March 2021 Anticipated Releases

This list is all going to be historical fiction. It seems in the historical romance genre most of the releases are continuations of series that I have not read. Other genres, I just could not find any books that I would be interested in reading. Be sure to comment and let me know of any books that I might have left out!

In eighteenth century London, Nella was once a healer but has taken those talent to the more evil side of things. She now runs a business that makes poisons to sell to women who are looking to kill a man. A young, preteen, girl comes into Nella’s shop one winter night. This sets the ball rolling on something that might expose all the women she had sold her poisons to. Two centuries later, Caroline finds an old vial near the Thames. It links back to a series of apothecary murders from the past. You guys can pick this as your Book of the Month pick this month!

Vera is the illegitimate daughter of one of San Francisco’s notorious proprietors. They deal with the cities scheming politicians and the more underground and gritty criminals. Vera is stuck between the two worlds, the posh life of the rich or the violent life of her family. The two words collide just like the tectonic plates on the day of the great San Francisco quake. This book was released this week on March 2, 2021.

This story crosses generations of French women who have come to this castle across hundreds of years. We first come across Adrienne Lafayette, who’s husband was known for helping the Americans get their freedom from the English. His idealism has inspired their home country to start a revolution of its own. Almost two hundred years later, we meet an American socialite, Beatrice Chanler. She sees firsthand the damage that is being done by the first world war in France. She takes on for what seems like an impossible challenge, to get America to come to the aid of the French. In 1940, teacher, Marthe Simone, is just trying to ignore the war that is happening in Europe. That is until her country is taken over by the Nazis. Her life is transformed as she tries to find solace in these castle walls. You can purchase this book starting on March 30, 2021!

Jeanette is struggling to overcome an addiction in modern day Miami. She is the daughter of a Cuban immigrant. She wants to know more about her family history but her mother is hesitant to talk. Her mother, Carmen, is dealing with the struggles of being a mother and then the strained relationship she has with her own mother who is back in Cuba. Jeanette is tired of getting out nothing out of her mother so she decides to go to Cuba on her own to meet with her grandmother. Secrets come out going all the way back to the nineteenth century. This book will also be released on March 30, 2021.

Let’s take things back to World War II, shall we? Nina has never wanted the life that women of her time are supposed to live but she feels stuck when her brothers moves to America and her mother is left alone in Italy. She cannot just abandon the women who raised her. Her childhood friend returns to their small village after a time apart. A spark lights up between the two of them as tensions rise in Europe. Her friend has to return to his job in the states and Nina is left once again wanting to go with him but cannot. Nina’s dreams get tossed aside as her country is taken under the control of Mussolini and she loses contact with her lover, Pietro. This book will be available to read on Tuesday, March 8, 2021.

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‘Lilac Girls’ Book Review

Caroline works at the French consulate in New York City. Her job for years has been helping French people get adjusted to life in America. She had also helped by sending care packages to orphanages across France. The work gets heavier and harder when war breaks out in Europe in 1939.

Kasia is a teenager in Poland, the country that Hitler has set his eyes on. Her youth is taken from her as her country is taken over by Germans. She does everything she can to help her country overcome these attacks. She joins the underground resistance.

Herta is a female German doctor who is just trying to get by and help her family. She finds a job within the government. She comes into a world filled with horror and secrets.

All of these women’s lives come together through the concentration camp of Ravensbruck.

The characters in this story just took it to another level. I felt so many emotions towards them. I am not certain how much I just felt such a connection with all of them rather it be hatred or love. They were all so real and sometimes I was yelling at them and other times I was just so worried for them. This book was an emotional ride and I think that has to do so much with these characters. I did not know when I started this novel but two of these women were actual people in history. I am definitely going to be reading up on their Wikipedia pages tonight!

The atmosphere of this book was just pure haunting. It was dark and emotional. It really showcases how evil this world can be but also how strong we can be as humans. It is a setting that I will not forget.

My only complaint is that in some of the chapters, mainly Caroline’s, I felt that the pacing was sporadic. It was just big time jumps between paragraphs. I am assuming it’s because she was always at a different setting, for the majority of the novel, unlike the other two viewpoints. The chapters did flow together nicely though and that was noted between the first two chapters.

