Fun, frothy and fantastical reads for when you’re in need of a distraction!

orangutan list

Granted, that title has doubtless got you thinking about *that thing going on outside*. A bit like playing “the game” (we’ve all just lost the game!) Even so, I think we could all do with a break from impending doom life at the moment- which is why I wrote this list of the ultimate distracting reads! No way you can focus on anything other than turning these pages…

crown of feathers

Crown of Feathers– a book about phoenixes, because WE WILL RISE FROM THE ASHES! (or all go down in flames… 😉)

shadow of the fox

Shadow of the Fox– but if you want to throw yourself into even more mythological, why not take a trip to Iwagoto? See if you can spot some tricksy kitsune along the way…

six of crows

Six of Crows– on the note of tricksters, the dregs will look after you if you’re looking to score (and doubtless pick your pocket on the way 😉)

to kill a kingdom

To Kill a Kingdom– if you need something else with a bit of an edge, then I always recommend deep-diving into this Little Mermaid retelling. No doubt this book siren song is calling to you right now 😉

the young elites

Young Elites– of course, talking of dark YA fantasy, I can scarcely neglect this beauty. Sharp and a little different, it has one of my favourite heroines in the genre.

thief

The Thief– on the note of protagonists I love, Gen’s perspective makes this book a real hidden gem. Personally, I do only recommend the first one, but fortunately it works as a standalone, so you can’t go wrong!

vicious

Vicious– ahh this is my *go to* book if you need something you absolutely cannot put down. This supervillains story is guaranteed to keep you on your toes.

renegades

Renegades– take flight into a world of heroes and villains! With great characters and a riveting romance, I was gripped from the start (incidentally I’m going to be taking my own advice with this one, cos I’ve just ordered the third in the series and will be jumping into the action again soon 😉)

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising– for something a bit gutsier and adult, you could try this take on Romans in space! (which I am recommending for the millionth time because it’s amazing!)

scythe

Scythe– now I don’t know about you, but beyond entertainment, I’m also craving some depth, and this high concept dystopia is cutting edge in that regard. There are ideas here I’ve not seen in YA before- or dare I say- even in adult!

one word kill

One Word Kill– and if you want mind-blowing, mathematically inspired time travel, then I have the series for you. Dramatic and character-driven, you can whizz through this at the speed of light!

And that’s all for now! Do you agree with my choices? And- more than ever I need your advice- what fantastical books would you recommend for distraction? Let me know in the comments

Hyped Books I’ll Never Read – Spring Cleaning My TBR

orangutan list

Usually I’d never say never, but we are in the End Times- JK! JK! This is a promise to myself- life’s too short- let’s see if I can keep to it.

cursed child

Cursed Child– starting with a book that needs no introduction! When this came out, I picked this up in a book shop and I was pretty unimpressed. I then went and spoiled myself for the plot… annnd I’m glad I didn’t try to read it. Apart from graverobbing the original series, it’s just doesn’t sound like a good story to me.

testaments

Testaments– in case you didn’t see my ranty unpopular opinions post on books I don’t like that everyone loves, I’m no fan of Handmaid’s Tale. I’m not opposed to reading more Atwood- she’s an impressive writer- but I’m not giving this series another try- sorry!

go set a watchman

Go Set a Watchman– this was another BIG RELEASE that I was cautious about and then decided to just read a plot synopsis in advance… and it sounds worse than Cursed Child!! I cannot fully express my fury that this book ruined Atticus Finch’s character- but let’s just say it made me go bananas! To Kill a Mockingbird is a personal favourite and I don’t care how this monstrosity came about- I’m not reading it.

normal people

Normal People– this is the toughest one so far, because while I didn’t like Conversations with Friends, I’ve heard that people usually like one and not the other. So, I am tempted to see if I can find out what the fuss is about this author… and yet, something about her writing style just didn’t gel with me last time and I don’t want to risk it.

raven king

The Raven King– I’ll admit, I was weak and read the first Foxhole Court book after I was to avoid it. I’ve not heard from anyone that shares my views on the first one that it gets better- I’ve got to stay strong and not read it (as much as my eye is drawn to it like watching a car crash…)

chain of gold

Chain of Gold– this is less about the specific book and more that I just don’t plan to read any new Cassandra Clare book. It’s nothing personal, I’ve just outgrown her world and stories that always end up being exactly the same (okay, maybe it is a little personal 😉)

lady's guide to petticoats and piracy

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy– as you may know I was pretty disappointed with Gentleman’s Guide, so as much as the title appeals to me, I just don’t see any reason to continue the series. Plus I wasn’t a fan of Felicity’s character in the first one- I doubt I want to read an entire book about her!

infinity son

Infinity Son– when Silvera announced he was publishing a fantasy book, I was intrigued and a little excited. I’ve enjoyed his books and I’m always up for some fun fantasy. Alas- when I read the blurb, I wasn’t enamoured. The premise just doesn’t light my fire and I could see the twists a mile off (something that reviews have since confirmed). I think it might leave me a bit heated, so I’m gonna give it a miss.

