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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (4)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (4)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine
- Maryland (1)
- Massachusetts (1)
- Michigan (1)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (1)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (6)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas (1)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (3)
- Washington (3)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming (1)
- *Washington, D.C.

International:
Australia (2)
Canada (3)
England (6)
France (1)
Ireland (1)
Switzerland (1)
The Philippines (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

My Progress:


0 / 24 books. 0% done!

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

My Progress:


6 / 25 books. 24% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My Progress:


33 / 50 books. 66% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


39 / 52 books. 75% done!
Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Excuse Me While I Engage in Some Shameless Self-Promotion

There are 23 days left in the year.  23!  Can you believe it?  Suddenly the year that has seemed eternal is coming to a close.  Crazy.  I've got a million things to do, offline and on, but I am trying to get all my 2020 reads reviewed before the year ends.  I was so busy working on that goal (Check out the two reviews I've already posted this morning—go me!) that I completely forgot about Top Ten Tuesday, my favorite weekly book meme.  Now that my senior moment has passed, I'm here with a TTT list.  I'm not going to do today's topic—Holiday/Seasonal Freebie—though.  Instead, I'm going to engage in a little shameless self-promotion today.  Sorry, not sorry. 

If you hang out here at BBB much, you know I love reading challenges.  Usually, in my exuberance I sign up for way too many and fail to finish any of them.  This year, however, I've been rocking them, which has made me even more excited about 2021 challenges.  Because the blog I've always used for challenge information is not currently being updated, impatient me decided to create my own:  Ready for a Reading Challenge.  After doing that, I decided to go completely crazy and host my own challenge.  I've never seen one focused on historical children's fiction, so I created my own.  The 2021 Children's Historical Fiction Challenge focuses on celebrating the genre while expanding our reading within it.  Because I love reading prompt challenges, I've decided to use this format.  If you enjoy them, too, I hope you'll join me for this challenge.  You can find all the details here.


My challenge includes all historical fiction, not just new releases, but it's always fun to look at what's up-and-coming.  So, my list today is:

Top Ten Children's Historical Fiction 2021 Releases I Want to Read  


1.  Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee (available May 4)—I've mentioned this YA novel in a previous list, but I'm highlighting it again because it's the 2021 historical fiction release I'm most looking forward to.  Even though it's morbid, I enjoy reading about Titanic's doomed plight.  I'm also a big Stacey Lee fan, so yeah, this one definitely tops my list.


2.  The Secret Life of Kitty Granger by G.D. Falksen (available March 2)—Set in 1967, this YA offering features an autistic English teen whose always tried to hide her oddities from others.  When her keen observation skills help her identify a Russian spy ring, however, she becomes an important agent for her country.  Sounds fun!


3.  Ophie's Ghosts by Justina Ireland (available May 18)—It's 1922 and Ophie, who has just discovered she can see ghosts, is working at a haunted mansion in Pittsburgh.  As she makes friends with the spirit of a young girl with a tragic story, Ophie tries to figure out how to help her.  I don't know about you, but I'm definitely intrigued.


4.  Ground Zero by Alan Gratz (available February 2)—No American who's old enough to remember it will ever forget the events of September 11, 2001.  I've read few books about the event, so I'm interested to see how Gratz handles the subject in his new one.  I've learned a lot from other historical novels by this author; I assume this one will have the same effect.


5.  Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn T. O'Neil (available September 21)—In war-torn Russia, 17-year-old Anna is running for her life.  Needing someone to smuggle her across enemy territory, she latches on to another teen girl.  When Anna finds out her helper is a communist, she must keep her own identity a secret.  As danger increases, she has to decide just how far she can trust her new companion.  Sounds compelling, no?


6.  The Silver Blonde by Elizabeth Ross (available July 27)—In 1946, Clara Berg spends her days sorting film reels in Hollywood while dreaming of getting her own big break.  When she discovers the dead body of a famous starlet in the vaults, she finds herself caught-up in a whirlwind murder investigation with long-reaching consequences.  I'm definitely in for this one!


7.  Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca (available February 2)—This MG novel-in-verse concerns a young girl in the 1980's who is conflicted about her mixed identity as an Indian-American.  Her world becomes even more complex when she finds out that her mother, about whom she already has complicated feelings, has leukemia.  


