Wednesday 16 December 2015

Why I Don't Read Historical Fiction -- But Should

So I have been in the process of reorganizing my bookshelves. Which has taken me a lot of time. But I now have a total of 5 bookshelves that don't all have to be double stacked to fit all my books! YAY! I sort my books by genre and then by author last name so while I was going along, I noticed I have a LOT of historical fiction books sitting on my shelves. The only problem? I haven't read ANY of them.

This is actually pretty typical of my shelves -- I own a lot of books I haven't read (yet! Working on it though!). However, I would say I have at least 40% of my books read. But I would say I have read 0.00000001% of the books from the books that are classified historical fiction (with the exception of The Other Boleyn Girl which is much better than the movie. And also the second book in the Tudor Court series, so I read it out of order. Oh I've also read the beginning of the first Outlander book then got them on audiobook to listen to once I finish The Wheel of Time series.). And it got me thinking -- WHY. I love history, I love fiction, so why have I not read more historical fiction?

Of course, I have read some historical fiction and thus I think I have found the root of my problems. After perusing my reviews of said books, I have noticed a common theme: I don't like when the author keeps "reminding" me that we are in a different time period than the present by saying "well it is 1600 you know" (obviously not that literal, although I HAVE come across something quite similar to that while reading). I want to feel as though I am completely immersed in this world to the point I don't have to be told I am in a historical time period. I want to just know I am there and learn the quirks, sayings, cultural norms, etc. of this time while the plot develops. I don't want to be reminded through dialogue so much as through how characters behave and how they speak.

So I think a couple of the books I have read have turned me off to this genre a bit (although it is my most frequently purchased one lately, for some reason. Rise of historical fiction?). But I should read it more. I will say that some of the books I have read that fall under historical fiction have been FANTASTIC. But they tend to share another genre and aren't specifically just historical fiction. However, I want to get back into historical fiction. So I have done some research and found some books that are coming out next year that fall into the historical fiction category and I am in LOVE. Check them out below and let me know which ones you are excited to read. 

Author: Janet B. Taylor
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
“Seventy-two hours, then we have to be back at the clearing. Sunrise on the third day.”

Being “the homeschooled girl,” in a small town, Hope Walton’s crippling phobias and photographic memory don’t help her fit in with her adoptive dad’s perfectly blonde Southern family. But when her mother is killed in a natural disaster thousands of miles from home, Hope’s secluded world crumbles. After an aunt she’s never met invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic. She’s a member of a secret society of time travelers, and is actually trapped in the twelfth century in the age of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Now Hope must conquer her numerous fears and travel back in time to help rescue her mother before she’s lost for good. Along the way, she’ll discover more family secrets, and a mysterious boy who could be vital to setting her mother free… or the key to Hope’s undoing.

Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

Author: Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Vika Andreyev can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

Author: Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 2016
For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey.

Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.

THESE VICIOUS MASKS (Psst, I have an ARC of this one. Keep an eye out for my review)
Author: Tarun Shanker, Kelly Zekas
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Jane Austen meets X-­Men in this gripping and adventure-­filled paranormal romance set in Victorian London.

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.

STONE FIELD (Psst. I reviewed this one already)
Author: Christy Lenzi
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: March 29, 2016
In a small town on the brink of the Civil War, Catrina finds a man making strange patterns in her family’s sorghum crop. He’s mad with fever, naked, and strikingly beautiful. He has no memory of who he is or what he’s done before Catrina found him in Stone Field. But that doesn’t bother Catrina because she doesn’t like thinking about the things she’s done before either.

Catrina and Stonefield fall passionately, dangerously, in love. All they want is to live with each other, in harmony with the land and away from Cat’s protective brother, the new fanatical preacher, and the neighbors who are scandalized by their relationship. But Stonefield can’t escape the truth about who he is, and the conflict tearing apart the country demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their doorstep.

Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Stone Field is a passionate and atmospheric story of how violence and vengeance pervert the human spirit, and how hatred can be transcended by love.

BURN, BABY, BURN (Psst, I have an ARC of this one. Keep an eye out for my review)
Author: Meg Medina
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: 2016
While violence runs rampant throughout New York, a teenage girl faces danger within her own home in Meg Medina's riveting coming-of-age novel.

Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous New York summer of 1977, when the city is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam who shoots young women on the streets. Nora’s family life isn’t going so well either: her bullying brother, Hector, is growing more threatening by the day, her mother is helpless and falling behind on the rent, and her father calls only on holidays. All Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. And while there is a cute new guy who started working with her at the deli, is dating even worth the risk when the killer likes picking off couples who stay out too late? Award-winning author Meg Medina transports us to a time when New York seemed balanced on a knife-edge, with tempers and temperatures running high, to share the story of a young woman who discovers that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit — and the hardest to accept. 

THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY(Psst, I have an ARC of this one. Keep an eye out for my review)
Author: Cat Winters
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.

The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night

Author: Julie Eshbaugh
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2016
The only life seventeen-year-old Kol knows is hunting at the foot of the Great Ice with his brothers. But food is becoming scarce, and without another clan to align with, Kol, his family, and their entire group are facing an uncertain future.

Traveling from the south, Mya and her family arrive at Kol’s camp with a trail of hurt and loss behind them, and hope for a new beginning. When Kol meets Mya, her strength, independence, and beauty instantly captivate him, igniting a desire for much more than survival.

Then on a hunt, Kol makes a grave mistake that jeopardizes the relationship that he and Mya have only just started to build. Mya was guarded to begin with—and for good reason—but no apology or gesture is enough for her to forgive him. Soon after, another clan arrives on their shores. And when Mya spots Lo, a daughter of this new clan, her anger intensifies, adding to the already simmering tension between families. After befriending Lo, Kol learns of a dark history between Lo and Mya that is rooted in a tangle of their pasts.

When violence erupts, Kol is forced to choose between fighting alongside Mya or trusting Lo’s claims. And when things quickly turn deadly, it becomes clear that this was a war that one of them had been planning all along

Author: Jessica Cluess
Publisher: Random House BYFR
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Does the Chosen One have a choice?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she's shocked when instead of being executed, she's named the first female sorcerer in hundreds of years and invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the prophesied one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta doubts that she's the chosen one. As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?

Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess's spellbinding fantasy introduces Henrietta Howel, a powerful, unforgettable heroine, and an entertaining world filled with magic, monsters, and mayhem.

2016 seems like the year I get back into historical fiction! 
Which of these 2016 historical fantasy releases are you most anticipating?
Do you read a lot of historical fiction? Can you recommend me some books?


  1. I really enjoy reading historical fiction! It's fun to get swept up in another time period, to learn more about what it was like then, everything from outfits to politics. I haven't read a lot recently, but what I have read, I've enjoyed! A particular favorite for me this year was Under a Painted Sky, the fabulous debut from Stacey Lee. And of the ones you've included, I'm most excited about My Lady Jane!

  2. Thanks for highlighting these! I had only heard of about 4 of them :)

  3. I love Historical Fiction, thanks for sharing these books on your blog