And that’s all for now! Do you think I’ve made any big mistakes with this list? Or do you have any books you *absolutely will not* read? Let me know in the comments!

Some Fun Alternative History I Actually Like

orangutan list

As I mentioned the other day- I do like a fair amount of alternative history- which is why I thought I’d share a quick list today!

american royals

American Royals– an alternative history where the Washingtons set up a 250-year dynasty? Yes please! Plus, *bonus points* for all the romance and drama!

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– you guys know how much I love this fun and totally off-the-wall take on Lady Jane Grey. It doesn’t give a hoot about historical accuracy- but at the same time it really manages to cleverly embrace the past- and I love that about it!

what the wind knows

What the Wind Knows– I mentioned this in my last post- because yeah, it’s not super realistic to time travel back to the fight for Irish independence… but it is entertaining as heck!

V_for_vendettax

V For Vendetta– a hallmark dystopic graphic novel, this gives us a view of what a totalitarian Britain might look like.

noughts-and-crosses

Noughts and Crosses– an old one, but a good one- Blackman’s now classic YA series reimagines racial division, intertwining the story with reflections on history and star-crossed lovers.

diviners

Diviners– for something a bit more fantastical, I’m thoroughly enjoying the Diviners series (I’m up to book 2). Set in a more magical and spookier 1920s New York, this is one hell of a wild ride! Also, I’ve recently been listening to the audiobook version and I can’t recommend it enough!

city of masks

City of Masks– sticking with the fantasy, the Stravaganza series gives us a taste of Renaissance Italy, as teens step from one world to the other. What I really like about this series is how it allows each of the characters to grow and come to understand their own issues through their journeys.

ten thousand doors of january

Ten Thousand Doors of January– thinking about other portal fantasies featuring historical elements, this more recent release springs to mind, for the way it balances modern sensibilities whilst maintaining a degree of authenticity. I especially liked the way the otherworldly element became an extended metaphor for finding your place in the world.

missperegrinecover-1

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children– not always a popular book, because it is highly unusual, I stand by how fascinating a take this is on the holocaust, imagining WW2 through the metaphor of monsters and peculiarities.

Have you read any of these? Do you like them? Do you have any alternative history books you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!

My Favourite (Chill) Fairy Tale Retellings

Today, I just wanted to share a super quick list of some of my favourite atmospheric, fairy tale retellings. All of these deliver on the wintry vibes- without you having to the hassle of going outside 😉

snow child

The Snow Child– it’s been a long while since I mentioned this exquisite historical fiction. Set in 1920s Alaska, it draws on the Russian fairy tale by the same name and delivers something utterly unique.

bear and the nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale– also inspired by Russian folklore, this has a more fantastical touch and is set in an authentically medieval setting. If you’re in the mood for high fantasy, then I can’t give you a better recommendation for the winter months.

wolf in the whale

Wolf in the Whale– this is more inspired by a patchwork of different mythologies, stories and histories- which I think qualifies it to be on this list. Plus, it certainly delivers on the atmospheric quota- you’ll need to be nice and snug while you’re reading this, or you’ll catch a chill!

to kill a kingdom

To Kill a Kingdom– if you’re looking for something a bit creepier, then look no further! This deadly little mermaid retelling will cut you to the quick!

hazel wood

Hazel Wood– while not technically a retelling, it does draw on so many fairy tale motifs. Plus, it has a gothic edge to it too.

So, have you read these? Do you plan to? And what retellings give you the wintry vibes? Let me know in the comments!

Just *Some* of the Incredible Books I Read in 2019…

Before we get to my top ten, I always like to do a little teaser to share some of the other amazing books I read this year. All of these are TOP BANANA- so they deserve some love and attention! Here are just a few of my reading highlights from the year…

Aurora Rising and Cruel Prince were excellent series openers. Soul of the Sword got me excited to read more! Holy Sister and Crowfall were both excellent ways to wrap up a series. Daisy Jones has been playing on my mind ever since I listened to it on audiobook. I got tried Laini Taylor’s delectable Night of Cake and Puppets. Woman in Black was *freaky*. Evelyn Hardcastle was one of the most unique books I’ve ever read! Woke made me laugh out loud! And I fell in love with Cait @Paper Fury’s books this year as well. And, of course, Secret History has been making reminisce ever since I read it.

