Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim (The Blood of Stars #1)

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim (The Blood of Stars #1)

I normally don’t read fantasy (I’m not sure why as all the books I’ve read in this genre I’ve absolutely loved) but this year I decided to branch out from my usual historical fiction, Agatha Christie, and classic literature reads and explore new genres: fantasy being one of them. I’m so glad I did! Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim was a solid five out of five stars for me!

In the spirit of Mulan, Lim weaves together a whole new and fantastical tale about tailors, scissors, magic, adventure, and much more!

Maia is a poor peasant girl and a exceptionally talented seamstress who will do anything to protect her family. As a woman, she’s not allowed to be a tailor, but when her brothers go off to war and her father’s health decreases, she is faced with keeping his business going.

When a royal messenger summons her father to become the Emperor’s tailor–an honour which because of his failing health, he can no longer perform, Maia disguises herself as one of her brothers and goes in her father’s stead, risking her life if she is found out.

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Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste is a powerful and heart-wrenching debut set during the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974, the demise of Emperor Haile Selessie, and the terrifying military regime that followed.

Alternating between multiple perspectives, this book chronicles the struggles and sacrifices of one family through a diverse and intricate cast of characters and voices.

There is Hailu, a distinguished surgeon at the hospital in Addis Ababa, struggling with his beloved wife’s declining health, the friction between his younger son, Dawit and himself, and his duty as a doctor in a country whose government is brutally torturing and killing its citizens.

When Derg soldiers bring in a severely tortured prisoner and order Hailu to heal the victim so they can torture them some more, Hailu struggles with his conscience and ultimately makes a decision that will put his life in jeopardy.

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Wings of a Flying Tiger by Iris Yang

Wings of a Flying Tiger by Iris Yang

*This review contains some affiliate links.*

Wings of a Flying Tiger by Iris Yang is a haunting and heartbreaking novel set in China just before the beginning of World War Two. It shows a side of history that can be overlooked and offers a raw, vivid picture of the atrocities committed in the name of war and country.

The pages are filled with so much anguish and unimaginable suffering that it can be hard to take in at times, and at the same time it voices the courageous inner strength and convictions of it’s central characters. It is a story of pain and injustice, as well as a message of hope and perseverance in the face of bitter brutality.

The novel opens days before the Nanjing Massacre in 1937, which is also known as the Nanking Massacre or the Rape of Nanking, where thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians were slaughtered, and an estimated 20,000 women were raped and then killed.

Jasmine is a courageous, daring young woman, who must at times hide her beauty to protect herself, and fight for survival in her war-torn home. When she discovers Danny, a fallen American pilot who is part of a movement called the ‘Flying Tigers,’ Jasmine goes to great lengths to protect him, falling in love with him along the way. However, loving him may come at a great cost.

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Last Year’s Reads: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Last Year’s Reads: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

*Post Contains Affiliate Links*

I wrote a review for this book last year, however, I never got around to starting a blog and publishing it. Since this is one of my very favourite books I would like to share my review with you now.

“To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things.”

Burial Rites–Hannah Kent

Based on a true story, Burial Rites is the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last person to be executed in Iceland in 1830. Convicted of the murder of two men, Agnes is imprisoned on a farm in Northern Iceland to await her execution. Surrounded by the family imprisoning her and the young priest she has chosen as her spiritual advisor, Agnes begins to make sense of the events which led up to her current situation as her life is drawing to a close.

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The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton

The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton

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The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton captures the story of a young girl growing up in 17th Century England. H as she is called, chronicles daily life, both in the time leading up to the Plague and Great Fire of London and it’s aftermath.

She records her many hardships and adventures (with more hardships than adventures to say the least)–growing up as a penniless orphan, estranged from some of her sisters, and at the mercy of her kind, though unknowing Aunt and her licentious cousin, Roger.

When the Plague snatches everything that she has held dear, H is thrown into a dangerous and contagious world. Finding herself penniless and homeless, as well as friendless, she has to fend for herself in the Plague-ridden streets of London, where she must use both her will and her wits to survive.

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Book Review: Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon

Book Review: Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclaimer: Post contains Affiliate Links.

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon centres around the true story of Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, an Australian expatriate who became an crucial member in the French Resistance and later a trained spy for the British during World War Two, earning her the position as one of the Nazis’ most hunted targets.

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