Friday, February 4, 2022

CHALLENGE: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

 Marg, The Intrepid Reader, is hosting a Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. The details include:

Each month, a new post dedicated to the HF Challenge will be created where you can add the links for the books you have read. To participate, you only have to follow the rules:

Add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please use the direct URL that will guide us directly to your review)
Any sub-genre of historical fiction is accepted (Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, History/Non-Fiction, etc.)

During the following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels:

20th Century Reader - 2 books
Victorian Reader - 5 books
Renaissance Reader - 10 books
Medieval - 15 books
Ancient History - 25 books
Prehistoric - 50+ books

I expect I'll be between the Renaissance Reader and Medieval Reader with 10-15 books. I have a few mystery series that are historical as well as mystery. 

Here's my January Reads:

The Apollo Murders - Chris Hadfield

Set in the late 1960s- early 1970s, this Cold War space thriller was a crazy ride! I think most of the information from the space activity is correct, except it is all made up for Apollo 18 flight.

Ashes to Ashes - Mel Starr 
Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff, is under contract to solve problems in late 1300s England for the Lord of his manor. This is the eighth book in the series, and they are just right. Hugh progresses through the series - marrying, have children, and healing people at the same time as solving murders. Similar in feel to Brother Cadfael books.

Miss Moriarty, I Presume? - Sherry Thomas
Charlotte Holmes hides behind her imaginary brother, Sherlock, as it wouldn't work for a woman to be a detective. But Charlotte is just as observant and insightful as her famous 'brother'. Her sister is writing the tales of her exploits. So imagine Sherlock Holmes, but all estrogen. Here Charlotte goes up against her nemisis, Moriarty.

My Plain Jane - Cynthia Hand
A wonderful reimagining of Jane Eyre, but here Jane is friends with Charlotte Bronte. The book  is set in pre-Victorian times, as the narrator mentioned a few times. Completely irreverant while at the same time staying pretty faithful to the original. Very impressive and tons of fun!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books with Name/Characters in the Title

Half of these are titles I've read in January, and the other half are books I hope to read soon. For more posts, and future ideas, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Miss Moriarty I Presume? by Sherry Thomas
Wonderful play on all the Arthur Conan Doyle characters in this series. Charlotte Holmes is the best in this sixth book in the series.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand
This was a hoot! Jane is of course Jane Eyre, and this is a retelling, but also reinvented as Jane is a chum of Charlotte Bronte at school, and they are involved with the Society for Relocation of Spirits. There is a lot the same, and a lot that is not but it is all fun. There are more Janie books - Lady Jane and CalamityJane. Expect to hear more about them this year from me.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler by EL Konigsburg
Quick read of a classic children's book.

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
I've been wanting another DiCamillo book with the magic of The Tale of Despereaux. This one isn't quite it, but it was a good children's book about friendship.

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
I picked this one because it was the top borrowed audiobook from my library and in this season of Truth and Reconciliation, it was a good book to read. A little graphic, as the main character is a cyber-sex worker, but by the end I liked it more as Jonny tells about his childhood. 

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
I'm already listening to this one, and Moriarty always tells a great tale. Alice so far has woken up after passing out at a gym, and she appears to have lost ten years. I'm just as confused as she is!

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
I loved Half-Blood Blues, and Washington Black is a Canada Reads nominee this year.

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
I've had this on my Kindle app for a while, and I can't wait to read it. I sometimes like a heart-breaking book and this looks like one.

The Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbuty by Marc Levy
This is one of those free kindle books I got during World Book Week. I have no idea what it is about, but the cover sure is pretty.

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
I got this book from my #TBTBSanta Lara. I've had my eye on this book since it made the 2018 Short List for the Women's Prize for Fiction. A little fantasy, and a little historical fiction.