REVIEW: The Huntress – Kate Quinn

38376046Title: The Huntress
Author: Kate Quinn
Rating: ★★★★

It’s hard to explain just how ecstatic I was to learn that Kate Quinn wrote another WWII-inspired historical fiction. If you haven’t learned by now, she is the ultimate queen of historical fiction novels and I devour everything she writes. And even though this wasn’t a five star read for me, it was still an amazing book.

As always, Quinn did such a tremendous job weaving historical facts with fiction to create a totally unique and captivating story. The chapters alternate between the three main characters: Ian, Nina, and Jordan. And if you’ve read The Alice Network, yes that is the same Ian Graham that briefly appeared in that book! In addition to Ian, a few other characters from The Alice Network make cameos in The Huntress, it was so great to see them mentioned! I highly enjoyed Ian and Nina’s POVs, but I wasn’t big on Jordan’s character. Her storyline was very interesting and I always looked forward to her chapters because of the connection to the overall plot, but as I really didn’t connect with her all that much. 

Once the story really gets going, The Huntress is a hard book to put down. The readers are told at the beginning what happened, but more and more of the truth and events leading up to it are revealed as the story evolves. The theme of Nazi criminals and the aftermath of World War II and the Nuremberg Trials was absolutely fascinating to me. The author notes at the end of the story were very eye opening and I definitely will be doing some more of my own research on this subject in the future. Another excellent novel by Kate Quinn; I don’t see her being dethroned as my favorite author any time soon.

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: Dark of the West – ARC Review

Welcome to my stop on the Dark of the West book tour! Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host!


ABOUT THE BOOK

32949202Title: Dark of the West (Glass Alliance #1)
Author: Joanna Hathaway
Release: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: YA Fantasy

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

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REVIEW

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Dark of the West has an extremely fascinating premise. The best way to describe the book would be YA fantasy meets World War II. The story is full of political intrigue, nonstop action, romance, family drama, and interesting characters. The prologue does an excellent job of pulling the reader into the book and promising a story in which not everything is what it seems. 

The worldbuilding was very intricate. I loved the blend of fantasy and history and I think Joanna Hathaway did an excellent job combining two different genres seamlessly and in a way that made sense. Plotwise, there is a whole lot going on. And while I really enjoy books that have plots that are complex and multidimensional, with Dark of the West I was confused about what was going on for a good portion of the book. There are so many different conflicts and it took me a very long time to figure out who was fighting who and why. However, as the book went on it was a bit easier to start to piece things together and I could appreciate how complicated everything was. When it comes to war and politics, not everything is black and white. 

Dark of the West is told through the POVs of two main characters, Aurelia and Athan. I still remain unsure about how I feel about Aurelia. On the one hand, I found her to be a little naive and didn’t connect with her at all. But as the book went on, she really started to show some significant growth and I thought her character arc was handled wonderfully. Athan was a character that I absolutely loved! He was so extremely interesting to read about, especially with his family dynamics and his internal conflicts. I really loved the complexity of his character and never wanted to be pulled away from his chapters. The romance was okay. The feelings between Aurelia and Athan developed in such a short time that I didn’t come across as genuine. I love a good enemies(?)-to-lovers trope, but I think it could have been written a little differently to have been more convincing. That being said, not everything was revealed and so I look forward to seeing how the consequences of the secrets being held will affect their relationship! 

Overall, Dark of the West is a well-written, engaging story full of political scheming, military tactics, romance, and friendship, with an excellent blend of fantasy and history! If you enjoy books with complex plots and intriguing characters, I would recommend adding this book to your TBR! 

★ ★ ★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorJoanna was born in Montréal and is an avid storyteller who was inspired to write after reading her great-grandfather’s memoirs of the First World War. A lifelong history buff, she now has shelves filled with biographies and historical accounts, and perhaps one too many books about pilots. She can often be found reading, traveling, or riding horses.

 

Follow Joanna:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest


GIVEAWAY

Win one(1) of ten finished copies of Dark of the West. US only. 

✨ ENTER HERE


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BLOG TOUR: The Witch of Willow Hall – ARC Review

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Witch of Willow Hall! Thank you to YA Bound Book Tours for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!


ABOUT THE BOOK

37007910Title: The Witch of Willow Hall
Author: Hester Fox
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Graydon House Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-A-Million | Indie Bound


REVIEW

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

This was another perfect read for the season. If I’m being completely honest, I ended up enjoying this tremendously more than I had anticipated I would. The Witch of Willow Hall is a gothic, historical novel that enchanted me from the beginning. 

There was a lot to enjoy about this book, but my favorite thing was its atmospheric setting. The Witch of Willow Hall reads like a Jane Austen book with some witchcraft and eerie paranormal activity mixed in. The period drama aspects were so charming! The romance that develops between two characters was really cute and I couldn’t get enough of it. The scandal that haunts the Montrose family is juicy enough to belong in a Game of Thrones book. Along with some endearing characters, such as Lydia and Mr. Barrett, we also have some very unlikeable characters, like Catherine and Cyrus. All the characters are well-written and form interesting dynamics important to the story.