The plot of this novel was unlike any other war novel that I had read. I feel like most take place in France. I had very little knowledge about the happenings in Poland in WWII, only that Hitler invading is what set the wheel rolling. I learned so much from this book, it was so moving. Obviously, I knew that terrible things were done in these labor camps across Europe but this just opened my eyes so much more to the true horrors of it. If you are a fan of The Book Thief or The Nightingale then you will like Lilac Girls.

I was on the edge of my seat throughout this reading experience. I did not realize that until halfway through. The read just gets so immersed into this story. I was constantly wanting to read more to know what would happen to the characters.

Some of the best logic that I have seen in a book. The character’s actually had consequences from their actions. Every little detail meant something, I loved the foreshadowing. There were no loose ends.

I thoroughly enjoyed my three day dive into the World War II era. I had medium expectations for this book as it does have an average 4.27 star rating on Goodreads. Lilac Girls definitely does live up to those standards. I cannot wait to pick up the next book that is in this series and to do my own research on the women featured in this story.

5 out of 5 stars

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‘The Paris Hours’ Book Review

“Paris is always there, waiting for him on the other side of the door.”

Chapter 39.

Paris, between wars, everyone has lost something. Camille has lost a dear friend, the one who held her biggest secret. The notebook where it was written is now missing. Her reputation depends on it not landing in the wrong hands. Souren is a refugee from Armenia, he has lost his homeland and his family. Then there is the artist Guillaume he has lost a great love and is in a serious debt and has to find the money to pay it or his life could be taken from him. Finally, there is Jean-Paul, a writer, who dreams of America but cannot leave France because he truly believes his daughter is not dead but lost in the streets of Paris.

This is a character driven novel and those are my favorite kind of books to leave. Usually, shorter books seem to be more plot driven but that was not the case for ‘The Paris Hours’. This book is less than 300 pages but I feel like we got to connect with the characters so well in that span of time. (The book only lasts the course of a day.) I will be honest though and tell you, that not all these characters had entertaining chapters. I think Souren and Camille have the best chapters and they were my favorite to read from. I feel like Souren had the strongest story out of all of them and I think it can be applied nicely to the refugee crisis we have seen in recent years. I might have connected with Camille more since she is our only lead female character but I just enjoyed her chapters and her mission to protect herself and her family. Guillaume is our lovesick character. I just did not connect with him and I still do not understand why he was in the debt that he was in. Yes, sometimes I did feel for him but at other times I felt he might be a tad selfish but that is better than having a novel filled with Mary Sues, I just did not connect with his character. Lastly, Jean-Paul, he was not one of my favorite characters but I could really feel the emotion in his chapters. His plot left me with my jaw dropped at times. You could just really connect with him. The characters are getting a five out of five.

‘The Paris Hours’ is a love letter to the city of love that is in its title. This book just gave off such a French aesthetic or vibe. You just instantly feel like you are walking the streets with the Eiffel Tower towering in the smoggy skies of the French capital. The atmosphere also gets a five star.

The writing, the writing! Oh my gosh, the writing is so good in this book. I think it will be an acquired taste, much like other French things. This writing was just so beautiful and so romantic. It never dragged but it never got too fast either. It was such a breath of fresh air to read. I think this writing goes perfect with the setting of France and especially at this somewhat of an awkward time in the country’s history. There is so much I could say but I just cannot get the words out. I think you will understand more when I tell you that the writing is a five out of five star.

“Some things you cannot leave behind. Your history will pursue you doggedly across frontiers and over oceans. It will slip past the unsmiling border guards, fold itself invisibly into the pages of your passport, a silent, treacherous stowaway.”

Chapter 23.

I left the quote above because I think it perfectly describes the plot of this story. We all have a past and there is no running from it, there is no changing it. The past has happened and there is nothing we can do about it except move on. Sometimes we do have to accept it and think about it first though, before we can actually move on. All these characters have a past and that is what is impacting their decisions and the actions that they are taking throughout this day. Again, this is not a real plot heavy book and if that is something that you are into then you probably won’t like your journey reading this I think you really have to dig to find that true plot and story. The plot gets a 4 out of five.

