Blast to the Past – A Book List

Hey, booksters!

Thinking about July, I haven’t done a historical book list before. So, I peeked around the YA books and found a great set to recommend! I don’t typically read these though I love YA. Studying history is a delight. I’m just not drawn to the side-genre.

For those of you who love to time jump back in time, this list is for you! For those of you looking to take a chance on the next great read, look here!

 

Enchantee
Author: Gita Trelease
Scarlet Reader

Barnes & Noble

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must go to great length to protect and provide for her naïve sister and volatile brother, including good cons and dangerous magic that had been forbidden by her mother. What’s one to do? Next, Camille will take on the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble         Amazon

 

The Maid
Author: Kimberly Cutter
Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

The Hundred Years War rages on. Charles VII doesn’t have the strength to go on, but a peasant girl hears the powerful voice of God speak her name. Jehanne. She’ll take to the battlefield and lead thousands. Unspoken love and uncertainty of faith, she escaped her violent father and became a visionary and saint at a devastating cost.

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Orphan Monster Spy
Author: Matt Killeen
Scarlet Reader

Penguin Random House

Sarah, a Jewish girl-turned-spy infiltrates an elite Nazi boarding school for daughters of top Nazi leaders during WWII. She thought she was ready, but she wasn’t prepared for her cutthroat schoolmates. The battle for survival is unlike anything she imagined.

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Until We Meet Again
Author: Renee Collins
Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

Cassandra craves drama and adventure and she finds it in the last place she expected, Massachusetts with her mother and stepfather. A place she deems snooty and unbearable. The last thing she expected was a stranger to wash up on her shore or his claims to be from the year 1925. As they get to know each other, she discovers something that puts their growing feelings for one another in jeopardy and must find a way to change history id she hopes to save him.

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Gilt
Author: Katherine Longshore
Scarlet Reader

Amazon

Kitty Tylney is thrust into a world of beautiful gowns and jewels and elegant parties when her best friend worms her way into the heart of King Henry VIII and brings her into the court. Though torn between two men, she is surrounded by secrets, lies, and affairs. The rise and fall of her best friend as queen puts her in a tough position where she must learn how to keep being a good friend when it could mean her head.

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Salt to the Sea

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

WWII is drawing to a close and thousands of refugees of East Prussia trek towards freedom. Three people come together, finding strength, courage, and trust in each other, but the promise of salvation is destroyed and a fight for survival begins.

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Outrun the Moon
Author: Stacey Lee
Scarlet Reader

Penguin Random House

San Francisco, 1906. Mercy Wong is determined to break out of poverty and does so by getting into St. Claire’s School for Girls, an elite school for the wealthy. Though it took cunningness and some bribery, getting in was the easy part. Then a historic earthquake strikes the city and she won’t just sit back while so many are suffering.

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Within These Lines
Author: Stephanie Morrill
Scarlet Reader

Amazon

Evalina Cassano’s life in 1941 is everything it’s supposed to be for an Italian-American family that is and then she meets Taichi Hamasaki. Her world changes as they fall in love. Inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, but she’s determined to find a way for them to be together. Then rage for the Japanese erupts across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Evalina and Taichi are separated and must hold onto everything they hold dear in hopes of coming back to each other.

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

What the Night Sings
Author: Vesper Stamper
Scarlet Reader

Amazon

After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is a survivor. In a displaced persons camp, she meets Lev, also a survivor. One that she may be falling for. Though it’s a struggle, she’ll work to return to the life she once knew with a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had.

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Some will make you fall in love and others will break your heart. There’s nothing like diving into the past to feel a part of some of the most invigorating, scary, or fascinating times in history.

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

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Thoughts? Have a favorite or possibly read one on the list? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Soon You’ll Be an Osiris (Thebes of the Hundred Gates – A Book Review)

Thebes of the Hundred Gates
Author: Robert Silverberg
Published: 1992

On Goodreads

Thebes

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

Lost in time…

Twenty-seven-year-old Edward Davis is a promising rookie in the Time Service. He’s passed all the tests, but it’s a completely different ballgame to actually jump back in time. Leaping back to 35C, Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt, he has to find and bring back two teammates that got lost in time. Surrounded on all sides by the bustling life of the bazaar with the hot sun beating down on him.

Suddenly, he’s taken in by a priestess and befriended by the slave girl assigned to help him get well. When he discovers the fate of his lost teammates any chance of getting home turns dangerous. Yet, with the allure of the grand city that he’s only dreamt of seeing in real life, Edward begins to wonder if he even wants to go back to his time.