Hester Fox does a fantastic job of blending the drama with suspense. Although the story is more of a gothic romance, there are still some spooky encounters and mysterious elements that make this a wonderful read for October. The Witch of Willow Hall is a suspenseful historical novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I stayed up later than I expected to finish this because I couldn’t put it down!

★ ★ ★ ★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hester FoxHester comes to writing from a background in museum work and historical archaeology. She loves the Gothic, the lurid, the dark…so long as the ending is a happy one. She has never seen a ghost, though she remains hopeful.

Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband. The Witch of Willow Hall is her first novel.

 

Follow Hester:
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#SixforSunday: Books That Have Been on My TBR the Longest

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! #SixforSunday is a weekly meme hosted by Steph @ A Little But a Lot. The theme for this week is books that have sat on our TBR lists the longest. The struggle of many a reader are those books that we keep meaning to read, but never actually seem to get around to actually doing. And with so many new and interesting books released every year, it seems almost impossible to ever catch up on my TBR. 

The Zookeeper's Wife MIT.indd1. THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE
I couldn’t even attempt to guess how long this book has been sitting on my bookshelf unread. I’ve started this a handful of times, but could never seem to even get halfway through the first chapter. Historical fiction – especially set during WWII – is one of my favorite genres to read. Even with the release of the movie, I couldn’t seem to get motivated to read this.


218536212.
THE NIGHTINGALE
I bought this book on a whim (which I never do!) because I kept seeing so many five star reviews and positive things about it. And then when I started to dig a little deeper and read some spoilers (oops) it kind of made me regret my decision. Everyone seems to absolutely love this book, and as a historical novel set during WWII it’s right up my ally. However, those spoilers alerted me to the fact that one of my biggest turn-offs while reading, is actually a huge plot point in the book. So now the book just sits on my shelf, and I remain unsure as to whether or not I actually want to go through with reading it.

187052093. THE BLOOD OF OLYMPUS
The very last book in the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus series, and I have yet to read it. I attempted to start it when it first came out, but I didn’t get very far and quickly became bored. I know the reason I haven’t read this yet is because Annabeth and Percy don’t have POVs, and honestly I’m not as invested in anyone else’s story, with the exception of Reyna. One day, I hope I will finally get around to finishing this series, however. 

2590294. BLACK HAWK DOWN
War memoirs are a very small sub-genre that I find myself really enjoying. I bought this when I had just finished Lone Survivor and American Sniper consecutively, and wanted another book-to-movie adaptation to read. Black Hawk Down is one of my favorite movies and I thought I would dive right into this as soon as I had time, and yet it too has sat untouched on my shelf for years, much to my chagrin. 

135310795. BIRDSONG
For someone who claims to enjoy reading historical fiction, I am now realizing how many books on this list that I haven’t read fall into that category. I’ll be honest: most of the time I forget I even have this book. It’s been on my shelf for so long it’s basically just decoration at this point. To be fair, this has been turned into a tv series which has also been left unwatched in my amazon watchlist for quite a while as well. 

104413346. FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC
I’ve seen the movie, and this is one of the books my mom bought me because she really liked it as a teenager, but I’ve never felt compelled to actually sit down and read it. Like, I want to eventually read the book, but I don’t know when I will ever feel the motivation to do it. 

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Hidden Gems

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! This week’s topic has us talking about books in our favorite genre that don’t have a lot of popularity. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres to read and there are quite a few books that I think deserve more hype!

6581303MISTRESS OF ROME – Of all the books on this list, this one probably has the most ratings and notoriety. Nevertheless, it still doesn’t have the popularity and hype that it deserves. Kate Quinn is an amazing author and the Mistress of Rome series is impossible to put down. The historical aspects are well researched, the characters are complex and lovable, and the plots are intriguing and intricate. Mistress of Rome is one of my favorite books ever and if you pick just one book from this list to try, I highly suggest this one!

 

25060062THE WEDDING SHROUD – I stumbled upon this series when I needed another ancient rome fix and I’m so glad I did! It’s incredibly well-written and full of great characters and complex relationships. I loved reading about the different political and religious aspects of the Etruscan and Roman cultures during that time period and the conflict between the two civilizations.

 

27343696FROM ASH AND SAND – Amy Harmon has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Her writing in From Ash and Sand is excellent and her portrayal of WWII is so realistic you can feel the terror and pain along with the characters. Not to mention that the story between Eva and Angelo is one of the most heart-wrenching and angst-filled that I’ve ever read. 

 

23014749NAKED: A NOVEL OF LADY GODIVA – This is such a wonderful take on the story of Lady Godiva. I’ve always been intrigued by the lore of her story (and the beautiful paintings) and so I was pleased when I found this book. The romance between Godiva and Leofric was swoon-worthy and I really enjoyed the political aspects that were essential to the story. The legend of Lady Godiva is brought to life in an amazing book that’s totally worth the read.

 

28186322A CURIOUS BEGINNING – If you like Victorian-era England, murder mysteries, a slow-burn romance, a brooding hero with a tragic past, and a smart, independent protagonist then this series is for you! These books are seriously so good and they need more hype.