8.  A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia (available May 25)—Set in 1860 Louisiana, this novel concerns all the residents of a plantation, both free and enslaved.  It brings to light stories, secrets, and troubling truths.  Sounds right up my reading alley.


9.  The List of Unspeakable Fears by J. Kasper Kramer (available Fall 2021)—There's not tons of info out there on this one, but it's set in 1910 New York City.  A 12-year-old girl is terrified when she moves to North Brother Island with her mother and her new stepfather, a mysterious physician.  Strange things begin to occur on the island of quarantined patients ...


10.  Stranger on the Home Front by Maya Chhabra (available Jan 1)—This middle-grade novel concerns a young Indian-American girl whose father is arrested in the wake of WWI suspicion against anyone who appears "un-American."  The book is part of the I Am America series, which sounds a lot like the Dear America series I love.  I'm definitely going to check it out.

There you go, ten historical children's novels I'm looking forward to reading.  How about you?  Do you like historical fiction?  Which are your favorites?  Which historical new releases are you looking forward to?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a message on this post and I will gladly return the favor on yours.

Happy TTT!        

Deadwood Murder Mystery a Fast, Exciting Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Siblings Brigid and Seamus Reardon emigrate from Ireland in 1877 because it's easier for their parents' landlord to pay for the teens' passage to America than to continue feeding them.  Eager to seek better lives in the land of opportunity, Brigid finds work in Minnesota as a domestic servant while Seamus heads west in search of gold.  A few years later, Brigid receives word that her mother has died.  Grief-stricken and tired of dodging the wandering hands of her employer's lascivious son, she decides to reunite with Seamus in South Dakota.  

Brigid is shocked by what she finds in Deadwood, a bustling city that's dirty, violent, and lawless.  She's only just arrived when a popular prostitute is stabbed to death in the street.  Seamus, who claims to have loved the woman truly, becomes an immediate suspect.  Knowing her brother could not have done such a shameless deed, Brigid urges him to leave town while she tries to figure out who killed Lily.  Her amateur investigation does not go unnoticed and soon she finds herself caught in the glare of a cold-blooded murderer.  Can Brigid bring Lily's killer to justice?  Or will hers be the next body bleeding out on the mean streets of Deadwood? 

The Streel by Mary Logue is a fast-paced mystery that's compelling even though it's not super twisty.  The setting is atmospheric, the characters sympathetic, and the plot exciting.  I liked Brigid, who is hardworking, upright, compassionate, and brave.  It's easy to root for her as she works to prove her brother's innocence.  The Streel is barely over 200 pages, so it's a fast read and one that easily kept my attention.  I enjoyed it.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, innuendo, and references to opium use, prostitution, etc.

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Streel with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

Unique MG Historical Eye-Opening and Important

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

With a white father and a Chinese/Korean mother, 14-year-old Hanna has always been different, never quite fitting in among Asians or Caucasians.  She's never stuck out quite as much anywhere as she does in her new town of La Forge in Dakota Territory, though.  Although Hanna tries to show people that she's kind and hard-working, a person just like anyone else, the townspeople can't see past her mixed ethnicity.  When she walks down the street, they stare and whisper.  When she's finally allowed to enroll in school, parents withdraw their children.  When she tries to make friends, she's rebuffed.  All Hanna wants is to become a successful dressmaker like her mother.  Along the way, though, she's desperate to find just one person to be her confidante, one who will accept her for who she is instead of how she looks.  Can Hanna achieve her dreams in a place as unfriendly as La Forge?  Or will she and her father be forced to move on once again?  

Little House on the Prairie was one of my absolute favorite book series growing up.  Laura Ingalls Wilder's descriptions of frontier life were so vivid and captivating that they seemed to tell everything there was to know about homesteading on the prairie.  Turns out, Wilder left out a few things!  With her newest middle-grade novel, Prairie Lotus, veteran children's author Linda Sue Park aims to rectify that.  Like the Little House stories, this one describes pioneer life in rich detail, making it come alive for the reader.  It's told through a different lens, though, one of prejudice and small-mindedness, not just against Asians but against Native Americans as well.  Through smart, brave Hanna we see the courage and resilience that is required not just to do daily battle against these hardships but also to triumph over them.  Prairie Lotus ends on a positive, hopeful note, teaching valuable lessons about empathy, inclusion, and standing up for what's right along the way.  While I didn't end up absolutely loving the novel, I did find it interesting, important, and eye-opening.  


Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof

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Glass Houses by Louise Penny



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