The short chapters really helped with the intrigue. They just leave you wanting more and then you have to wait to get through all the other POVs to get back to the character. It is a good technique. Short and fast chapters will always be the best. I am going to give this a four though because I felt like some we did not really get a wrap on.

I feel like I do have to state that there were some typos throughout the novel, which there are probably some typos in this blogpost so I should not be one to judge but I also do not have an editor. So there were some instances where a space was forgotten and words were pushed together. The biggest however was in the second to last chapter, on page 249; “He is leg is hurting, and he wants to go home.” I am assuming the author meant “His leg is hurting.” I just hate to see things like that in books, maybe there needed to be a better editor on hand.

Time Travels in one direction only. There is no going back.”

Chapter 32.

I really, really, did enjoy this book. I did not think that I would feel that way going on because of the ratings on Goodreads and that I have heard nothing of this book before, I got it from BOTM. This was such a wild card for me, my favorite so far this year. The characters were fabulous, I might not have connected with all of them but that is life, we do not connect for every soul that we meet. I loved the French setting, the author did such a good job dropping us into 1927 Paris. This was the best writing that I have read in a long time. The plot is something that I will not forget. Again, I really enjoyed this book and I will be looking into more books by Alex George.

This book gets the rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

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My Most Anticipated January 2021 Releases!

This is a new kind of post for me to write. Today we are going to be looking at new releases in the historical fiction and historical romance genres! I never used to pay attention to new releases as I would get to them when I got to them but now I think that I will purchase one every month with my monthly Barnes and Noble trip, which has been done online since April. There are so many new and diverse books coming out this month and later in the year as well. I am glad that authors of different faces and those in the LGBT+ community are being heard. I can only hope that reading from people with these experiences can help bring us as people together and realize that we all walk different paths in life and that we all need to treat each other with kindness.

Historical Fiction

Isaiah and Samuel were slaves on a planation in the Deep South. The barn that the two boys worked in together was a sort of escape from the harsh world around them, there it was just the two of them and the animals that they tended to. One of their fellow slaves begins to preach to the other slaves, leading them to turn against one another. Isaiah and Samuel are no longer safe as their love for one another is now seen as a sin. This novel shows the pain that was so prevalent during this time in history, but yet the hope that the people had as well, and what the power of love can do. This book was released on January 5, 2021.

Ada is seventeen years old in the year of 1894. She lives a happy life, she loves her husband and enjoys the job she has, helping the midwife. Things start to go downhill though when it has been over a year of marriage and Ada has not given her husband a child of their own. The act of being barren in their town often leads to women being executed in thoughts that they are witches. Ada joins a gang of outcast women as a source of safety in this patriarchal society. Ada has to decide if she really wants to live the life of an outlaw. Outlawed is one of the five choices this month over at Book of the Month if you guys would like to check it out there but at other locations it was put on the shelves on January 5, 2021.

Find Me in Havana is based on the true story of Cuban singer, Estelita Rodriguez. She started her career out at the young age of just nine years old by singing in the smoky bars of Cuba in the mid 1930s. Her voice and talent takes her to places like New York and Los Angeles, it is the one thing that belongs to Estelita, no one could take it from her when the revolution happened in 1933, and all the other tragic events that happened throughout her life. Thirty years later, Nina Rodriguez is left with the mystery of her mother. Nina has to go through mazes and mazes to seek out the truth about her mother’s path. This book will be published on January 12, 2021.

Pheby Brown is born on a planation in Virginia, into slavery. She has been promised she will be freed once she becomes an adult. Things do not go as planned, she is sent against her will to work as a slave at a prison that is known for its brutatlity and torture to its slaves. Pheby is forced to become the mistress to the owner of the jail. This story is powerful and shows her fight to freedom once and for all. You can pick it up on January 12, 2021.

