Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Brotherband Chronicles (#1-5) – John Flanagan

 

Remember how much I LOVED the Ranger’s Apprentice books? (Here is the link to my review of the first of that series) All 12 of them?

I was so psyched when I picked up the Brotherband Chronicles and I am very happy to report that I love them just as much! Continue reading

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Filed under Action, Adventure, Historical Fiction, Tween Fiction

The Immortal Empire #1 -3 by Kate Locke

I read The Immortal Empire series by Kate Locke a while ago.

God Save the Queen – #1
The Queen is Dead – #2
Long Live the Queen – #3

An alternate history, where an immortal Queen Victoria still rules and the  Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires. Goblins – terrifying creatures that seem to be a mix of vampires and werewolves – live underground. There is an uneasy balance between the undead Aristocrats, those of mixed parentage (aristo + human = “havies”) and regular humans. Continue reading

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Filed under Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Steampunk

The Inventor’s Secret – Andrea Cremer

The Inventors Secret

I read this a while ago but obviously am really behind on posting. I think the sequel is coming out this month, so I figured it was a good time to post this review! Continue reading

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The Rangers Apprentice Books 4 – 12 by John Flanagan

OKAY, I admit defeat.  I can barely find time to make it to the computer let alone to post about what I’ve read, so I’m going to do a mass post on the rest of the Ranger’s Apprentice Series.   I loved them ALL and I can’t wait to share this series with my son when he gets old enough!  The characters just get better and better, and the stories remain interesting and fresh. Love love love!

Instead of reviewing them all, I’m going to list the rest of the series with brief comments!  You can see my posts on Books #1, #2, and #3 here, here and here respectively!

So here we go… Continue reading

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Filed under Adventure, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Tween Fiction, Young Adult Books

The Spiriglass Charade (Stoker & Holmes #2)

The Spiritglass Charade

After reading The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason, I was quite happy to delve into the second book in this series, The Spiritglass Charade.

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are on the case again, this time helping out the friend of the Princess. After the death of her mother and the disappearance (and presumed death) of her younger brother, Willa Aston has turned to spiritual mediums.  Fraud, murder, and manipulation abound, as Mina and Evaline try to track down what is going on and who is behind the move to discredit Willa’s mental state.  Throw in the re-emergence of vampires in London, a dash of potential love interests, and a hefty dose of steampunk and you have a fun fictional tale! Continue reading

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Filed under Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Young Adult Books

Steadfast (Elemental Masters #9)

Steadfast

I’m quite a fan of Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series and just finished Steadfast.  Most of the other books are about Masters, but this book is about “regular” Elemental Magicians.  Continue reading

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Filed under Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Waistcoats and Weaponry

Waistcoats and Weaponry

I was so thrilled when Book #3 of the Finishing School Series came out!  Waistcoats & Weaponry follows in the excellent footsteps of Books #1 (Etiquette and Espionage) and #2 (Curtsies and Conspiracies) which I re-read right before reading this one.  I actually ALSO re-read the entire Parasol Protectorate Series (beginning with Soulless) to re-acquaint myself with that world (and okay, because I love those books).

Sophronia is now in her second year of Madame Geraldine’s unusual finishing school, learning the secret tricks of the trade, including wielding a bladed fan and developing her Seductive Looks.

When things go wrong at home for her classmate and friend Sidheag (Lady Maccon), Sophronia and her team (including Dimity, the sootie Soap, and Lord Felix Mersey) band together to help get Sidheag back to her pack.  On the way they uncover plots and face down with enemies – and Sophronia must decide where her loyalties lie.

With a little bit of romance, a lot of covert activity, and Sophronia’s creative style, this is a perfect companion to the other books in the series.  I highly enjoyed it!

Sophronia is growing up – but remains quirky and altogether too curious for polite society (although this makes her excellent as a covert recruit).

Dimity is still fluffy, but she’s showing more and more backbone, which I like.

Soap and Lord Mersey add plenty of opportunities for flirting and confused feelings, which is the only area where Sophronia is at a bit of a loss (though not a complete loss – flirting is a valuable skill after all).

If you haven’t tried out Gail Carriger yet, do!!  If you’re an adult, start here. If you’re looking for strictly YA, this series is for you!

5/5

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Filed under Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Young Adult Books

The Silent Governess

The Silent Governess

The Silent Governess  by Julie Klassen is admittedly another re-read for me.  I own a copy, and it’s been sitting collecting dust on my shelf for a while.  I decided I felt like another go, so here we are!

Olivia Keene, forced to flee her home unexpectedly, ends up in a predicament she could never have imagined.  Having inadvertently overheard a very important secret, Lord Bradley is determined to keep an eye on her.  Since the revelation of his secret would cause him to lose everything, Lord Bradley bullies Olivia into taking a post at his home.

With little choice, Miss Keene takes on her role in the Nursery at Brightwell Court, and she soon discovers that her young charges are delightful and that life there is not so bad after all – even if she is temporarily mute.

This is an agreeable historical fiction.  It is by no means dramatic and the plot is not overly complicated and mostly relies on revealing everyone’s secrets oh so slowly.  Of course things are more and less simple than they seem.