And that’s all for now! Feel free to get excited about the top ten, because they rock!!

My Most Disappointing Reads of 2019

most disappointing 2019

As you may well see in my next few posts, I have had an *amazing* reading year. Thanks to blogging (and possibly growing up 😉) I’m getting better at picking reads I’ll actually enjoy. That said, there are always a handful of stinkers… though that’s not what this list is about (for the most part 😉). I’d say about half of these aren’t bad books by any stretch of the imagination. Most of these aren’t even the worst books I read this year- cos a couple of those I’ve forgotten by now- these are, as the title suggests, the ones I was most disappointed by. And the biggest change this year is that I only have 9 books for the list– I just didn’t see the reason to squeeze extra books on that didn’t deserve a spot (that’s right, I’m not just being a negative Nancy for the sake of it! 😉 ). These books could’ve been great, yet all ended up as misses for me… and that’s enough of the preamble- let’s just get into it!

number 9

behind her eyes

Behind Her Eyes– this started out so well… and then nosedived in the last few chapters. Here’s the thing, it’s really not fun to read a psychological thriller that flips the switch at the last second and becomes a paranormal thriller. I’ve read a few other genre-bending books this year- and they all worked because there was proper set up for the payoff! It all felt like it was done to say “betcha didn’t see that coming!”- and no, obviously I didn’t see that coming, cos I’m not a psychic.

number 8

gentleman's guide to vice and virtue

Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue- this may well be the most unpopular choice for the list- but here’s the thing, this is a list of books I was disappointed by and I was enormously disappointed by this book. I had really high expectations going in because it was so hyped and it’s the kind of thing I really love- but it just fell so flat for me. The main issues for me were that I didn’t fall for the characters and wasn’t convinced with the supposed “18th century” setting. So, not for me, though I do feel there’s enough potential in the idea that I could enjoy the upcoming adaptation.

number 7

immortal reign

Immortal Reign– again, this was by no means the worst book I read this year- BUT I’ve been reading this series a long time and I just wasn’t satisfied with how it turned out. Part of this could be that I fell out of love with it a couple of books back, yet to be honest, not enough was done with the story to elevate that ending. Everything was resolved a little too easily and the emotional payoffs just didn’t land.

number 6

queen of air and darkness book

Queen of Air and Darkness– the more I think about this, the more disappointed with it I am. While I liked parts of it when I was reading, it’s the kind of book I like less and less over time. I think as I wrote the review I realised quite how dissatisfied I was with it (hence the disjunct between my rating and my thoughts). I had an existing fondness for the series… but I feel like all that was thrown away here. As cool as some of the concepts were, a lot of it was recycled from other series and the rest was just set up for another. I can’t get behind a book of this length that merely exists to sell another book. So yeah, I was disappointed with this, to say the least.

number 5

wonder woman

Wonder Woman– I pretty much summed it up in my review: this is a cashgrab. I don’t recommend this for anyone- whether you’re a fan of superheroes or not. It’s not worth your time and not worthy of the author’s talent. Highly recommend you read anything else by Bardugo instead!

number 4

bridget jones's diary

Bridget Jones– this isn’t something I was anticipating or had high hopes for in any way, so I’m breaking my own rules putting this on here, but I just hated the writing style so much that it earned its spot here 😉 It’s full of fragmentation. All the time. Every. Single. Sentence. Ugh.

number 3

conversations with friend

Conversation with Friends– ah one of those massively acclaimed books… that I didn’t get at all. I should’ve guessed from the shite title it’d be wanky and a waste of time- cos that’s exactly what it was. It was so boring that I’m already bored talking about it again… so I won’t bore the rest of you and I’ll move on!

number 2

an inspector calls

Inspector Calls– ooh this came so close to winning the top spot- because there are a lot of reasons Priestley’s pretentious garbage deserves it! It’s badly written, filled with crap characters and moralising to boot! Don’t expect deep philosophy from this though- you’ll get more depth out of a toddler’s toys.

number 1

atlas shrugged

Atlas Shrugged– it’s kind of fitting that out of my two worst reads this year, one is left wing and the other right. This one edged out Priestley’s preachy play by a whisker. The reason this “won” top spot was twofold: 1) from what I’d heard of it (only that it was a seminal work of American literature) I had higher hopes for this and 2) it made me suffer longer. Boy did I make a huge mistake (a-1168-page long mistake) reading this! I guess now it’s time to shrug it off and move on!