The Walters are seen as the picture perfect, good Christian and Texan family. Victor is the main man, the leader, of the family. He is a preacher and now for his conservative values, that seem to be falling away in the 1970s. His daughter starts telling stories of having a baby that somehow died but the story keeps changing and no one knows what is true. However, the granddaughter, Lily, has as secret that could bring her whole family and its charade down. This book with be available for purchase on January 19, 2021.

Historical Romance

Sarani Rao is an Indian princess, she has everything that a girl could want; wealth, jewels, and beauty. However, her mother is English and that makes Sarani seem less than perfect to her peers. Her father is then killed which makes her life turn upside down, she is no longer safe without him. Then, there is Captain Rhystan Huntley, a duke rather he like its or not. He is with an English fleet in India and the one girl he has ever loved needs to escape that country. She must leave with him on his ship. This one will be released on January 26, 2021.

Sir Henry March is out on a cold London night and stumbles upon a girl who has appeared to be beaten. Eliza Broad escaped the abuse of her evil stepfather. Henry has agreed to take care of her until she has recovered. During her time of recovery Eliza is shown the world of culture that she had no idea existed in the same place that she lived. A romance soon sparks between the two of them. Throughout their romance dark and sadistic secrets of the elite are revealed. You will be able to find out for yourself on January 12, 2021.

My Highland Warrior is the start to a new historical romance series. Magdalene is one of the most beautiful women in all of Scotland the younger sister of a lord. She is known for her madness. One man feels as though he has to marry her for his peoples’ sake. She comes from a powerful family and he has to keep his people alive. Gabriel MacLachlan agrees to marry her but is scaredof how the curse on his family name might impact her. This title will be published on January 19, 2021.

Gilded Age America, Arizona to be precise. Evan Rounsevell is on the run from the responsibilities back home. He has always been fascinated with the American West and the cowboys that come with it. He would rather be a cowboy than and English lord. Daniella is left with her ranch after her fiancé fled from a draught a few years prior. Evan has no money left to his name so picks up work at Daniella’s ranch even though she is convinced that she does not need a man in her, especially this snotty English one. The adjustment is hard for Evan but he is desperate to win Daniella’s affection and her seeing his work on the land that she loves so much might cause her to have a change of heart. You can download this book on the Kindle app starting on January 30, 2021.

Which of these books would you choose? You can check out my Youtube channel, I will have a video with my selection at the end of the month! Izzy Rain

Canterbury Tales Review

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This is a retelling of the Canterbury Tales. This is not the original. Barbara Cohen took four of the original tales and made them easier for us to understand in modern times. This is done in prose and not poetry like the original.

The first tale that we are told is the one of ‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale‘. It is a fable which uses animals to get its point across. The reader learns in this that if someone is too prideful they might not see their own faults or anyone’s around them. This could lead to their downfall.

Then we come to ‘The Pardoner’s Tale‘, this is a tale to teach the readers about greed and what corruption that it can lead to. However I found that it could also teach us you get what you deserve and treating others how you want to be treated.

Ah, now the tale that I remember the most from reading this in high school, ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’. In this tale we really see how women were as people and how they were treated in fourteenth century Europe. I do think this is a feminist story, we see how women want to be treated in a relationship and also that there is more to a woman than just her face and body. Something that I really wish men would understand.

The last tale that we come across in this short book is, ‘The Franklin’s Tale‘. This is a tale on relying on someone else, having faith in that person. It can also be seen as staying true to yourself. It is a story of honor, very much Stark and Tully manner.

When I purchased this book on Amazon, a year ago, I thought it was all the Canterbury Tales and the original version. Not a version that is made for young readers to understand and get a general idea of Chaucer. This is my fault! This is all a me problem and not the book problem.

I found that the way the prologues are done to be awkward. They mention tales that the reader will not read in this bind up, I found myself being confused by this. I know that I did not go into too much detail about what the tales are actually about but when they are around ten pages long I feel like there is not much that I can say without spoiling it.

Should I find a copy of the actual Canterbury Tales to read it? If so, do you have a certain one that you recommend? Again, everything here is a me problem so I felt like I should just give the book an average rating of a three star.