 

The detail was just stunning. Truly. Vivid with wondrous color and way of life. When it comes to world history I was fascinated with both Greece and Egypt. It’s the construction of their amazing architecture and their religion system, society, the fashion, the way they handle death. It’s my favorite study. It’s almost like a fantasy, I guess. Granted, there were also a lot of tragic aspects as well: slavery, disease, sacrifices to the gods. Nonetheless, I found Ancient Egypt to be one of the eras that was pretty advanced for its time. The acute imagery was powerful. Such beautiful description down to the very crevices of life and death.

Thebes of the Hundred Gates

This was a speedy read at a mere 116 pages. It was still pretty interesting. Though the chapters were short, they left me excited for the next chapter.

TIME TRAVEL!!!! One of the funnest parts of the sci-fi genre. Who doesn’t have a time period they wish they could go to! I’ve already said Ancient Egypt is one of them, but just to reiterate—this was a cool place to go back in time to.

time travel

The characters were very interesting. Edward was no newbie, but he didn’t hide his boyish excitement, and who would!? It was like jumping into the middle of a TV series. You get a taste of these characters and their story in one of the best ways—by getting dropped right smack dab in the middle of it. I do think that there could’ve been more to their background. It felt very vague, especially regarding the Time Service.

The dangers and expectations of working as a time travel were well done. Very realistic. Edward took all the precautions, making sure to blend in as best as possible, so he wasn’t a total rookie, though he didn’t except to get tangles with a slave girl. It was enticing.

NEED

But…yes, I’m sorry. There’s a but. People hate them, but I have one. There were drop off points where I guess I was supposed to pick up on the situation, but was left with noise. I mean it. Just characters making noise. It was slightly off-putting. Now, I assumed there was some intense things happening, but I really wished there had been a little more depth to parts like this to better the imagery of these moments. What can I say? When you give such great imagery, then drop off as if it’s too awkward, then I’m going to complain.

 

Overall

My only issue with this book was that there wasn’t enough background on the Time Service and the characters. But the imagery was vivid and incredibly believable with its accuracy. A really interesting read, especially for fanatics of ancient Egypt. A lot happening, and a fantastic close-up in history, in this small novel.

 

Quotables:

“To die like a pig—that is not good, not good at all, my friend.” (p. 8)

“You will be an Osiris soon.” (p.9)

“Death was a big business in this country.” (p. 45)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? We Come Running by Youngblood Hawke.

 

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Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.

Gnomes and Yellow Stars (Friedrich – A Book Review)

Friedrich
Author: Hans Peter Richter
Published: 1961

Friedrich

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

“If today, or tomorrow, you should see Jews being mistreated, reflect on one thing—Jews are human beings, human beings like us!” (Herr Neurdorf, p. 63)

During the 1930s, employment was down, but Friedrich and his family seemed to be doing well. His father had a good job and he had a brand new bike. Adolf Hitler comes to power and suddenly he’s expelled from school, he’s blamed for things that aren’t his fault, forced to wear a yellow star of David, and he can’t go out to movies. Then his father is fired from his job and his mother dies. Amid the war that breaks out, Friedrich is trying to survive and nobody tries to help him nor wants to because he is Jewish.

 

This book was difficult to read. The further I got, and it is a small book, the more I felt myself crumbling, feeling helpless and nearly breaking down. Unlike The Diary of Anne Frank, this novel brings you up close with a Jewish family that experienced the Holocaust firsthand from discrimination to being collected up and deported rather than the diary of a young girl hiding with her family and another family in a small space. It was scary and I was gasping in horror more than once during the novel. Little by little I read as this family had everything taken away and it felt as if I were right there witnessing it. Anne Frank is compelling and Friedrich stands right beside it, telling a strong tale of another child during one of the darkest times in history.

You truly see this tragedy from the perspective of children growing up. The innocence and perversion of that innocence by what Hitler did scared me. These were two children, just two out of millions, that were affected by this. It was utterly heart wrenching to witness through our nameless narrator’s eyes.

You start the book with a garden gnome named Polycarp that is seemingly happy and end with the same Gnome, destroyed by terror. Each chapter follows a memory for the narrator and Friedrich, and a chronological point during the Holocaust in which Adolf Hitler took action against the Jewish and others. I can pinpoint exactly when it all began too. It was when the narrator said he was allowed to sit next to Friedrich, as if he needed permission to sit next to his friend. More dreadful “laws” followed and the boys even went to a Nazi meeting not knowing what it was, that it was just what all the cool boys were doing.

The story was real and deep and eye-opening. The horrors of what happened during the Holocaust are given an up-close and innocent perspective from confused children as Hitler came to power and the Nazi group grew. This is a book that I wasn’t prepared for, but was definitely a great read. I don’t think anybody can prepare themselves for something like this.

 

More to come soon…

-K.