So- dare I ask- what do you think of these? Have you read any of them? And what were your worst books of 2019? Let me know in the comments!

Ranking Harry Potter Books!

I saw this over on Mystery Date with a Book’s booktube channel and just thought it would be good to do for this time of the year, because I always  😊 Now, many of you will already know my complicated relationship with Harry Potter (and consequently be able to deduce this) but I thought it would be fun to spell it out 😉 As much as I’ve been all over the place with this series, but the order always ends up the same. I honestly can’t believe I haven’t done it before! Obviously, no disclaimers are needed that this is just my personal opinion, yada yada yada… (if you want my full opinions, all reviews are linked to covers)… onto the rankings!

Harry_Potter_and_the_Order_of_the_Phoenix

Order of the Phoenix– because Harry Potter loses it and story sags for a few hundred pages. Still, THAT DEATH made me the most emotional, sooo it still has its upsides 😉

Harry Potter and the deathly hallows

Deathly Hallows– like Order of the Phoenix, this one makes me cry too. Normally, that would make me love a book- but that should tell you something about the quality of the rest of the series. To be honest, I was disappointed by the ending. I know it’s hard to round off a series like this, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the copycat Aslan Harry’s resurrection scene. Despite all the deaths, it just seemed a bit tamer than I’d been looking for. Then there was the epilogue- which I’ve always been on the fence about. Now, I’ve made my peace with it (more or less) in the last few years- especially after rereading it more recently. Needless to say, it’s still not my favourite ending.

harry potter and the half blood prince

Half Blood Prince– I went into quite a bit of depth with this when I reviewed it, but quite simply I’m not crazy about some of the ways it tackles the topic of evil. I just really dislike anything that leans into BORN EVIL for starters. It also ended up conflicting with some of the (better) ideas from earlier in the series. The awkward romantic subplots really don’t help either. So, not my favourite, though there are some interesting plotlines (love where Rowling takes Draco’s story).

goblet of fire

Goblet of Fire– it feels really strange putting this in the middle of the list, because I’ve always loved this book. While there are a couple of plot points that I don’t like as much, like SPEW, this book *wowed* me by taking the series to an unexpectedly dark place. To me, this is where the overarching plot peaked. It was also the first book I read when it came out- so I have magical memories of anticipating it as well 😊

Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_Cover

Philosopher’s Stone– there’s no reason for this being in spot three, other than the fact I like others more. It’s still great on its own and I always enjoy the reread 😊

harry potter and the chamber of secrets

Chamber of Secrets– I just love book 2- which is weird, because it always creeps me out. Normally, I’d avoid anything like that, but in this case it’s just such a strong mystery and entertaining book. I love how it builds on the characters and it’s just perfect!

Harry_Potter_and_the_Prisoner_of_Azkaban

Prisoner of Azkaban- I spent a huge amount of time agonising over which book was my favourite, cos I’ve never been able to decide (which is probably why I’ve never done this before 😉 ). Yet, in the end it was easy: I just thought of the one which makes me feel all *warm and fuzzy* inside. Reading this is like being  hit with a Cheering Charm. I adore this book. Sure, Time Turners aren’t the best- creating plotholes galore- but I DON’T CARE! Not only is it the introduction to Hogsmeade, but we also get to meet the Marauders (my favourite characters). For me, this is the most magical book in the entire series.

And that’s it- we’ve run out of books (unless you count Cursed Child, which I don’t 😉). Clearly, I’m a bigger fan of the first four, but I am really curious to hear what your rankings would be? I know a lot of people have the exact opposite opinion and I wanna hear from all of you! Let me know in the comments

Books I’m *eternally grateful* for!

orangutan list

So, we don’t have Thanksgiving here in the UK, but that doesn’t mean I can’t share some BOOKISH GRATITUDE! I tried to narrow this down to books that have a special place in my heart or that came into my life at exactly the right time (although of course, most great books feel like that, simply by virtue of being great 😉). Annnd I’m gonna be honest, I ended up with a very different post to the one I started with, because I took out anything too dark. I think I just prefer this to be a *happy place*. Without further ado, here are some of the books I’m most grateful for:

Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_Cover

Harry Potter– starting way back when I was 7- this was the first big book I ever read and I will always be thankful that it made me the reader I am today. Yes, I am a stereotypical millennial reader and proud of it 😉

Hobbit_cover

The Hobbit– aside from being mythologically rich and having wonderful characters, this book gave me my love of fantasy- how could I not include it?

peter pan and wendy

Peter Pan– this is another childhood favourite and I’d feel remiss not to include it, especially given how often it inspired me to practice flying as a child 😉 (granted, I never actually achieved my goal, but not for want of trying 😉)

rebecca

Rebecca– this book always reminds me of my mum, cos it’s her favourite. And I’m always glad that she foisted her favourites on me!

idiot

The Idiot– I originally felt like I had no special reason for including this one, but whenever I think about books that have shaped me, this springs to mind. I read this at about thirteen and it just clicked. Not only did it start a lifelong love of Dostoevsky, it taught me so many valuable lessons that I carry with me to this day.

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_cover

Emma– okay, quick confession, I’d already read Pride and Prejudice when I read this and I think I was too young to get the irony. I’m really happy I read this book, because it unlocked Austen’s humour for me. I ended up rereading Pride and Prejudice shortly after and loved it the second time round! (which was lucky, cos I was set it for school). Then, of course, I read all the others and have never looked back!

dr faustus

Dr Faustus– it just lit up my brain at exactly the right moment- yes I am enough of a dork to include academic inspiration on this list.

man's search for meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning– part autobiography, part exploration of logotherapy, Frankl’s book may seem a bit heavy on the surface. However, it’s actually the most uplifting book I’ve ever read and my brother was a hundred percent right about getting me to read it!

mort nice edition

Mort– I *needed* this book in my life- I just didn’t know it. Fortunately, a couple of my friends did know that I needed to read this and pushed me into it… and I couldn’t be happier that they did! Plus, one of my friends knew exactly which Pratchett to get me started on. So I know you’re not reading this, but thank you.

vicious

Vicious– fun fact, I was giving blood for the first time when I read this- and it was the *perfect* distraction! It was simply too brilliant! You simply can’t pay attention to anything else going on when you’ve got Schwab for company! (also, guys, give blood- it’s a great excuse to sit and read and you get free biscuits 😉 )

grey sister

Grey Sister– ah this is just a pleasure to put on the list. I was in a horrible slump a couple of summers ago and trying to deal with big life changes- this gave me a welcome distraction for a few hours- which I was immensely grateful for, I can tell you!

carry on

Carry On– I can’t stop being thankful for this magical book- because it has the power to pull me out of any slump and give me all the *warm fuzzies*!

That was fun- I feel like I should steal more traditions from across the Pond 😉 Hope all my American friends have a Happy Thanksgiving! (and if it’s not to late, the same to all you lovely Canadians!) And, I’m curious, what books are you most grateful for? Let me know in the comments!

Twisty Stories Where You Won’t Guess the Ending…

orangutan list

After finishing up the Impossible Times trilogy, I felt like sharing some more books with UNEXPECTED and EPIC endings! Don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers, but these are some of the most twisty books I’ve ever read:

we were liars

We Were Liars– I have to admit, I was lulled into thinking the BIG TWIST had happened. When it comes- *oof*- it hits you right in the gut. Annnd I won’t say anymore for fear of ruining it… Another one I can’t talk much about…

poison chris wooding

Poison– one of the *best* things about Wooding’s fairy tale is how unexpected the twists are. It’s such a fresh and interesting and unique tale! (in fact, I’d argue there’s still nothing else like it, even though this is over 15 years old at this point!)

evelyn hardcastle

The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle- gotta say this Groundhog Day murder mystery is pretty darn unusual. Even better, this is the kind of book where the conclusion really makes the whole story! I for one never could’ve guessed where this was heading.

death of mrs westaway

Death of Mrs Westaway- what’s funny is I came close to guessing the outcome here, yet the author tricked me into thinking I’d got it wrong. Well played, Ware. Speaking of killer mysteries…

murder-on-the-orient-express-agatha-christie

Murder on the Orient Express– of course, this list would have been incomplete without Christie! And, as anyone who’s read her work knows, her endings are to die for!

the young elites

The Young Elites– this has a very different kind of heart-stopping ending. Most impressive though is how it takes the series a completely thrilling and different direction.

thief

The Thief– I really enjoyed this super-smart first instalment in the Queen’s Thief series. I did guess a few of the twists, but I still didn’t get everything and, in this case, I felt a supreme sense of satisfaction seeing how it all comes together.