February TBR

My February TBR is here, the first blog post of 2020! This month I plan on reading five books to bring me closer to my 2020 reading goal of 63 books! In February I will be participating in the Explore-A-Thon! I will leave a link to their twitter at the end of this post!

The first book I plan to read this month is a booktube favorite, the first book in the Illuminae Files trilogy, written by popular authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book is written in a multimedia format and I’ve been told the audiobook format is the route to take as you follow along.

This story takes place in the unimaginable year of 2575, following two main characters, Kady and Ezra. They were once lovers but the relationship did not seem to work out for the pair. Their planet gets taken over by an enemy civilization, they both have to find their way to an evacuation craft. An enemy ship tails at them, willing to end it all at any second. That is a worry until a plague breaks out among the evacuees. Kady has to get to the bottom of how it all started, the artificial intelligence is supposed to be protecting them from such things. She has to try to break into the system but it is almost impossible to hack through all the codes and files of data. There is one person who can help her and that is no other than Ezra.

Beartown is a work of fiction that is translated from Swedish. It is also one of the longest time books on my TBR, it has been on my shelves for at least two years and I am so ready to get to it!

A small village nestled by a forest, that’s what Beartown is. Everything revolves around the ice rink that was built years ago by the town’s founders. Their local team is making its way into the national hockey playoffs. If the team of teenagers could win, that would wake up this sleepy town again. A violent incident comes upon a young girl, that could change everything for the town. Tempers are flying with fingers being pointed, all the hopes and dreams of Beartown could come crashing down.

I found out about this nonfiction book from Claire Ridgeway on YouTube! If you are fascinated by Tudor England, I highly recommend checking out her channel. She has written several books on English history as well.

Margaret of Austria played and important role in Middle Ages Europe. She was an influence to one of the most notorious consorts in English history. Margaret was well educated and spent her youth in various courts across Europe. She was regent of the Low Countries and cared greatly for the arts and humanities. Margaret showed what it was like to be a strong ruler.

February TBR Video

ExploreAThon

October 2019 Wrap Up

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In October, I finished four books. That adds up to 1,357 pages. I don’t give rankings to graphic novels or children’s books, so overall the ratings I gave these books made it be a very good book month!

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 4/5 stars
  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan 4/5 stars

I also took part in the Witch-a-thon on book tube. The challenges I completed and which books I used will be listed down below.

  1. Pick a book that features your heritage: The Book Thief as I am 30.9% German.

4.  Pick a book that involves a pantheon of deities: Wicked Saints as our main character can communicate with the gods.

October TBR

All the Books I Read in October

October TBR

This month, all these books except Wicked Saints were hand chosen by me because I hit my Goodreads reading goal of fifty books! Yay me! The book Thief was included in this TBR originally but since it is a carry over from 5e previous month there will not be a description in his post.

Wicked Saints is the first book in the Something Dark and Holy trilogy. It is a Slavic inspired fantasy novel that has a lot to do with blood magic. Three paths have to meet to take down the king and end a war that has been in the process for generations.

Princess Lia has a life laid out in front of her. One of the parts of life is an arranged marriage by her parents, one to form an alliance with a nearby kingdom. Lia runs away when it comes time to marry this unknown prince. She starts a new life in a small village but that gets flipped around when strangers approach her, one the prince she was supposed to marry, the other an assassin who has come to kill her.

Sadie had to raise her sister all on her own. Mattie, the sister, is found dead one day. Sadie is going to do anything to get revenge on the killer of her sister. The police investigation didn’t do well enough, she needs to bring justice to this all.

The other part of this book is told in a podcast format, the reason why I am doing this as an audiobook. That’s where our other character comes in. West is a radio host and hears about the story missing girl. He wants to find out what happened to her, West starts a podcast to help spread word of this case and document it.

(I didn’t include The Book Thief, since it was a carry over, or Prisoner of Azkaban since it’s the third in a series.)

August Wrap-Up 2019

August was my weakest reading month ever! I was so busy and exhausted but you’re not here to read my excuses. I ended up reading three books that adds up to 1,346 pages.