Olivia is playing the price for her over-active curiosity.  She is stubborn, a bit independent, and has a temper – but none of these measures in the extreme. She is also kind and not immune to the charms of the children in the nursery.

Lord Bradley is conflicted, broody and suspicious, but not without moments of happiness (mostly when interacting with his young cousins).

The story is sprinkled liberally with religion, and as much as I’m not normally one to enjoy Christian fiction, it does fit with the era I suppose.

Overall, this is an enjoyable, not overly complicated book that fits my desire for a relatively light historical fiction (19th-century) with a bit of romance.  (There is only a BIT of romance – I wouldn’t say it is the main focus, even though it’s sort of trying to be).

3.5/5

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

Lady Thief (Scarlet #2)

Lady Theif

After finishing Scarlet  by A. C. Gaughen, of course I picked up Lady Thief. I do love a sequel!

Now that Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, her future seems even less certain.  Lord Gisbourne is back, only to blackmail her into staying by his side and acting the dutiful wife while the royal court comes to Nottinghamshire for the appointment of a new Sheriff.  Prince John, angered over Scarlet’s defiant past and the secret of her lineage that even she doesn’t know, has plans for both Scarlet and Nottinghamshire.

If Scarlet can play her part, she might have a future with the man she loves.  If not, she might lose the chance of any future at all.

Warning: if you haven’t read Scarlet and want to avoid spoilers for THAT book, don’t read ahead.

….

….

Okay, you’ve been warned.

So this book obviously takes up where the last one left off, and Rob is dealing with the trauma of his recent torture while Scarlet seems to be trying to figure out what the heck will happen to her and with them.  Particularly since Rob is struggling with violent nightmares that have the unintended consequence of him beating on her when he’s still sleeping / not himself.  Romantic, eh?

Scarlet seems to lose a lot of her tough outer shell in this book. It’s almost like as she puts on a dress she loses her strong-girl persona.  Sure she’s making a huge and dangerous personal sacrifice, but now she needs to find time to cry in the arms of her true love when the going gets a little tough.  It doesn’t suit her.  She’s like a fly caught in a spider’s web, or a puppet with someone else controlling the strings.

The story is now focused on the nobility swarming around, and Scarlet’s past and present, and much less on helping the people of Nottinghamshire. It was a whole book of “women have no power, men have all the power and evil men have the most power and are probably gonna screw you all over”.

I think I’ll give it a 3.5/5.  I will read the last one, but I don’t know how excited I am about it!  (Plus it’s not out yet, so there will be a wait).

 

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Scarlet (Scarlet #1)

ScarletUS.indd

Robin Hood has never been one of my all-time favourite tales. (Neither has King Aurthur, so maybe English heroes don’t really do it for me?)  I do have a soft place in my heart for both the Disney animated feature, and for the movie Robin Hood, Men in Tights, and I’ve read at least one decent Robin Hood Adaptation (The Outlaws of Sherwood  by Robin McKinley, which I read ages ago).  So I didn’t have high expectations when it came to Scarlet  which is, naturally, a Robin Hood retelling.

Scarlet, known to most as Will Scarlet, has been careful to keep her true identity a secret.  Only Rob and his band know that Scarlet, a skinny, agile, and quick thief is actually a woman.  But even they don’t know where she is from or who she truly is.

Robin Hood and his band are trying desperately to keep the people of Nottinghamshire from starving under the steep taxation imposed by the Sheriff.

When Gisbourne, a thief hunter with a special interest in Scarlet, comes to town, only her fierce loyalty to Robin keep Scarlet from running, and keep her fighting.  Scarlet’s true identity will come out – for better or for worse.

This is a pretty dark retelling, which suits it’s times better I think.  It really underlines the power struggles of the times, including the gross power imbalance between men and women.

Both Scarlet and Rob have haunting secrets in their past.  Scarlet makes a fine addition to the band – although there is a weird John – Scarlet – Rob love-triangle which is kind of annoying. (That could just be my dislike for love triangles in general speaking). Scarlet is tough, which I appreciate, and she is incredibly stubborn. She’s strong, but so very vulnerable, and pretty naive when it comes to love.  She’s  flawed and she’s got issues, including feeling guilty for a lot of things she can’t control. Although I liked Scarlet, I could see how she could be a very annoying character to read.  I do take issue with the fact that there is zero explanation for how she became this apparently crazy talented thief who can move about the shadows like she owns them.  With her background, it’s a little unbelievable that she suddenly develops all these mad skills.

Rob is brooding and pretty full of this burning anger he apparently picked up during the crusades. He is fierce in his defense of the people, but his noble sensibilities seem out of place with the rest of his personality.

John is a large also-somewhat-moody ladies man, and I can’t tell if he’s supposed to be humorous. I found him annoyingly overbearing. Both Rob and  John are annoyingly overbearing, come to think of it, just in different ways.

All in all, it was an interesting book and worth the read!  Especially since there is a sequel!

4/5

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Young Adult Books