six of crows

Six of Crows– another super twisty series is the Six of Crows duology. And while the series ender is *emotional* I had to pick this cos of how it turned the tables righhhht when you think you’re safe.

golden son

Golden Son– this entire series was another wild ride- but the reason I picked the ending for the second one is because *WHOA*- it very nearly killed me! Needless to say, I had to grab the next one as soon as possible! (if you try this series, fair warning, make sure you have the finale close to hand!!)

emperor of thorns

Emperor of Thorns– as a series ender, this is so satisfying. Exciting and bold and… I really can’t tell you anything else about it! All I’ll say is I never would’ve expected that!

And on that note… have you read any of these? Do you agree with me? And what books did you find so terrifically twisty that you couldn’t guess the ending? Let me know in the comments!

Incendiary Historical Fiction for Bonfire Night!

Well, hello, hello! In case anyone doesn’t remember (or know) tonight is Bonfire Night in the UK. The night to celebrate when the gunpowder plot was foiled and parliament wasn’t blown up (so we set off fireworks and burn things… yeahhh the logic in that is weird…). Given the historic significance, I thought it would be fun to talk about some *EXPLOSIVE* historical fiction. I wanted to keep this to 5, for symmetry’s sake, but this topic was such *dynamite* I had to do more! I did try to cover a broad spectrum of (mostly British) time periods though…

last kingdom

The Last Kingdom– there are many things to love about Cornwell’s Saxon Stories– the plot and protagonist alone are to die for! But what made me especially excited by this story was how it explores the Norman and Viking period- a part of history often overlooked in British schools- which is a crying shame cos it’s FASCINATING!

at the sign of the sugar plum.jpg

At the Sign of the Sugar Plum– speaking of more random parts of English history- although this one does come up in high school- this is a YA historical fiction about the plague. Yup, there’s a cheerful topic for you… sooo don’t go into this looking for all sunshine and rainbows- even if this is set in a London sweet shop. Also, the sequel is about the Great Fire of London, if I haven’t scared you off with the Black Death 😉

the king's general

King’s General– while not my favourite of Du Maurier’s books, I do really like this take on the English Civil War. Romantic and poignant, this not only tells the story of lost love, what I remember most about this book is the powerful way it captured the country’s divided loyalties and how it felt to be caught in the middle of conflict.

homegoing

Homegoing– this is one of the most unusual books on the list, because it spans a huge amount of time. Each chapter is a different member of the family, this story spans centuries, exploring the true horror of the slave trade and its impact. It’s remarkable how well this works and how heart-breaking it manages to be with this structure.

birdsong

Birdsong– I had to really think which Sebastian Faulks book to choose and ultimately went with his story set in WWI. This wasn’t perfect- frankly I wasn’t a fan of the flashforwards to present day- but this wonderfully written story does do a great job of spanning before, during and after the war.

private peaceful

Private Peaceful– sticking to WWI, nothing punches me in the gut emotionally more than this. Even though it’s a children’s book, it doesn’t hold back.

salt to the sea

Salt to the Sea– exploring the fate of the Wilhelm Gustoff in World War II, this is not your normal war story. It isn’t about great battles or the people fighting, it’s about the people stuck in the middle. This is a YA historical fiction that will truly have an impact.

guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society- moving slightly ahead in the timeline, Guernsey does explore the issues of WWII, yet in an epistolary, retrospective way. Set in the aftermath of the Guernsey occupation, this is about uncovering the mystery. Be prepared for some *explosive* revelation, *unbelievable* characters who will touch your heart and, of course, all the *feels*.

sweet clarinet.png

Sweet Clarinet– thinking more about WWII, it’s kind of amazing to note that I’ve never mentioned this book on my blog before, even though it had a profound effect on me. Set during the blitz and exploring the consequences of wartime wounds, this poignant tale tells of trauma and recovery. Most notably, it explores the idea of music as therapy.

daisy jones and the six

Daisy Jones and the Six– and finally, darting across the pond for the last book, I thought I’d end with a book that is THE BOMB for totally different reasons! Like Sweet Clarinet, this is about music. Daisy Jones and the Six explores the 70s rock scene- which is an utterly unique part of history for a book and I am DOWN for it! Unfortunately for us all, they’re not a real band, but if you read this, you’ll wish they were as much as I did!

So, do you like any of my choices? And do you have any other *highly charged* historical fiction you think I was mad to miss? Let me know in the comments!