My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand

My Plain Jane by Cynthia HandMy Plain Jane by Cynthia HandBrodi AshtonJodi Meadows
Published by HarperCollins on June 26th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Pages: 464
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I really wanted to love this. So badly. My Lady Jane was so so much fun when I read it last year, but I just felt like both the humour and the story were pretty bland in this book. I felt like the previous book was a hilarious historical comedy; this one was a meh Jane Eyre retelling.

One StarOne Star

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi MeadowsMy Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Published by HarperCollins on June 7th 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 512
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The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.
At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.
Like that could go wrong

“My lady,” he said gallantly, “I’m willing to stop whenever you are. Perhaps you’d be better off sticking to more womanly pursuits, like embroidery or music or-“
She bashed him in the ribs.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken by Kiersten WhiteAnd I Darken by Kiersten White
Published by Random House Children's Books on June 28th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 496
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NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.
From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.

“So the question becomes, Daughter of the Dragon, what will you sacrifice? What will you let be taken away so that you, too, can have power?”

4 1/2 stars. This book is totally fucked up. In the best possible way.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie BerryThe Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
Published by Penguin Young Readers Group on April 12th 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 496
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I must write this account, and when I have finished, I will burn it.    Buried deep within the archives of a convent in medieval France is an untold story of love, loss, and wonder and the two girls at the heart of it all.    Dolssa is an upper-crust city girl with a secret lover and an uncanny gift. Branded a heretic, she's on the run from the friar who condemned her mother to death by fire, and wants Dolssa executed, too.   Botille is a matchmaker and a tavern-keeper, struggling to keep herself and her sisters on the right side of the law in their seaside town of Bajas.   When their lives collide by a dark riverside, Botille rescues a dying Dolssa and conceals her in the tavern, where an unlikely friendship blooms. Aided by her sisters and Symo, her surly but loyal neighbor, Botille nurses Dolssa back to health and hides her from her pursuers.  But all of Botille's tricks, tales, and cleverness can't protect them forever, and when the full wrath of the Church bears down upon Bajas, Dolssa's passion and Botille's good intentions could destroy the entire village.

The pure song of a nightingale, a rossinhol, rang across the water, ending in a trill. It was an hour for sprites and fairies. What magic might lurk among the riverbank grasses? Anything was possible just before dawn.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Jane Steele by Lyndsay FayeJane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
Published by Penguin on March 22nd 2016
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Pages: 400
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“Reader, I murdered him.”   A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre “last confessions” of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement.  Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.   Burning to know whether she is in fact the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito, and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents—the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, and the gracious Sikh butler Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair’s violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him—body, soul, and secrets—without revealing her own murderous past?

The first 1/3-1/2 of this book was really great.

One StarOne StarOne Star

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea by Ruta SepetysSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Published by Penguin on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 400
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For readers of Between Shades of Gray and All the Light We Cannot See, international bestselling author Ruta Sepetys returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in one another tested with each step closer toward safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

I try, I really do, but Sepetys’s war stories do nothing for me. Yes, I know I’m in the minority. I was one of few who didn’t love her debut – Between Shades of Gray – and much preferred her second book – Out of the Easy. Now she returns to World War II and, once again, I don’t get it.

One StarOne Star

Front Lines by Michael Grant

Front Lines by Michael GrantFront Lines by Michael Grant
Published by Egmont UK on January 28th 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 480
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It’s WWII, but not as you remember it from history lessons! This time the girls aren’t stitching socks for the brave boys at the front. Meet Rio Richlin and her friends Frangie Marr and Rainy Schulterman, three of the newest recruits in the US Armed Forces. They stand shoulder to shoulder with the boys from home as they take on Hitler’s army.
In the face of reluctant colonels and sceptical sergeants, the soldier girls must prove their guts, strength, and resourcefulness as soldiers. Rio has grown up in a world where men don’t cry and girls are supposed to care only about ‘money and looks’. But she has always known that there is something wrong with this system and something else in her. Far from home and in the battlefields, Rio discovers exactly who she is and what she can accomplish.

“You’re a girl.”
“No, sir, I’m a sergeant.”

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf By Wolf by Ryan GraudinWolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
on October 20th 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 400
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Her story begins on a train.
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, they host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The prize? An audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball in Tokyo.
Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele's twin brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and stay true to her mission?
From the author of The Walled City comes a fast-paced and innovative novel that will leave you breathless.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy SchlitzThe Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
Published by Candlewick Press on September 8th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Historical
Pages: 400
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Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself—because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of—a woman with a future. Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz relates Joan’s journey from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!), taking readers on an exploration of feminism and housework; religion and literature; love and loyalty; cats, hats, and bunions.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnisA Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Published by HarperCollins on October 6th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
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Mindy McGinnis, the acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, combines murder, madness, and mystery in a beautifully twisted gothic historical thriller perfect for fans of novels such as Asylum and The Diviners as well as television's True Detective and American Horror Story.
Grace Mae is already familiar with madness when family secrets and the bulge in her belly send her to an insane asylum—but it is in the darkness that she finds a new lease on life. When a visiting doctor interested in criminal psychology recognizes Grace's brilliant mind beneath her rage, he recruits her as his assistant. Continuing to operate under the cloak of madness at crime scenes allows her to gather clues from bystanders who believe her less than human. Now comfortable in an ethical asylum, Grace finds friends—and hope. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who will bring her shaky sanity and the demons in her past dangerously close to the surface.

One StarOne Star