Texas, post civil war America, Ruby is growing up in this frontier of a state. She has recently become a woman, she starts to make decisions of her own and one of those being applying to art school in Philadelphia. To her surprise, she actually gets in and gets to leave Texas, her family, and her love, Bismarck. Not only does Ruby learn about the arts at college but she learns about herself and the world that is changing right in front of her eyes.

The first thirty-five percent of this book dragged on and on, plot points were happening but I just felt very bored and found myself thinking of other things than the words in front of me. The romances in this book has no real foundation, but the characters, the way they interacted and spoke made it seem like they did. I feel like they from meeting and then straight to the bedroom. The main thing that made up for that was Suanne Schafer’s writing style, I am shocked that this was her debut novel, the writing was beautiful and very detailed! The other thing that I liked about A Different Kind Of Fire was Ruby’s character arc, I think character arcs are so important! This ended up being a 3.75/5 stars for me.

Jane Eyre starts her life by having both parents fall a sickness and later death, before her first memory. She sent away to live with the only family that she knows, the Reeds. Her uncle dies while she is young and as she grows older her aunt hates her alongside her cousin. Jane has never known love her family doesn’t love her who else is there to do so? She falls ill,one night she tells the doctor all of her struggles he suggest her going to any other family she has,all Janes knows is that they are poor. Then it is brought to her attention that she can receive an education.

Education is a way out for Jane. She learns languages, arts, and even friendship. Jane stays at the boarding school for eight years, never seeing the Reeds. Once it comes time for her to leave she goes to an estate she’s never been to, to become a governess to a young girl from France. At Thornfield hall, Jane discovers love and that life does have meaning after all.

Brontë’s writing style was truly beautiful, That is something that I love about classics, you can tell that the writer is really knew what they were doing and putting their heart into it instead of just trying to make a quick buck. The writing was very atmospheric and I could easily make out the scenes in my head, that is something that I’m always happy about. I did like the romance in Jane Eyre I think the pairing did love each other even through all the twist and turns throughout life. My two complaints are I didn’t really care for the plot and the writing was really dragged out this book could have been 300 pages shorter.

Jane Eyre Book Review

August TBR 2019

August Wrap-Up 2019

Jane Eyre Book Review

Jane Eyre starts her life by having both parents fall to sickness and later death before her first memory. She is sent away to live with the only family that she knows, the Reeds. Her uncle dies while she is young and as she grows older her aunt and cousin hate her. Jane has never known love, her family doesn’t love her, who else is there to do so? She falls ill one night, she tells the doctor all of her struggles. He suggests her going to any other family she has, all Jane knows is that they are poor. Then it is brought to her attention that she can receive an education.

Education is the way out for Jane. She learns languages, arts, and even friendship. Jane stays at her boarding school for eight years, never seeing the Reeds. Once it comes time for her to leave she goes to an estate she’s never been to, to become a governess to a young girl from France. At Thornfield Hall, Jane discovers love and that life does have meaning after all.

“I am not an angel, I will not be one till I die: I will be myself.”– Jane Eyre

For starters, I did the audiobook for Jane Eyre and then followed along in my physical copy of the book. This book took me twice the amount of days than I had originally hoped for. I don’t think the novel is something difficult to read but it was so long and dragged on and on. I also found bits and pieces unrealistic, I’m not going to say which ones as they are spoilers.

Brontë’s writing style was truly beautiful, that is something I love about classics, you can tell that the writers really knew what they were doing and putting their heart into it instead of just trying to make a quick buck. The writing was very atmospheric and I could easily make out the scenes in my head, that is something that I’m always happy about. I did like the romance in Jane Eyre, I think the pairing did love each other even through all the twists and turns throughout life.

Overall, I feel strange writing a review for a book that has been with us since the mid-1800s. I know people love this book but it just didn’t do it for me. If a book is hundreds of pages longer than it needs to be I find myself getting bored and not wanting to read. The plot didn’t really seem important to me, it wasn’t something extravagant that caught my eye. Yes, I did not expect some of the plot twists and those were fun but it just wasn’t my favorite book, or classic, for that matter, that I’ve read.